MV Ocean Gala
Ocean Gala as Island Escape at Madeira
|Port of registry:|
|Builder:||Dubigeon-Normandie S.A., Nantes, France|
|Laid down:||April 6, 1981|
|Launched:||October 16, 1981|
|Christened:||September 28, 1982|
|Acquired:||August 20, 1982|
|In service:||October 2, 1982-2015|
|Status:||Out of service.|
|General characteristics (as built, 1981)|
|Length:||185.25 m (607 ft 9 in)|
|Beam:||27.01 m (88 ft 7 in)|
|Draught:||6.80 m (22 ft 4 in)|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
|General characteristics (as of 2009)|
|Length:||623 ft (190 m)|
|Draught:||7.20 m (23 ft 7 in)|
|Decks:||9 (passenger accessible)|
|Notes:||Car and trailer space converted into cabin space|
MV Ocean Gala was a floating hotel that was formerly owned and operated by Thomson Cruises as the cruise ship MS Island Escape under their Island Cruises brand. She was built in 1982 by Dubigeon-Normandie S.A., Nantes, France for Scandinavian World Cruises (a subsidiary of DFDS) as the cruiseferry MS Scandinavia. At the time of her construction, she was the largest cruiseferry in the world. After being withdrawn from Scandinavian World Cruises, she briefly sailed for DFDS Seaways. Between 1985 and 1990, she sailed for Sundance Cruises and Admiral Cruises as MS Stardancer. In 1990, the ship was sold to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and renamed MS Viking Serenade. Between January and June 1991, she was converted into a genuine cruise ship at the former Southwest Marine Shipyard in San Diego, California. The car deck was turned into a passenger deck. In 2002, she was transferred to the fleet of Royal Caribbean's new subsidiary Island Cruises. Island Escape joined the fleet of Thomson Cruises in April 2009, but retained her name and continued with her more informal style of buffet restaurants and relaxed dress code.
Island Escape operated in the Canary Islands and the Western Mediterranean under Thomson Cruises. In November 2010, Thomson was scheduled to spend a further £4 million in refurbishing Island Escape. Thomson Cruises has operated the Island Escape under their all-inclusive Island Cruises since starting March 2013. In 2016, Thomson cruises will replace Island Escape with Splendour of the Seas.
On 3 December 2015, it was reported by Cruise and Ferry that the vessel was sold and on her way to Brest, France for dry-dock, to be renamed Ocean Gala.
It was announced in August 2016 that the ship would not be used for Floating Accommodation (due to the reduction of the refugee crisis in Sweden) and the vessel had been put back on the market for either sale or charter. The vessel is currently in Denmark and has recently completed its five-year survey with class society DNVGL.
After months off Suez as Channel workers floating accommodation and calls at Limassol she had finally passed through the canal on 2 May 2017, heading down the Red Sea it was speculated she was heading to Alang for Scrapping. While the next port turned out to be Abu Dhabi, in Khalifa, for continued service.
In February 2016, it was announced that the Swedish Migration Agency have signed a contract with US Shipmanagers to use the Ocean Gala as an asylum hotel for 1790 asylum seekers. Initially, permission is sought for a 4 year stint 2016-2020 in the Harbour of Härnösand.
Ocean Gala arrived to Utansjöverkets hamn at 16:00 local time on 2016-06-14. A police report was filed against the owner of Utansjöverkets hamn by Härnösand Municipality, claiming the facility is missing ISPS classification.
The Asylum hotel plans did not come to fruition and the ship was put back on the market for either sale or charter in August 2016.
To avoid increased costs for heating and since "Ocean Gala" does not comply with Finnish-Swedish Ice Class Rules, the vessel left the port 2016-11-03. On its way to Esbjerg, a short stop was made in Tallinn to refuel.
Island Escape was featured in a mini-series TV documentary which consisted of 10 episodes. The documentary was initially broadcast in the UK during 2002. Repeats of the documentary were later shown on Bravo. The documentary followed the working lives of crew members and gave insight into what it was like to work on a cruise ship.
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- "Ship Details > Island Escape". Thomson Cruises. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. pp. 405–406. ISBN 978-981-268-240-6.
- DNV GL SE. "Equasis View". gl-group.com.
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- "Island Escape Deck Plans". Thomson Holidays. 2012-04-23. Archived from the original on 2013-04-23.
- "Island Escape Public Areas". Virgin Holidays. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- "Former Southwest Marine shipyard (Los Angeles, California)".
- "Cruise booking on the Island Escape". Virgin Holidays. Archived from the original on 2012-04-24. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- "ISLAND ESCAPE cruise vessel 09 July 2012".
- "Splendour of the Seas Sold to TUI for Thomson Cruises". cruiseindustrynews.com.
- "Thomson Cruises sells Island Escape to Cruise Holdings". CruiseandFerry.net. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- "Floating Accommodations > Our Services > Passenger Vessel > Ocean Gala". floatingaccommodations.com. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- A la Casse - Bulletin d'information et d'analyses sur la démolition des navires n° 47, du 1er janvier au 31 mars 2017. Robin des Bois, 5 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
- "Planerna på asylfartyg går vidare – så vill Härnösandspolitikerna stoppa etableringen". allehanda.se. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- "Kryssningsfartyg blir nytt asylboende". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- "Företaget bakom Ocean Gala: "Finns inget som kan stoppa det"". Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Kryssningsfartyget på plats – och polisanmält". Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Asylbåten är framme – hamnen polisanmäld". Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Det blir Ocean Galas nästa hamnstopp Asylbåten är framme – sydligare breddgrader väntar". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "The Cruise Ship". LocateTV.com.
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- Deck plans
- Facebook group for former vacationers
- (in Swedish) Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Scandinavia (1982)
- Professional photographs from shipspotting.com
- French Ministry for Transport. Retrieved 2013-05-20. . Equasis.
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