MS Formosa Queen

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"Clipper Pacific" redirects here. Not to be confused with Pacific Clipper.
Ocean Pearl (cropped).jpg
Ocean Pearl in 2011.
  • 1970–1997: Song of Norway
  • 1997–2004: Sundream
  • 2004–2006: Dream Princess
  • 2006–2007: Dream
  • 2007–2008: Clipper Pearl
  • 2008–2009: Clipper Pacific
  • 2009–2010: Festival
  • 2010–2011: Ocean Pearl
  • 2012–2013: Formosa Queen
  • 1970–1997: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • 1997–2004: Airtours Sun Cruises
  • 2004–2007: Caspi Cruises
  • 2008: Peace Boat
  • 2009: Caspi Cruises
  • 2010–2011: Quail Travel Group
  • 2012–2013: Asia Star Cruises
Port of registry:
Builder: Wärtsilä Helsinki Shipyard, Finland
Yard number: 392[2]
Launched: 2 December 1969[2]
Acquired: 5 October 1970[2]
In service: 7 November 1970[2]
Fate: Broken up
General characteristics (as built)[2]
Type: Cruise ship
Length: 168.32 m (552.23 ft)
Beam: 23.96 m (78.61 ft)
Draught: 6.70 m (21.98 ft)
Installed power:
Speed: 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)
Capacity: 724 passengers
General characteristics (as of 2013)[2]
Type: Cruise ship
Length: 194.32 m (637.53 ft)[1]
Beam: 24.00 m (78.74 ft)[1]
Capacity: 1,196 passengers
Crew: 423[3]
Notes: Otherwise same as built

MS Formosa Queen (formerly Song of Norway, Sundream, Dream Princess, Dream, Clipper Pearl, Clipper Pacific, Festival, Ocean Pearl) was a cruise ship which was converted into a gambling ship later in her career. She was one of the first modern cruise ships, entering operation in 1970. She was eventually sold for scrap in 2013 and broken up in 2014.


The vessel originally had a gross tonnage of 18,000 tons, and could carry 724 passengers. Following the 1978 refit, she was lengthened by 85 feet, to provide for 1024 passengers and increasing her size to 23,000 gross tons.


MS Song of Norway in 1994

The vessel was constructed in Helsinki, Finland in 1970. Named Song of Norway, she was the first ship built for cruise line Royal Caribbean International. The vessel was lengthened in 1978, due to the high demand for cruising, and sailed on seven- and fourteen-day cruises out of Miami. As Song of Norway she was the first vessel to service the Royal Caribbean proprietary resort of Labadee, Haiti.

Sundream in Tallinn Harbour, 2001.

In 1996, surpassed by the significantly larger ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet, the ship was sold to Sun Cruises part of the Airtours/MyTravel (which has now merged with Thomas Cook AG), who operated the vessel under the name Sundream. Before the ship entered service for her new owners, the sky lounge around her funnel was removed.

In October 2004 she was sold, refitted and became MS Dream Princess for Caspi Cruises (Israel) and operated the 2005 season from Haifa.

In November 2007 the ship was sold to Pearl Owner Ltd., a company in the Bahamas-based Clipper Group of Denmark, which put the management of the ship in the hands the Miami, Florida based company International Shipping Partners, Inc. (ISP).[4] After refitting in Turkey and Malta, the ship was chartered to the Peace Boat organization and renamed the Clipper Pacific. The ship was in service touring the world, from Japan to Japan, as part of Peace Boat's mission.[5] After numerous repeated problems with the ship, however, the world tour was broken off in Piraeus, Greece. Afterwards, the ship was sold to ISP and renamed to Festival.[2] She came into service again as a cruise ship, first in 2009 for Caspi Cruises and as of 2010 for Quail Travel's Happy Cruises. Quail Travel has renewed the charter for the 2011 season. The charter ended when Happy Cruises ceased operations.

In 2009 she was used on Mediterranean voyages, under the name Festival, as a stand in by the Israeli company Caspi Cruises, whose own advertised voyages on smaller vessels had booked to overcapacity. For the 2010 and 2011 seasons, under the name M/V Ocean Pearl, the ship has been chartered by Quail Travel's Happy Cruises.[6] The Ocean Pearl was on a cruise but had to terminate it in Málaga, Spain due to Happy Cruises ceasing operations on September 24, 2011.[7]

2005 refitting[edit]

In early 2005 Sundream was being refitted in Piraeus under the name Dream Princess. The ship was sailing on four-night cruises from Haifa to Alanya, Rhodes and Larnaca. Some itineraries also included Marmaris and Santorini. In January 2006 the vessel was used to house students from Tulane University after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.[8]

September 2007 listing[edit]

On September 18, 2007, while anchored in the port of Rhodes the cruise ship developed a 10 degrees list. She was immediately evacuated and four officers who were on duty at the time of the incident were detained. The crew was accused of deliberately grounding the vessel to prevent further listing and an ultimate sinking. Divers investigating the incident discovered that hatchways in the hull designed for discharging untreated waste into the ocean, had been crudely plugged with chunks of wood, to prevent the discharge. That kept the waste on board. Failure to pump the waste in a timely manner, resulted in the listing of the vessel.[9]

The list was eventually corrected but on 18 November 2007, due to strong winds, Dream Princess came loose of her moorings and collided with an adjacent cargo ship causing minor damages in both vessels. The coast guard managed to tow the cruise ship back to the dock using tug-boats.[10]

Dream Princess remained in the port of Rhodes for nearly two months until her seaworthiness was re-established. On November 28, 2007 she was towed to the port of Kusadasi.

July 2008 detainment[edit]

On July 16, 2008, the Clipper Pacific was detained in New York by the United States Coast Guard for numerous safety violations including a leaking hull. She remained in New York and was not allowed to leave until repairs were made.[11] Further extensive repairs were made in dry dock in Tampa, Florida, where inspectors found new safety problems.[12][13]

The ship was next detained for a couple of days in August 2008 in Seward, Alaska for significant code violations.[13]

Engine problems[edit]

Late 2008 she was laid up in Istanbul, Turkey for engine repairs.

Final years[edit]

In April 2012, MS Ocean Pearl was sold for use in China as a floating casino,[14] after International Shipping Partners, the former owner of the MS Gemini and the MS Ocean Pearl, issued a statement saying that both ships would be available for sale or charter after the insolvency of Happy Cruises.[15] She was renamed Formosa Queen and operated by Asia Star Cruises.[16]

In November 2013, Formosa Queen was sold for scrap and she was broken up in China in 2014.[16][17]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Formosa Queen". Bureau Veritas. 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "M/S Song of Norway (1970)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  3. ^ de Boer, Bart. "Clipper Pearl : International Shipping Partners". Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "News Release: Clipper Pearl (Ex-Dream, Ex- Song Of Norway) Miami, Florida" (PDF). International Shipping Partners, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "News Release: Charter And Name-Change Of Clipper Pearl, Miami, Florida" (PDF). International Shipping Partners, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "M.S. Ocean Pearl - Main Details". Happy Cruises. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Dake, Shawn (25 September 2011). "(Un) Happy Cruises Ceases Operations". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Boyle, Ian (2010). "Song of Norway Cruise Ship Postcards". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Dream Princess Listing Near Dodecanese Island Of Rhodes Greece". 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Heavy rains cause problems throughout Greece". Athens News Agency. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Curkin, Scott (16 July 2008). "Cruise ship detained in New York Harbor". WABC-TV. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Clipper Pacific Departs Tampa After Extensive Repairs". Coast Guard News. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Events at Sea 2008". Cruise Junkie. 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Knego, Peter (9 April 2012). "OCEAN PEARL Sold, GEMINI Chartered". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "ISP Issues Statement on Happy Cruises". Cruise Industry News. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Dake, Shawn (19 November 2013). "Former SONG OF NORWAY Sold For Scrap". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Ship demolitions 17/11/2013". Ship Scrapping. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 

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