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MS Monarch

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(Redirected from Monarch of the Seas)

  • 1991–2013: Monarch of the Seas
  • 2013–2020: Monarch
OwnerRoyal Caribbean International
Port of registry
RouteSouthern Caribbean
BuilderChantiers de l'Atlantique; Saint-Nazaire, France
Yard numberA30[2]
Laid downJuly 31, 1989[2]
LaunchedSeptember 22, 1990[2]
AcquiredOctober 15, 1991[2]
Maiden voyage
  • November 11, 1991 as Monarch of the Seas
  • April 27, 2013 as Monarch
In service1991-2020
Out of service2020
FateScrapped in Aliağa in 2021
General characteristics
Class and typeSovereign-class cruise ship
Length268.32 m (880 ft 4 in)[2]
Beam36.0 m (118 ft 1 in)[2]
Draft7.55 m (24 ft 9 in)[2]
Installed powerFour Pielstick-Alsthom diesel engines, 21,840 kW (29,288 hp) (combined)
Speed22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Capacity2,744 passengers

MS Monarch (formerly Monarch of the Seas) was the second of three Sovereign-class cruise ships owned by Royal Caribbean International. Beginning on April 1, 2013, Monarch was operated by RCCL's Pullmantur Cruises, before being sold for scrap in 2020 following Pullmantur's closure. The ship was built in 1991 at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, France.

At 73,941 GT, Monarch was one of the largest cruise ships in the world at time of her completion. She could carry up to 2,744 passengers.


Monarch of the Seas with Royal Caribbean livery anchored off Coco Cay.

About a third of the ship burned during its completion afloat in 1990, due to an accident involving some welding equipment. At the time, the cost to make repairs was so significant that it was not clear if the ship could be repaired. After consideration, the ship was placed in dry dock and the damaged bow section was removed. This section was then rebuilt and the metal recycled to construct the next ship of the class, Majesty of the Seas.

Monarch had an outdoor basketball court, two shuffleboard courts, and a rock climbing wall. There were also two full-sized salt water pools. She was refurbished in May 2003 to add the rock-climbing wall. The fitness center, spa and children's area were also enlarged.[5] Prior to being retired from the Royal Caribbean International fleet, Monarch of the Seas (as she was then called) sailed to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral, Florida.

In 2007, Monarch became the first major cruise ship in the world to be captained by a woman, the Swede Karin Stahre-Janson, who remained the only one until 2010 when the British captain Sarah Breton took charge of MS Artemis of P&O Cruises.[6][7]

On 1 April 2013, after serving for Royal Caribbean International for 22 years, Monarch was transferred to Spain's Pullmantur Cruises, joining her sister ship MS Sovereign.[8] Before sailing for Pullmantur, Monarch underwent another refurbishment to some of her cabins, casino and shops.[9] She began sailing year-round in the Southern Caribbean on 27 April 2013.[10][11]

Monarch (left) and Sovereign (right) beached for scrapping in Aliağa, Turkey in July 2020.

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Monarch and MS Sovereign were placed into "cold lay-up" and Pullmantur Cruises filed for financial reorganization.[12] According to reports, the interiors of the ships were stripped of "everything of value".[13] Pullmantur Cruises announced that MS Monarch, MS Sovereign and MS Horizon were to be sold to breakers for scrap in Aliağa, Turkey. She was beached on 22 July 2020 and scrapping started on 5 April 2021 with the removal of the pilot's cabinet.[14][15]


Grounding off St. Maarten[edit]

Monarch being scrapped in Aliaga, Turkey in May 2021.

After evacuating a sick passenger at Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, the Netherlands Antilles on December 15, 1998, Monarch of the Seas grazed a reef while departing, opening a gash along the starboard hull 40 by 2 metres (131 ft 3 in by 6 ft 7 in) in size.[16] The ship started taking on water and began to sink by the bow. Three of its watertight compartments were completely flooded and several others partially flooded.

The ship was intentionally grounded on a sandbar to prevent further sinking. All passengers were evacuated by crew members and local tender operators. There were no deaths. The grounding breached two of the ship's diesel fuel tanks and an overflow tank causing a small fuel spill of approximately 100 US gallons (380 L; 83 imp gal). There was also severe damage to the ship.[16][17] A joint investigation by the Norwegian Maritime Investigator and the United States Coast Guard found that the accident was due to "…a myriad of human performance deficiencies." Reports also indicate that navigation out of the port was done visually rather than using of electronic navigation and that the relocation of a vital buoy was not reflected on charts.[18][19]

The ship was drydocked for repairs for three months at Atlantic Marine's Mobile, Alabama, facilities. One hundred fourteen of the ship's compartments had to be cleaned. The work also included replacement of machinery, 460 tons of shell plating, and 18 miles (29 km) of electrical wiring.

American comedian John Pinette was aboard the ship at the time of the incident, referencing it in his 2005 DVD 'I Say Nay Nay'.

Gas leak[edit]

While docked at the Port of Los Angeles in August 2005, maintenance on a sewage pipe caused a small amount of raw sewage and an unknown amount of hydrogen sulfide gas to escape. Three crew members were killed and 19 others were injured. Reports said that the deaths were almost instantaneous as the crew members were not wearing breathing apparatus at the time.[20][21]

Captain's death[edit]

Thirty-eight-year-old Captain Joern Rene Klausen was found dead in his stateroom aboard Monarch early the morning of January 30, 2006. The ship was returning to Los Angeles from a three-night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.[22] According to reports, the death appeared to be from natural causes.[23]

Coronavirus pandemic[edit]

On 14 March 2020, Panama repatriated 1,504 Colombian tourists from the cruise ship Monarch due to coronavirus fears. Since the port of Cartagena, Colombia was closed, the people had to fly from Colón, Panama.

On 17 April 2020, a Honduran crew member died of the virus in a hospital in Panama City.[24] He had been medically evacuated after having trouble breathing, and tested positive at the hospital.[24]


  1. ^ Report of Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding the Grounding of the Monarch of the Seas
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Monarch (16251)". Vessel Register for DNV. DNV. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "><". PressTur. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Monarch of the Seas, USGS
  5. ^ "Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas to be completely refurbished in late-5/03". Travel Agent. March 24, 2003. Look for Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas, one of RCI's older ships, to be completely refurbished in late May before it begins Los Angeles service in June.
  6. ^ "Q&A: World's first female captain of a major cruise ship". USA Today. November 5, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  7. ^ "Sarah Breton:The first female cruise ship captain". Daily Express. April 22, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "Royal Caribbean Moving Monarch of the Seas to Pullmantur – Cruise Industry News | Cruise News". Cruise Industry News. March 20, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  9. ^ "Pullmantur Ship Management awards Merima a refurbishing project | Merima". www.merima.fi. Archived from the original on September 3, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  10. ^ "Pullmantur to Base Monarch of the Seas in Southern Caribbean – Cruise Industry News | Cruise News". Cruise Industry News. May 21, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "Monarch of the Seas Transferred to Pullmantur". CruiseInd. March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Pullmantur Ships Move to Cold Lay-up". Cruise Industry News. New York NY. June 11, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  13. ^ Walker, Jim (June 21, 2020). "Is Pullmantur Cruises Ending Operations?". Cruise Law News. South Miami FL: Walker & O'Neill Maritime Lawyers. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  14. ^ "Monarch Arrives in Aliaga for Scrapping". Cruise & Harbour News Magazine. July 13, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Famed Monarch Cruise Ship Beached for Scrapping". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Monarch of the Seas Incident Summary". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. December 16, 1998. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  17. ^ "Disaster Averted On Luxury Line". CBS News. December 16, 1998. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  18. ^ Bryant, Dennis L. (September 27, 2006). "The Law of E-Navigation". Archived from the original on July 18, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  19. ^ Maritime Investigator of Norway & US Coast Guard. Report of Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding the Grounding of the MONARCH OF THE SEAS on Proselyte Reef in Great Bay, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.
  20. ^ Becerra, Hector (September 3, 2005). "Gas Kills 3 Crewmen on Ship; Sewage bursts from a pipe during repair on a cruise liner at the Port of L.A. Twenty others are injured, but no passengers are hurt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  21. ^ "3 Workers Who Died on Cruise Ship Identified". Los Angeles Times. September 5, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  22. ^ "CRUISE SHIP CAPTAIN DIES ON TRIP". Long Beach Press-Telegram. February 2, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  23. ^ "Monarch of the Seas master dies". Europe Intelligence Wire. February 2, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  24. ^ a b "In Memoriam: Cruise Ship Crew Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic". Crew Center. April 7, 2020. Archived from the original on April 19, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2020.

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