SS The Emerald

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The Emerald in Venice, Italy on May 13, 2008.jpg
The Emerald in 2008
  • 1958–1990: Santa Rosa
  • 1990–1992: Diamond Island
  • 1992–1996: Regent Rainbow
  • 1996–2012: The Emerald
  • 2012: Emerald
  • 1958–1970: Grace Line
  • 1970–1975: Prudential-Grace Line
  • 1976–1989: Vintero Corp.
  • 1989–1992: Lelakis Group
  • 1992–1996: Regency Cruises
  • 1996–2012: Louis Cruise Lines
Port of registry:
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock[2]
Cost: US $25 million
Yard number: 521[3]
Laid down: January 15, 1957[4]
Launched: August 28, 1957
Completed: June 19, 1958
Maiden voyage: June 28, 1958
In service: 1958
Out of service: 2009
Status: Scrapped in 2012
General characteristics
Length: 177.88 m (584 ft)[7]
Beam: 25.6 m (84 ft 0 in)
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Capacity: 1,198 passengers
Crew: 412

SS The Emerald was a cruise ship owned by Louis Cruise Lines (now Celestyal Cruises). She was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock company in Newport News, Virginia, United States, for the Grace Line, as the ocean liner Santa Rosa. Between 1992 and 1995, she sailed for Regency Cruises as Regent Rainbow and between 1997 and 2008, she sailed for Thomson Cruises (now Marella Cruises) as The Emerald. Before retiring in 2009, she was the last passenger ship built at a U.S. shipyard that was still in active service.[8]

Design and construction[edit]

In 1956, the Grace Line ordered two new ships to replace the aging 1932-built sisters, Santa Rosa and Santa Paula. Gibbs & Cox had designed the older two ships and would now design their successors. These modern ocean liners were built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock, Newport News, Virginia, USA and were among the last passenger ocean liners built entirely in the U.S. There was full air conditioning for passengers, and the ship was equipped with Gyrofin stabilisers.[9] The interior was fireproofed with aluminum. Accommodations were spacious with all cabins facing outside and having private baths. Passenger ships of the day also handled cargo, and Santa Rosa's two aft cargo holds had side doors and automatic conveyors to quickly move pallets on and off the ship, thus giving her a rapid turn-around at port.[10] Santa Rosa was launched on August 28, 1957 and delivered on June 12, 1958.[5]


1958–1971: Santa Rosa[edit]

The Emerald as Santa Rosa for Grace Line, c. 1960

The new Santa Rosa and Santa Paula entered service on the New York to South America and the Caribbean for Grace Line. Santa Rosa sailed on her maiden voyage from New York on June 26, 1958.[5]

Collision with SS Valchem[edit]

In the early morning hours of March 26, 1959, Santa Rosa was returning to New York in heavy fog. She was 22 miles east of Atlantic City, N.J., when she collided with the tanker SS Valchem.[11] No one was injured on the liner but one crewman from the tanker was killed, three were missing and their bodies never found, and 16 were injured. Santa Rosa’s bow punched a cavity extending halfway into the tanker and caused flooding of the lower engine room with resultant loss of power. Two boilers were also demolished.[12] The funnel of the Valchem and adjacent vents were scooped off the tanker and carried onto Santa Rosa’s bow.[13] Santa Rosa sustained heavy damage but was repaired and returned to service.

1971–1992: inactivity and modernisation[edit]

In 1970, the Grace Line merged with Prudential Lines to become Prudential-Grace Line. Santa Rosa sailed for another year but in 1971, passenger operations ceased and both she and the Santa Paula were laid up at Hampton Roads in Virginia and put up for sale.[10] In 1975, Santa Rosa was obtained by the U.S. Department of Commerce and in 1976, she was sold to Vintero Corp. of New York City, to operate South American service once again, but this venture failed and the ship remained idle.[5] In 1989, she was sold to Coral Cruise Lines, part of the Lelakis Group, and towed to Greece that December. In March 1990, Santa Rosa arrived in Chalkis, Greece and was renamed Diamond Island.[14] At the cost of US $70 million, she was converted into a cruise ship; her superstructure was significantly expanded and modernised, although her hull remained unaltered and she retained her steam turbine engines. The work was finished in 1991.[5]

1992–1996: Regent Rainbow[edit]

The modernised ship entered service under Regency Cruises as the popular Regent Rainbow in 1992,[14] until Regency Cruises suffered extensive losses and was declared bankrupt in 1995. Regent Rainbow was placed under arrest that November.[7]

1996–2009: The Emerald[edit]

The Emerald in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1999.
The Emerald departing from Port of Kusadasi in Turkey 2005

In December 1996, Regent Rainbow was sold to Louis Cruise Lines and renamed The Emerald.[14] In 1997, she was chartered to Thomson Cruises to operate cruises for the British market.[7] During her time with Thomson she became the company's most popular ship,[15] and remained in service with them until October 2008, when she was dropped in favor of a larger, more modern and economical vessel.[16] Hereafter, she saw limited further service for Louis until 2009, when the company announced that she was being laid up and most likely would not sail again.[17]


The Emerald in Eleusis, Greece 2010.

Following the departure of The Emerald from their service, Louis looked for other owners who would operate her for further use, since she met SOLAS 2010 regulations, but she remained laid up at Eleusis, Greece. In 2011, she was inspected by scrappers[18] and in July 2012, she departed Greece for the scrapyard at Alang, India.[19] She was scrapped under the shortened name Emerald.[14]


  1. ^ ABS Record Eagle
  2. ^ "Ships Built By Newport News Shipbuilding" (PDF). Huntington-Ingalls. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Newport News Shipbuilding". Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  4. ^ Falco, Nicholas. "Inventory to the Records of W. R. Grace" (PDF). SUNY Maritime College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2006. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "SS Santa Rosa and Santa Paula". SS Maritime. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  6. ^ "The Emerald (5312824)". Equasis. French Ministry for Transport. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  7. ^ a b c "T/S SANTA ROSA".
  8. ^ Colton, Tim. "Passenger Liners Built in U.S. Shipyards". Maritime Business Strategies, LLC. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  9. ^ "Santa Rosa-Santa Paula". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Santa Rosa (1958) - History". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Merchant and Navy Ship events 1946 – 2000". Rolf Skiöld / Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Coast Guard Photographs – 2 Disasters". Military Advantage, Inc. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Auke Visser's Famous T - Tankers Pages". Auke Visser's Historical Tankers Site. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d "THE EMERALD - IMO 5312824". ShipSpotting. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  15. ^ Thomson Cruises brochures, c. 2000s
  16. ^ "Thomson Cruises to drop Emerald ship from 2009". TravelWeekly. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  17. ^ Brokeback PLATINUM
  18. ^ THE EMERALD of Eleusis
  19. ^ "EMERALD (ex SANTA ROSA, DIAMOND ISLAND, REGENT RAINBOW, THE EMERALD) - 4 August 2012". MidShipCentury. Peter Knego. Retrieved 4 December 2012.