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A Classic Double Act: From General Cargoships to Cruise Liners

29th August 2012
A Classic Double Act: From General Cargoships to Cruise Liners

#CARGO TO CRUISELINERS – This morning saw the arrival of World Cruises Agency,'s Princess Daphne to Dublin Port, the veteran vessel built in 1955 was originally launched as a cargoship, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 18,833grt cruiseship had arrived into Dublin Bay from Falmouth, however her cruise embarkation port was from Portsmouth, where World Cruises started their inaugural cruise call to Ireland. Yet again another newcomer operating in Irish waters this season.

In recent years Princess Daphne and her sister Princess Danae, have operated for Classic Cruises International (CIC), and they were among a fleet of older tonnage.

Before she became Princess Daphne, she was commissioned for Port Line (subsidiary of Cunard Line) and was built at the shipyard of Swan Hunter on Newcastle-upon-Tyne and launched as Port Sydney. She was joined by her sister Port Melbourne, also completed in the same year but built by Harland & Wolff. They were ordered to serve the UK route to New Zealand, Australia via the Panama Canal.

The handsome looking general cargoships or 'reefers' (handling meat exports) had a large superstructure, with accommodation for 12 passengers. Noting the wraparound passenger veranda deck and six cargo-holds accompanied by derricks for self-unloading.

Conversion work took place in 1975 and again this applied to her sister the following year. The rebuild included replacing the old superstructure with a large longer streamlined superstructure, noting fore-ward of the bridge are the derricks that was incorporated during the work. This feature does not apply to Princess Danae which has an extended structure instead.

They retain their have deep-drafted (7.9m) hulls, complete with many portholes along sheer classic lines. Princess Daphne has a hull length of 162.39m which is marginally longer then her sister's 162.31m.

Over their respective career spanning nearly six decades, they have operated for several owners and under different names, however their current names have remained for some time. The pair are both Portuguese flagged and operated by World Cruises based in Lisbon.

Incidentally Princess Danae (1955/16,531grt) will be making a call to Dublin Port tomorrow, as she is scheduled to arrive at her birthplace in Belfast Harbour today. Also in port, is Plantours & Partners Cruises Hamburg, which had sailed overnight from Dublin Port, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Cruise Liners
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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