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In 10 Photos: Cruise Ships in Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida is the place where it all started for many cruise lines. Over the decades, it has retained its position as one of the world's leading cruise ports and especially on winter weekends you will see an impressive row of cruise ships docked at the Dodge Island cruise terminals. I first visited Miami in 1985 and I have been back many times over the years. Measuring 76,000 tons, the majestic ss Norway was reigning the port back in 1985. These days, Royal Caribbean is planning a new terminal that will be able to handle the 225,000 ton Oasis of the Seas and her sisters. As my selection of 10 favorite photos of cruise ships in and around the port of Miami shows, a lot has changed over the years!
November 16, 1985 - Of course the Grand Lady opens this random list. I photographed Norwegian Caribbean Line's ss Norway on November 16, 1985 from the decks of Royal Caribbean's Song of Norway. That's a lot of Norway in once sentence! One year earlier, I had the privilege to sail on the ss Norway in Europe and in 1992, I would be sailing on the ship in the Caribbean. She was built in 1961 as France and sailed on the Le Havre to New York service for years until snapped up by NCL in 1979. She was extensively rebuilt but her owners gracefully left her profile largely intact. She was scrapped in India in 2008. To this day, she remains my favorite passenger ship.
March 15, 2009 - Every weekend, tens of thousands of passengers set sail on the mega cruise ships from Miami. Shown here are 2004-built Carnival Valor and Royal Caribbean's 2006-built Freedom of the Seas ready for another week of exploring the Caribbean sea.
April 6, 2008 - Early in the morning Norwegian Jewel arrived back in Miami after a perfect cruise that took us as far south as Barbados. Under dark Miami skies, we passed Norwegian Jewel's older sister, 2002-built Norwegian Dawn.
October 31, 1992 - Now here is a real oldtimer. Photographed at age 60 (!), Chandris Cruises' Britanis spent her heyday on short party cruises to the Bahamas. This ship was built in 1932 as Monterey for the Matson Line, operating the San Francisco-Honolulu-Sydney service. During World War II she served as a troop ship and she was bought back by Matson Line in 1956. Renamed Matsonia and later Lurline, she returned to her Pacific liner voyages until sold to Greek operator Chandris. As Britanis she proved quite a money maker on round the world liner service. She turned into a full time cruise ship in 1975 and I still remember her sailing by our house on the banks of the North Sea Canal near Amsterdam. Britanis was laid up in the late nineties and she was ultimately sold to the breakers in India. On her way to India she took on water and on October 21, 2000, she sank 50 nautical miles out of Cape Town, South Africa.
March 15, 2009 - The second Carnival Cruise Lines ship to top 100,000 gross register ton, 1999-built Carnival Triumph makes a pretty sight sailing down Government Cut at the start of another weeklong cruise to the Caribbean.
April 6, 2008 - Twice the size of the ss Norway, Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas measures a hefty 154,000 tons and is able to carry a maximum of 4,375 passengers and 1,400 crew members. Featuring an ice skating rink, rock climbing wall and a large indoor Promenade, this is true floating city.
October 18, 1992 - I had forgotten all about this photo but I found it when researching this article. Built in 1958 as Federico C for Costa Armatori (now Costa Cruises), she changed hands in 1983. In Premier Cruise Line service, she was named Royale, Starship Royale, Seabreeze I and Seabreeze in a matter of years. I photographed her in 1992 as she operated from Miami for Dolphin Cruise Line on short Bahama cruises. In 2000, during a stormy voyage without passengers from Halifax to Charleston, she took on water which resulted in a flooding of the engine room. After 34 crew members were evacutated, the ship sank in the Atlantic.
March 15, 2009 - I took this photo of Norwegian Jewel from her idential twin Norwegian Pearl as both ships set sail in tandem. One to the Eastern Caribbean, the other one to the Western Caribbean. Only to meet again in Miami a week later.
November 16, 1985 - In the eighties, in a time when most ship owners refrained from ordering new ships, Carnival Cruise Lines embarked on an ambitious newbuilding program. My favorite of that series is the well proportioned Holiday. Built in Denmark, the 46,000 ton ship joined the Carnival fleet in June, 1985. A few months later I saw her "live", arriving in Miami in the early morning. The ship is still going strong these days as Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Magellan.
November 16, 1985 - Technically not a cruise ship, Scandinavian Sun was a familiar sight in the port of Miami for almost 10 years. Used for day cruises to Grand Bahama Island carrying passengers and cars, she was initially operated by SeaEscape until 1992. In 1994, after a two year stint in Europe, she headed back to Florida. For Discovery Cruise Lines she started offering day cruises from Ft. Lauderdale as Discovery Sun. She turned out to be a very popular vessel in Port Everglades and she ferried back and forth to Freeport for more than 15 years. In 2011, Discovery Cruise Lines ceased service and Discovery Sun ended up in the scrap yard.
Where in the world is Miami?
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