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Scrapped Cruise Ships

History, Review, Itineraries, Ships, Deck Plans, News

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Scrapped Cruise Ships fleet

Review of Scrapped Cruise Ships

This is CruiseMapper's most unusual them-section that groups scrapped cruise liners - passenger vessels (including ferries) that exist no more. Mapper's "Scrapped Cruise Ships" is not a cruise line/company or brand name, but just a hub for all these old-timers on which millions of travelers have spent so precious vacation times and still remember their special voyages.

Scrapped Cruise Ships - CruiseMapper

Cruise vessels' lifespan is ~30-40 years. Eventually, the old ships become either unseaworthy (especially following some major accident) or too expensive for operation as they require more complicated drydock refit and refurbishment projects to be somehow competitive with all the newbuild vessels. Generally, such older vessels are first sold from the cruise line company to a smaller company that continues to use them for passenger shipping in less novelties-demanding and more budget-oriented markets, like India, China, Korea, Russia, Australia, South America, Caribbean, Southern Europe (Iberia, Mediterranean, Black Sea). Some ships are even converted to overnight cruiseferries carrying both passengers and cars.

Old cruise vessels are either scrapped (dismantled), scuttled (deliberately sunk) or decommissioned from cruising service, permanently berthed and turned into luxury dockside hotels or ship-museums.

Scuttling (deliberate ship sinking) is conducted by allowing seawater to flow into the vessel's hull. This can be done by opening vessel's hatches to the water, by creating holes into the hull or by using explosives (in some cases even bombing the vessel or gunning it from distance, using it as shooting target by military ships). Scuttling is usually performed on abandoned or captured vessels, and mainly to prevent them to become a navigation hazard. Some ships are scuttled to become an artificial reef (habitat for marine life) thus serving scuba diving activities.

For detailed information on the shipbreaking process (technologies, largest shipbreakers and shipbreaking yards worldwide, industry policies and new regulations, pollution issues) you can read CruiseMapper's dedicated article Ship Breaking and 40+ Year-Old Cruise Ships. World's largest shipbreaking yards are n India (Alang), Bangladesh (Chittagong) and Pakistan (Gadani). There, the doomed vessels are first run aground (by beaching) then dismantled by underpaid workers. Once the ship is on land, yard workers first strip everything useful (furniture, equipment, plastics, glass, etc), dismantle the superstructure, then cut the hull up and collect and recycle everything (from hull's steel plates to the engines and other machinery), discarding only the hazardous materials.

Shipbreaking - CruiseMapper

An example for an abandoned cruiser is MV World Discoverer - which struck a reef off Florida Islands (Solomon Islands) in 2000. All passengers and most crew were evacuated. The vessel under its own power arrived at Roderick Bay where was abandoned near the beach.

Roderick Bay (MS World Discoverer) cruise ship wreckage

Due to industry's strict regulations, highest safety standards, innovative marine design and implemented modern technologies, cruise vessels usually don't sink. One of the few/best-known exceptions is MS Costa Concordia, which by human error/stupidity ran aground and partially sunk in 2012 off Giglio Island, Italy. The vessel was refloated (at the staggering cost of ~EUR 225 million / ~USD 300 million) and dismantled in Genoa Italy.

Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck

Best-known cases of cruise vessels repurposed into floating (dockside moored) hotels are Cunard Line's classic ocean liners RMS Queen Mary (1934-built, 1967-retired, since then operated as ship-hotel in Long Beach CA USA) and RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969-built, 2008-retired, since 2018 operated as ship-hotel in Dubai UAE).

The idea for our scrapped cruise liners hub was given by Gerald Sutton. We created it following his passioned email (received on August 25, 2019) in which he wrote: "I want to say how much I love your website and thank you for sharing the life of all of these wonderful ships. I want to help if I may. I noticed that there are many ships still in the Small Cruise Lines section that are scrapped. I wanted to ask if you have room or time to add a "Scrapped" section to your cruise ship list. This way great ships of the past can be saved for all to see and remember and it cleans up the active cruise ship sections. Your website has an amazing history and information about ships that thousands of people enjoyed. Your website is like a historical library for cruise ships. so a section dedicated for scrapped ships would be great."

Our future plans include adding here a list of now-defunct cruise companies and passenger shipping brands, all of which are associated with older and already destroyed vessels. In time we could also add here more passenger liners that for the multi-billion cruising industry are now only shadowy names - broken up and forgotten.