Louis Aura Review and Specifications
Specifications of Louis Aura
|Year built||1968 / Age : 52|
|Builder||AG Weser Werk Seebeck Shipyard (Bremerhaven, Germany)|
|Building cost||USD 15 million|
|Owner||Teal Shipping SA|
|Speed||20 kn / 37 kph / 23 mph|
|Length (LOA)||160 m / 525 ft|
|Beam (width)||22 m / 72 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||15781 gt|
|Passengers||828 - 895|
|Decks with cabins||4|
|Last Refurbishment||2013, scrapped in 2018|
|Former names||Starward, Bolero, Orient Queen, Aegean Queen, Aegean|
Review of Louis Aura
Louis Aura cruise ship was last operated by the Cyprus-based company Celestyal Cruises. The vessel was built in 1968 in Bremerhaven Germany. The Malta-flagged ship (IMO 6821080, MMSI 215467000, registered in Valletta) was sold in July 2018 and scrapped (under its last name "Aegean Queen") in Alang India on September 16, 2018 (last received AIS).
Aegean Queen was one of the world's longest-serving passenger ships - having 50 years of service.
History - construction and ownership
The 15,781-ton, 912-passenger cruise ship Orient Queen (Louis Aura) was initially operated by NCL-Norwegian Cruise Lines as Starward from 1968 until 1995, and was their first purpose-built vessel, along with her near-identical sister, Skyward (mv Leisure World).
After 1995, the ship was operated (as Bolero) by the Greek company Festival Cruises until the company's collapse in 2004. Then the vessel was bought (for USD 9,5 million) by Abou Merhi Lines and received a USD 10-15 million drydock renovation. In November 2005, the ship was repositioned to Red Sea and homeported in Dubai UAE to start (what later became) an unsuccessful Persian Gulf cruise program.
In July 2006, Louis Aura was used to help evacuate US citizens from Lebanon to Larnaca Cyprus. The ship was escorted by two US Navy guided-missile destroyers - USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) and USS Barry (DDG-52). In August 2006, Louis Aura was purchased by Louis Cruise Lines (now Celestyal) and started operating under the name Orient Queen.
Cruise itinerary program
In 2012 and 2013, Louis Aura operated Greek Isles cruises leaving from homeports Limassol Cyprus and Piraeus-Athens Greece. For the summer of 2014, the ship offered 3-7-day cruises to Greek Islands out of Limassol.
In 2017, the ship was renamed to Aegean Queen and chartered to Etstur (Turkey's largest travel agency) starting operations for Etstur in the period May-July (2017). Ship's last voyages were in the Eastern Mediterranean and leaving out of Turkey - roundtrips from Izmir and Kusadasi. In October, the vessel was put out of service and permanently docked in Port Piraeus.
Louis Aura ship had 364 passenger staterooms (including 56 Suites), all of which were spacious, cozy, especially good for couples. The cabins featured understated modern feel with matching drapery and bedspreads, chrome bed stands (with a shelf but no drawers), linen-upholstered daybed, writing desk with chair, ample wardrobes, LCD TV, direct-dial phone, minibar (fridge), electronic safe box (in the closet). The en-suite bathrooms had marble-like tiled floors, walls and counters, bathtub-shower, hairdryer.
Shipboard facilities and amenities
Ship's main dining room offered 2 dinner sittings plus an outdoor buffet (for breakfast and lunch) and Afternoon Tea service. Most of the public rooms were set along the length of one passenger deck - from the forward-facing Showroom to the lounges, and the main restaurant (at the stern, with a wall of windows looking out over ship’s wake).
The beautiful cruise liner had 8 passenger decks (out of 10 total). Deck 10 (Panoramic) had the Venus Bar (upper level 2 of 2) and Deck 9 (Compass) had Venus Bar's lower level (1 of 2) plus a mini-golf course. Deck 8 (Sun) had a heated swimming pool (outdoor), fitness centre, sauna. On Deck 7 (Boat) were the Horizon Buffet (dining venue), a small swimming pool, beauty salon, massage rooms, spa centre, hospital (infirmary), jogging track. On Deck 6 (Merry) were the Mermaid Restaurant, Reflections Lounge and Bar, Stars Show Lounge and Bar, Library, Video Game Arcade, Conference Centre (business/internet facilities). On Deck 5 (Phoenician) was the Lobby area with Reception Desk, Shore Excursions / Tours Desk, duty-free shops, photo gallery, a heliport (Helideck with a fore-located Helipad). On Deck 3 (Fortune) was the casino (gaming lounge with tables and slot machines).
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The cruise ship debuted as "mv Starward" in 1968. Initially, it was part of the NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet where it stayed until 1995. Then it was transferred to the fleet of Festival Cruises (1992-founded, 2004-defunct) and renamed to "mv Bolero" (until 2004).
Louis Aura joined Louis Cruises (since 2014 rebranded to Celestyal Cruises) in 2006 and started operations as "Orient Queen". The ship received the name "Louis Aura" after a complete drydock refit in 2013, and joined the fleetmates Celestyal Crystal, Celestyal Olympia and Celestyal Nefeli.
In 2018, the Malta-flagged vessel (IMO 6821080, MMSI 215467000, registered in Valletta) was scrapped under its last name "Aegean Queen". The listed shipowners of this vessel were - Klosters Rederi AS (1968-1982), Starward AS (1982-87), Kloster Cruise Ltd (1987-1995), Mediterranean Tptn Inc (1995-2004), Orient Queen Sg Inc (2004), Cruise Elenora Inc (2004-07), Teal Shipping SA (2007-2011), Louis Group (2011-2018).
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