I receive a great number of emails from readers asking if I know what ever happened to a favorite ship they sailed long ago. This newsletter is for the mariners and historians out there, and for anyone who has searched in vain for a beloved cruise ship that seems to have disappeared.
Cruise ships have a life cycle like anything else. They are generally at their peak relative to the competition on the day they are launched. If they are maintained at the highest standards, they can still be beautiful and immaculate after 20 or 30 years. But new cruise ships get better and better all the time, and sooner or later, older ships become non-competitive with newbuilds in terms of technology and design. Eventually, all ships become non-viable in the same way that a very nice, old house eventually becomes a tear-down.
During their life cycle, most ships move from one company to another, changing names and locations and even the type or nationality of passengers they are marketed to. They may be transferred among the top tier of cruise companies (those listed on our Web site) for a while, and later they may move from these companies to the second or third tier in terms of quality of food and service onboard. Even when these ships are no longer being marketed in North America, many continue to sail and service less demanding passengers from other parts of the world.
At the end of their useful lives, most cruise ships are sent to ship-breaking yards where they are dismantled and sold for scrap, while a handful have become floating hotels or restaurants.
Another of my newsletters listed all the prior incarnations of cruise ships we currently offer. Here, I've focused on cruise ships that we do not currently represent, either because they have been sent to the breakers or taken out of service or because they are no longer (or were never) marketed to North Americans. If you've been cruising for a while, I'm sure you'll see some names that you will recognize.
Unfortunately, information about these inactive ships is sketchy and the sources are not official, so I cannot guarantee the accuracy of what is reported.
Vacations To Go