The Old Vistaford Cruise Ship
Many years ago, when the Dead Sea was just ill, I accompanied my wife, Jennifer, to attend the launch of the new Austin Metro on the Isle of Man, which if you have not visited is an island between the Island of Ireland and Britain. Apart from the rare accolade of being chosen to host the launch of the then new Austin Metro it also is home to a breed of cats with no tails (Manx cats) and its own indigenous language called Manx which is closely related to Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
The Austin and Morris dealers were instructed to meet at Southampton Docks to board the grandly named Vistafjord, which was built by Swan Hunter the Shipbuilders in Newcastle, effectively, therefore, we were boarding a British Built ship to see a British built car. My wife and I arrived in our new Morris Ital and parked next to Lord Fontolroy who had arrived in his Rolls Royce. We joined the other throng of dealers, press reporters and factory representatives and together boarded the ship. This was 1980, the Vistafjord had been built in 1972 so was constructed some relatively short eight years earlier.
The Metro launch was good, we were all filled with a sense of pride and optimism that this new hatchback would be successful, which indeed it was and went on to become one the third best-selling cars of all time in the UK after the Mini and the Morris Minor. Sadly, all three cars no longer exist in their original form, ok the mini brand was stolen by BMW as was the design when they dumped Rover group, but it is a very different car from the diminutive original. But I digress so back to the Vistafjord. The design was based on an earlier 1965 built ship called the Sagafjord but with an enlarged hull, it was launched in 1972. The Vistafjord was the last cruise ship to be built in the United Kingdom, a special accolade! She marked the end of an era, that included the construction of a more famous cruise ship the Titanic.
What Happened to the Vistaford Cruise Ship?
So, what happened to this famous ship? From 2005 until 2014 she sailed as the Saga Ruby, acting as a cruise ship for Saga holidays. In January 2014, she was sold for $14M USD to Millennium View Ltd, a privately held company based in Singapore. The new owners plan to convert her into a floating hotel in Burma.
So, if you had been cruising on the Saga Ruby in 2013 you would have been one of a select few to have boarded a 41-year-old cruise ship. I would guess it was the oldest in operation unless of course, you know differently?
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