SS Reina del Mar

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Career (Great Britain)
Name: Ocean Monarch (1951-67)
Varna (1967-77)
Venus (1977)
Riviera (1977-81)
Reina del Mar (1981)

Furness Withy (1951-67)
Navigation Maritime Bulgare, Sofia (1967-73)
Sovereign Cruises (1973-78)
Dolphon (Hellas)

Shipping SA, Piraeus (1978-81)
Operator: Furness Withy (1951-66)
Balkantourist (1967-73)
Sovereign Cruises (1973)
S P Magliveras, Greece (1978-79)
Trans-Tirreno Express (1979-81)
Port of registry:  United Kingdom (1951-67)
22x20px Varna (1967-73)
22x20px Piraeus (1973-81)
Route: New York - Nassau - Bermuda (1951-67)
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs, Walker
Cost: £2,500,000
Way number: 119
Launched: 27 July 1950
Completed: March 1951
Maiden voyage: 3 May 1951
Out of service: Laid up 1966-67
Laid up 1970-73
Laid up 1973-78
Honors and
American Academy of Designing Gold Medal
Fate: Caught fire 28 May 1981, sank 1 June 1981
General characteristics
Tonnage: 13,824 GRT
DWT 4,905
Length: 561 feet 1 inch (171.02 m)
Beam: 72 feet 2 inches (22.00 m)
Installed power: Two steam turbines
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h)
Capacity: 414 1st class passengers
Crew: c250

Reina del Mar was a 13,824 GRT cruise ship which was built by Vickers-Armstrongs in 1950. She served with Furness Withy for fifteen years, then with a Bulgarian company for three years, renamed Varna. She spent much of the 1970s laid up, and was renamed Venus and then Riviera. In the early 1980s, she was renamed Reina del Mar and refitted for further use as a cruise ship but a fire gutted her, and she was scuttled on 1 June 1981 when a further fire broke out.


Ocean Monarch was built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, Walker,[1] at a cost of £2,500,000.[2] She was yard number 119, and was launched on 27 July 1950, with completion in March 1951.[3] She was the first postwar-built ship designed especially for the American cruise market. Ocean Monarch was awarded a gold medal by the American Institute for Designing for her "outstanding beauty and unusual design features of a cruise ship".[4]

Ocean Monarch was used on the New York - Bermuda route. As well as conveying passengers she was used to supply fresh drinking water to the island. She served with Furness Withy until 1966. On 22 September she was laid up in the River Fal, Cornwall.[5] In 1967, she was sold to Navigation Maritime Bulgare, Sofia and renamed Varna.[3] Operated by Balkantourist, Varna,[5] She was used on cruises from Montreal, Canada.[1] Varna was laid up in 1970 at Perama, Greece.[5] In 1973, Varna was chartered by Sovereign Cruises, but only made two voyages with them. She was then laid up again.[1] Her name was changed to Venus in 1977,[3] and Riviera in 1978.[1] in 1979, she was refurbished for use by Trans-Tirreno Express.[5]

She was chartered by SUR-Seereisen, Germany,[5] who announced a series of Mediterranean cruises to take place in summer 1981. Her name was changed to Reina del Mar. Before these cruises took place the ship was renovated. On 28 May 1981, a fire broke out which completely gutted the passenger accommodation.[1] The ship was towed out of Ambelakia, where the renovation was being carried out.[3] The tow parted and Reina del Mar ran aground on Salamina Island. After being refloated,[5] she was moored near Rasa Sayang, which had also been gutted by fire.[1] On 1 June 1981,[3] a new fire broke out on Reina del Mar, and she was then scuttled off Kynosoura.[5]

Description and propulsion

The ship had a crew of c250 and carried up to 414 passengers,[6] all 1st class.[2] She was 561 feet 1 inch (171.02 m) long with a beam of 72 feet 2 inches (22.00 m).[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Eastlake, Keith (1998). Sea Disasters, the truth behind the tragedies. London N7: Greenwich Editions. pp. p33. ISBN 0-86288-149-8. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Cookson country". The Shields Gazette. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 ""5260447"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 3 November 2009. 
  4. "Cruising’s Irresistible Growth". Cruise. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "OCEAN MONARCH / VARNA / REINA DEL MAR 1951". The Ships List. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  6. "Facts and figures". Furness Bermuda Line. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  • Cruising Ships, W.H. Mitchell and L. A. Sawyer, Doubleday 1967

External links

Poem about Ocean Monarch