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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author


Hamburg Süd Reederei

(Hamburg South America Line)

Page Three

MS Cap San Diego

 “The Museum & Hotel Ship

The worlds largest fully Operational Passenger Freighter that is officially a “Museum”

Operated by … “Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH”


The magnificently maintained MS Cap San Diego is seen here on March 26, 2011, during a cruise on the River Elbe

Cruise information with dates with fares are available at the bottom of this page!

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH 

Please Note:

On July 28, 2011, I received an email from Mr. Laurens von Oelsen in Germany and he wrote;

“I am not quite sure if this liner fits your bill, but it she is a beauty! The MS Cap San Diego was built in 1962 for the Hamburg Süd Reederei as a freight and passenger liner. She is currently preserved in Hamburg as a museum and she can also be visited as her cabins are used as a hotel. In addition, on special occasions she is used for day voyages along the German North coast! Laurens v. Oelsen.”

Amazingly, some time ago I commenced a page on this ship, but for a good number of reasons I never completed it and it sat in a folder. However, thanks to Mr. v. Oelsen I decided to locate it and do something about it and below is the result. However, at this stage, I have not as yet completed this feature and there is more to come in relation to her current museum condition, but I will do so as when time permits. But in the meantime enjoy reading about the history of this beautiful ship. Thank you so much Laurens, for your encouragement to get Page Two online and this Page will cover her current condition as a fully operating Museum and hotel, very soon.

PS. Laurens stayed onboard the Cap San Diego in one of the Promenade Deck single bedded cabins, with an extra bed in 2007 and he took all the photographs as seen on both Cap San Diego pages, which are credited to him. He informs me that he has visited the ship several times, as well as the beautifully restored State steamer in Hamburg, named the Schaarhörn. See:

I also wish to thank Mr. Jens Weber, Manager of the “Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH,” Hamburg, Germany for providing a series of excellent photographs of the ship in Hamburg and her interiors, etc! You can visit their excellent website at: Although the site is mostly in German, there is English available under “Summery” that you will find at the top right hand side. Many of the other links will have the word “Bilder”, which means photographs, and there are also some fine videos online! I am most grateful to both Mr. von Oelsen and Mr. Weber of the Cap San Diego Organisation for their kind assistance in providing some fine images, etc!

Reuben Goossens – Updated Aug 4, 2011.

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH

Having had a successful career with Hamburg Sadly sailing with them for a good twenty years, as well as just over five years with the Spanish Ybarra Line renamed MS San Diego, then in finally she was sold to Multitrade Shipping Inc who registered her in Kingston Jamaica and was renamed her MS Sangria, yet with this company sadly she remained mostly in and in lay up and slowly she sadly deteriorated. Within a number of months the MS Sangria was sold a Chinese ship breaker and she sailed bound for China, but there was a great deal of fortune was on her side for whilst she was en-route she was obtained by “Stadt Hamburg” for preservation as a Maritime Monument! On October 31, 1986 the very last of the superb “Cap San” class of luxury passengers-freighters returned to her “Fatherland” and homeport. After some work done the once again named Cap San Diego was officially handed over to the foundation and the “Hamburger Admiralty” in 1987.

The ship is operated by the Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH which is responsible for the preservation of the ship as well as her seaworthiness. However she he is jointly owned by the Carl Robert Eckelmann AG, foundation “Hamburger Admiralitat” and the Stevedore company Carl Tiedemann & Co KG. The catering company Hamburger Gastmahl takes care of the dining needs of her guests on board.

The MS Cap San Diego is superbly taken care of by a superb crew that hail from the operating company, all of whom are a highly dedicated and enthusiastic group of people which are around 38 volunteers as well as approximately 20 members of staff that are from the “Jugend in Arbeit – Hamburg e.V.” that keep things running super smoothly and make sure that the Cap San Diego remains an unique maritime symbol of Hamburg Germany and they do the country very proud indeed. Personally I wish there were many more of you around the world just like them!

Here we see the restored Cap San Diego berthed in Hamburg, operating as a Hotel, Museum and a Tourist venture.

This photograph was sent by Mr. Laurens v. Oelsen who encouraged me to complete this feature as I stated in my introduction, again Thank you Laurens!

Cap San Diego is now permanently berthed at the “Uberseebrucke Quay” at Hamburg, I am told is about a 15 minute walk to the city, and she has become a popular Maritime Museum and is officially a German “Monument.” She is open daily and visitors are welcome to come on board and discover this superb ship from bow to stern, and atop the bridge down to the engine room. Even many parts of the crew’s quarters as well as the holds are accessible to the public! Each Saturday and Sunday the Radio Room is available to visitors where experienced operators will demonstrate all the relevant equipment that was in use in those days.

Her two passenger lounges, being the Bar and Main lounge, and various dinning facilities, as well as the converted hold number 3 are available to the public for parties, conventions and special events. Maritime specialities and food is provided by the on board Bistro, which is open every day, and in the summer months there is also hot and cold food and snacks available at the Pool Bar.

Special exhibitions are presented in the loading holds and there are a wide range of cultural events held are all part of a large number of annual attractions on board. However, there is one permanent exhibition, which is entitled: “A Suitcase Packed with Hope” and this is one of the highlights on the ship and it can be visited daily during opening hours. This exhibition features the life and hopes of people from Europe who immigrated to America from 1834 through until 1920, and the ships were very different then, as was life in general! Every Saturday and Sunday the Wireless Station is opened to the public where experienced operators will show visitors to the ship how to use all the relevant equipment.

Cap San Diego ~ Photo Album


That superb Maritime Museum and Hotel Cap San Diego’s bow is simply sheer beauty, just wait until you get on board!

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Bridge Deck


The superbly timbered Bridge is well maintained and has all her original equipment, and better still it is all fully functional!

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


The chart Room

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Boat Deck


During the warmer months elegant Al Fresco Dinning is available on Boat Deck - located forward portside

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


I find it so hard to believe that a freighter provided such a fine Pool for just 12 passengers!

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Promenade Deck


The ships Main Lounge as it is today, except for the upholstery, very much unchanged

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


The ships Bar is located portside of the Lounge and we can see that all the seating has been reupholstered in black leather, for originally it was beige.

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


What is so delightful, the Dining room is completely unaltered from her sailing days. There are two minor changes; the picture in the alcove is new as are the curtains

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


The Lobby and main Stairwell goes down to Shelter Deck and the hallways on each side to the left to the cabins

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


The ships eight spacious Passenger cabins as well as the Captain’s suite are available for those wishing to spend the night in style on board this remarkable ship and experience her ambience.

The Captain’s suite consists of a bedroom as well as a lounge and a private bathroom with bath tub, etc. The official 2010 cost for same was listed as: 125 Euros for two people, this includes one fixed (original bed) and a second bed for the 2nd person.

The lounge of the Captains Suite, which is located on Boat Deck and not on Promenade Deck

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH, but taken by: Axel Martens


A corner of the Captains Suite Bedroom

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH, but taken by: Axel Martens

All other Passengers cabins are the original and are totally unchanged, except for the addition of TV and tea and Coffee making facilities with snacks, etc, These superb cabins are 95 Euros for a Twin bedded cabin or 76 Euros for a single bedded cabin. Breakfast is available in the Bistro, but this must be booked the day in advance.

Laurens v. Oelsen stayed in this original single cabin that had an additional bed in 2007. The fitted bed was located inside, as per the image below along the wall

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


Twin bedded cabins have remained unaltered, except for the bed coverings and the obvious additions

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Shelter Deck (Forecastle Deck)


The ships original surgery and hospital

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Outer deck space and the stairs to embark and disembark on the good old days!starboard looking aft

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


The Fore Deck obviously did not have timber planking - looking aft

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


A fine view towards the bridge

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


An excellent view looking down into the spotless Engine Room

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Here we see Engine Room from the floor level

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


The Engine Room the Mr. Laurens v. Oelsen from Frankfurt, Germany who has taken many photographs seen on these two Sap San Diego pages

Photograph © Laurens v. Oelsen


Her controls in the engine room are at “Full Stop”

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Here we see her 52m Propeller Shaft

Photograph by & © Laurens v. Oelsen


MS Cap San Diego returns to Sea!

In 2006 a wonderful miracle occurred thanks to the hard work of some great group of volunteer workers who are mostly retired sailors from a variety of ranks and they Have worked hard to make her seaworthy again with other assistance Thus the last ship left from Cap San class that were lovingly known as the “White Swans of the South Atlantic” had now become not just seaworthy, BUT the ONLY seaworthy and fully operating Maritime Museum Passenger-Freighter in the entire world. Since then she has commenced day long voyages with up to 500 passengers on board each year. All I can say is – “Germany be proud - Deutschland sei stolz!”

Please Note: Details of the next voyage is located at the bottom of the page!

Here we see the Cap San Diego on one of her day voyages and these are extremely popular and usually booked out

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


The Cap San Diego is seen sailing along the River Elbe on March 26, 2011

Photograph by & © D. Bauer DE


The Cap San Diego is seen at her permanent berth in Hamburg in 2011, and she will survive to educate our children

Of the great days of ocean travel, and how we operated freighter, before atomisation!


Join one of MS Cap San Diego Annual Voyages

If possible try and join one of her voyages, details are online. Be assured the experience will be a highlight!

Her 50 year Celebration Day Voyage is on 19 September 2011 – But HURRY it fills fast! Price: 125 Euro’s

Fare includes: A welcome snack, lunch, coffee with cake, 2 drinks. Live music and a full commentary

Contact: for museum, hotel and voyage information


MS Cap San Diego cruising at a slow speed sea

Photograph provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH, but taken by: Heike Ollertz

Above we see the beautiful ex passenger-cargo liner so famously known as the “White Swan of the South Atlantic” during one of her regular day long Voyages out of Hamburg. I firmly believe that it is worthwhile to go and visit this sublime ship and stay on board her for a few nights and better still as I state above try and join one of her two annual voyages!

Panoramic images of the ship online!

For some delightful panoramic views visit the page below and click on the various small square boxes and view many parts of the ship, just place your mouse on one side and it will turn the image around 180 degrees. The text is in German, but every picture tells a story and toy will know where you are at all times!


Ships Location & contact details

“Cap San Diego

Liegeplatz Überseebrücke – 20459 – Hamburg Germany.


Visiting Hours - 1000 - 1800 hours (10 AM to 6 PM)

For Hotel bookings and voyage details visit the “Cap San DiegoWebSite or email … -


Map provided by: Cap San Diego Betriebsgesellschaft mbH


Hamburg Sud’s INDEX:

Page One                    “MS Santa Ines & Santa Teresa - Including a little “Hamburg Sud” history and a few other ships.

Page Two                    “MS Cap San Diego - The Last of Six “Cap San” Class Liners.

Page Three                  “MS Cap San Diego - “The Museum & Hotel Ship.”

Page Four                    The other Five “Cap San” White Swans.



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Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960 &

Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story


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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs that have been provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite owners of these images, if they would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on ), in order that due credit may be given in full. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when requested, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and always do the right thing at all times and give proper credit where credit is due!

This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when pages are updated!




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