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Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned, thus ssmaritime is NOT associated with any shipping company or any other organisation! Although the author has worked and been involved in the passenger shipping industry for well over 60 years, but due to his old age and poor health, he was forced to retire. Yet, he has completed well over 1,435 Classic Liners, Passenger-Cargo Liners as well as humble converted C3 converted Migrant Liners, which has transported countless thousands of folk to the new world, as well on vacations’. I trust the features online will continue to provide Classic Liner and Ship enthusiasts both the information they are seeking, but more so provide a great deal of pleasure and relive many happy memories!
Please Note: Postcards, photographs & other images are from the author’s private collection, unless stated otherwise.
covers one of the most famous and intimate luxury cruise ships, which was known
as being more of “A glamorous Royal Yacht”. I will extensively
cover the graceful Motor
first cargo ship was ordered being an iron-hulled 476 GRT (Gross Registered
Ton) paddle steamer the “Bergen” (1) which was launched on August
16, 1852 and was delivered by December. Her schedule was from
model of the “
BDS ships to date had only sailed the Norwegian coastal service as well the Norway to Germany service, however the new UK service was instigated when on June 14, 1888 the Norwegian Government agreed to support a new weekly passenger and cargo service from Bergen via Trondheim to Newcastle UK.
company’s first passenger-cargo ship was the 995 GRT, D.S.
“Mercur”, when in 1890 she commenced the newly established;
The Mercur is seen here at her berth
ships were the D.S Jupiter (2) of 1915, which was sold in 1955 to
Epirotiki Steam Ship Co, of
D.S. Leda is seen on the left with the D.S. Jupiter on the right
were later operated by BDS from the early 1900’s until 1971, whilst their
fleet of cargo ships operated around North and
BDS or the
“Bergen Steamship Company”, in due course became better known as
“The Bergen Line”, but in 2004 the company was taken over by the
BDS, “The Bergen Line” as from 1921 operated cruise ships, which lasted until 1971. Many do not know that they also set up the “Royal Viking Line” which was done in partnership with “Nordenfjeldske” and operated some of the finest cruise ships.
The steam ship
“Meteor” was built and completed in 1904, as a tourist ship for the
German “HAPAG Lloyd”. After WW1, in March 1921 she was obtained by
BDS to become their first major cruise ship. After a refit making her a luxury
cruise ship she was officially reregistered in
Photo was sent in by an ssmaritime supporter, but the photographer is unknown
for the BDS’ new cruise ship was officially signed on August 4, 1925, and
amazingly this was the very first time that the shipyard who won the contract
being “Ab Götaverken” in
The new cruise
ship would be named “Stella Polaris”. Amazingly, this magnificent
ship was designed by the BDS’ own technical manager
Postcard of the Stella Polaris (left) and the Meteor (right aft)
In appearance the 5,020 GRT, M.Y. Stella Polaris looked very much like a traditional, which was evocative of days long gone, her superbly good looks was perfected by her elegant clipper-bow, that was completed with a decorative bowsprit and she had a traditional counter stern.
Her elegant bow and decorative sprit
Photo was sent in by an ssmaritime supporter, but photographer is unknown
This all white ship, with a long and an elegant low-level superstructure, she was perfectly balanced with her two tall back sloping masts, combined with a single tall and slender yellow funnel. She certainly looked very much like a glamorous luxurious cruise ship, which BDS intended to build as their supreme new cruise ship.
Photo was sent in by an ssmaritime supporter, but photographer is unknown
constructed during 1925 & 1926; and a huge crowd turned up at the yard for
her launching. The ship was officially named and launched on September 11, 1926
advanced full colour poster of the
When completed, on February 20, 1927 she undertook her deep sea / speed trials, and after her successful trails, she had reached a maximum speed of 17.5 knots; she was delivered to “Bergen Steamship Company” and this was five weeks earlier then originally scheduled for she was originally scheduled to be delivered in April 1927, having cost “Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab” (BDS) a total of SKR 4,692,511 (Norwegian Krona).
The “Stella Polaris” was undoubtedly BDS’ very first purpose built cruise ship, making her officially their very first fulltime luxury cruise ship in the world Other ships operated cruises, however they were Passenger Liners that normally operated Line voyages, and cruised only seasonally.
February 26, 1927, at Noon,
During her early career the Stella Polaris better known as being “A glamorous Royal Yacht”, considering she offered the most luxurious interiors for the 1920’s as well as the finest accommodations for her 200 First Class passengers.
The Social Hall forward on A Deck
had six main decks, being Bridge deck with her all
One deck down, forward on C-deck, was the location of the beautiful and elegant Grand Dining Room, which could seat 214 guests. C-deck also housed passenger cabins; noteworthy were the 4 deluxe Staterooms, all having two beds as well as having a sofa, which converted to a bed offering room for an additional guest. These Staterooms were designed with variety of fine timbers such as; mahogany, maple, pear and birch and all had Private facilities. In addition there were 70 twin and 50 single Staterooms. However, all the cabins were to be spacious and sumptuously fitted out, all accommodations featured lower beds, and hot and cold water, whilst 35 Staterooms had a full bathroom, as is stated on a promotional leaflet, as is seen below, featuring four cruises in 1928.
we see the cruise promotional leaflet released by the
Aft of the accommodations was a beauty Salon, a barbershop and the ships hospital with a doctor’s reception. D and E-decks housed further passenger cabins. The crew were accommodated in comfortable four-berth cabins, although a little smaller than the passenger cabins but nevertheless with nice furnishing and decorations.
M.Y Stella Polaris is seen as built on August 6, 1930 and is surrounded by ice packs
decks mentioned above were renamed Bridge, Boat, Promenade,
Far forward on Boat Deck was the spacious Observation Deck, located forward of the bridge and the officers quarters. Here also were wide and spacious decks, with her seven lifeboats, but later this became eight lifeboats with another aft being two motorised tenders.
On this deck, commencing from far forward was the magnificent Social Hall (Music Salon) featuring exquisite timber carvings, the finest furnishings beautifully upholstered in fine brocades and fine silk drapes. This spacious venue was followed by a Writing Room on the portside and a Reading Room on the starboard side. Next was the Main Lobby with its Grand Timber Stairwell with its superb and stylish brass railings. Next came the elegant Smoking Room and its Bar located on the port side just aft, followed by the Verandah Café far aft.
Forward on B deck was the Grand Dining Room, which could seat up to 214 guests. The Grand Stairwell was the entry to this fine venue from A-deck above, as well as there being a door leading to the staterooms located aft of the Dining Room.
The Grand Dining Room
On B Deck there were the ships deluxe staterooms all having private bathrooms, these staterooms featured fine timbers, such as mahogany, maple, pear as well as birch, whilst all other cabins were also beautifully fitted out, but had mostly had shared facilities. This deck also had a Hairdresser and a Barbershop, as well as the doctor’s surgery and sickbay far aft.
These decks offered a range of further passenger cabins.
on her cruise duties, for during spring and the autumn
the winter months she operated what became a very popular Around the World
“circumnavigation voyage” and this voyage would usually depart from
A postcard of the Stella Polaris seen cruising the Norwegian Fjords in the 1930s
recommenced cruising, but for the 1936 and 1937 cruise season, she included a
West Indies Christmas & New Year cruise followed, on 3 January 1937, by a
second fully booked
On the night
of June 12, 1937, the “Stella Polaris” collided with the small
Norwegian Cargo Ship, the 158 ton S.S. “
The “Stella Polaris” suffered only minor damages, to her bow and a broken bowsprit.
Her last World cruise prior to the outbreak of war saw the Stella Polaris depart New York on January21, 1939, and she once again visit Havana transit the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands, the a variety of Pacific Islands, Australia, Bali, Colombo, the Seychelles, South Africa, St.Helena, Dakar, Tenerife, Casablanca, Gibraltar, concluding her voyage at Southampton on May 12, 1939.
her cruise duties until September 1, 1939, when she returned to
It was on April
9, 1940 that German warships entered the man Norwegian ports, from Narvik to
Then on October 30, 1940 German Navy seized the ship, and she was soon placed in use as a floating accommodation Barracks for German U-Boat officers.
The Stella Polaris is seen in her German war livery
Later, on September 1, 1943 the Stella Polaris was placed under the German flag and she became fully crewed by an all German staff.
Germans finally surrendered on May 8, 1945, the Stella Polaris arrived in
On August 18
1945 she arrived at
The Stella Polaris retuned to her cruise duties
The “Bergen Steamship Company” decided that the “Stella Polaris” remained a ship of great value and therefore they decided to completely restore the ship to her to her former glory and she was sent on November 14, 1945 to the “Götaverken” shipyard in Gothenburg to be fully restored and refitted to become the magnificent cruise ship that she had been.
Some of the
changes to the ship were as follows; her bridge was now fully enclosed and also
installed was the very latest navigation equipment. Another big change was that
a brand new ship-wide ventilation system was installed, whilst internally she
was given a new feature, a new Dance Hall. Also during this refurbishment her
passenger capacity was reduced to 189 Guests. Amazingly her complete renovation
The elegant Stella Polaris, is seen berthed at her home port, ready for depaeture
When completed, she was returned to the Bergen Line on June 1,
1946 and she was made ready to recommence cruising. She departed from
commenced four longer cruises, visiting the
summer of 1947, she was placed on a temporary operation between
Dinner Menu from Friday, March 18, 1949
Caribbean cruises from the
On October 13, 1951 the M.Y. “Stella Polaris”
Please Note: Her Deck Plans and Specifications are on
Page Three. Use the
A Bergen Line postcard of the Stella Polaris cruising the Norwegian Fjords
: With the “Bergen Steamship Company” from 1927 to 1951.
: With the “Clipper Line” from 1951 to 1969 & Under Japanese control.
: Deck Plans & General Specifications.
“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
Featuring over 1,435 Classic Passenger Liners, Passenger-Cargo Liners & Classic Cruise Ships!
For interest: Sadly email service to ssMaritime is no
longer available, due to the author’s old age and chronic illness as well
as being disabled, etc. In the past ssMaritime received well over 120 emails
per day, but
ssMaritime.com & ssMaritime.net
Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built
The Author has been in Passenger Shipping & the Cruise Industry for well over 60 years
In addition he was the founder of “Save the Classic Liners Campaign” in 1990.
Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author seeks no funding or favours of any shape or form, never have and never will!
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 provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned.
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 a page is updated!
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