Lines - SS Santa Rosa & Santa Paula of 1958
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Historian, CruisenShip Reviewer & Author
in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960
Note: Except where marked otherwise, images on this page are from
the authors private collection. Some images are from an
unknown source and were sent in to us by ssMaritime supporters.
Please read our photo notes at the bottom of the page.
A NEW feature has been added, which can
be reached via a link at the bottom of this page. It is the
delightful story from Santa Paulas Hostess in
1969 Marcia Kennedy.
Two New Ships:
In 1956 Grace Line decided to build two new
ships to replace the aging 9,000 GRT (gross registered ton)
sisters SS Santa Rosa and SS Santa Paula (3). The new vessels
were designed by Gibbs & Cox and were named after their two
forerunners. Their earlier two funnelled namesakes the Santa
Paula and Santa Rosa (2) built in 1932 would be withdrawn after
26 years of dependable service as soon as the new ships would be
delivered. These new and vastly advanced liners would be built by
the famed Newport News Shipbuilding Company USA.
of the elegant 1932 Grace Line Liners
aboard the Grace ships in the 1930s
A Grace Line
poster featuring their 1932 built ships
On June 28, 1957 Santa Paula would be the first
of the new pair of ships to be launched on June 28, 1957. The
honour to officiate was given to Mrs. Nixon, but somehow the
bottle of champagne smashed against her bow but it failed to
break, and thus it was left to a workman to take it and smash it
& below: Santa Rosa and the Santa Paula ¯ seen during
their sea trails
Santa Paula departed from Newport News on
October 10 and slowly sailed up the Hudson River to Albany and
pier 27, New York. She departed the next day which was
significant, because she would be the first large passenger liner
to make her maiden entry into the port of New York from the
departs on her maiden voyage
SS Santa Rosa was next to be launched on August
28, 1957 and was delivered to Grace Lines on June 12, 1958 and
she departed on her maiden voyage from New Yorks pier 27
bound for South America and the West Indies.
Rosa seen departing on her maiden voyage
original news paper article
Both ships continued the New York to Central
America service for Grace Line until they were transferred to
operate the Caribbean service.
Santa Rosa and Santa Paula were remarkable at
the time having a variety of and innovative features, including
their interiors being panelled with aluminium as a fireproofing
measure. Public rooms and cabins were particularly spacious with
all cabins being outside having private facilities. Another
innovation on these fine ships was their cargo handling gear for
their 4 holds. Especially unique were the side doors fitted to
holds 3 and 4 having automatic conveyers to move pallets on and
off the ship ensuring rapid turn around times.
& below: Two Grace Line brochures
scene on Promenade Deck
Santa Paula & MV Stolt Dagali:
On November 25, 1964 the Israeli liner SS
Shalom departed New York on a cruise to the Caribbean. However,
at 0200 during a dark and foggy night the Shalom collided with
the 12,723 GRT Norwegian tanker MV Stolt Dagali having a crew of
43. The sharply raked bow of the Shalom rammed portside aft
resulting in Stolt Dagalis stern section sinking quickly.
The rest of the ship remained afloat due to her watertight tanks.
With a S.O.S. having been sent out, the first ship to arrive on
the scene was the Santa Paula which was returning from the Caribbean
under the command of Captain Theodore Thomson. Later he said
We had to circle around a wide area until we saw the Shalom
standing still with her lights lit. Her bow was badly damaged.
Then we saw the remains of the tanker, the bow section with some
sort of a light lit, and we could see ten men aboard.
Captain Thomson positioned the Santa Paula in order to provide a
windbreak for the Stolt Dagalis bow section. 25 crew
members were rescued, however 18 Stolt Dagali crewmembers
Dagali seen with her stern section gone
concluding days of two fine Grace Line Ships
Yet as time went on their days were sadly
numbered as various strikes and this began to affect the
companies profitability. However, they continued until 1969
when Grace Line finally decided to sell their shipping interests
to Prudential Lines, and thus the new company became
Prudential-Grace lines. However, by the end of the
year regardless the reasonably good passenger numbers it was
decide to withdraw both ships from service and Santa Paula was
laid up at Hampton Roads Virginia on January 16, 1971, with the
Santa Rosa being also being laid up at Hampton Roads just six
days later. Tragically these fine luxury liners would never sail
under the US flag again.
Santa Rosa Santa Paula
Newport News Shipbuilding Company S.B. & D.D., USA - 1958
Santa Rosa 728 / Santa Paula 522
15,371 GRT / 15,366 GRT
GE Geared Turbines 22,000 SHP
300 First class
Santa Paula to Kuwait Marriot Hotel
In 1972, Santa Paula was sold to Oceanic
Sun Line Special Shipping Company Inc of Greece and she was
renamed Stella Polaris. It was intended for her to become a
cruise ship. Although she arrived in Piraeus on December 11, she
remained laid up until 1976, when she was obtained by the
Marriott Group, and four Kuwaiti companies. She was sent to Rijeka,
Yugoslavia (todays Croatia) where she was converted for the
use as a luxury-floating hotel in Kuwait. She arrived in Kuwait
in September 1978 having been renamed Kuwait Marriott
Hotel. On October 17, workers commenced to raise the
harbour bed at her specially prepared berth as her hull was to
remain to be permanently grounded. This was completed and she
officially opened as a hotel on February 1, 1980.
Marriott Hotel, ex SS Santa Paula, still looking beautiful!
Marriot postcard from the authors private collection
Then in 1989 she was renamed the Ramada
Al Salam Hotel and they placed a hideous sign on top of her
funnel advertising the name of the hotel. However, in the near
futures a tragic disaster would hit this once magnificent ship when
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991, and the Al Salam Hotel
was attacked, bombed, and caught fire, totally destroying this
once magnificent ship. Upon inspection she was considered a total
loss. Much of her machinery spares somehow remained in perfect
order and were sold and were used for her sister ship, the ex
Santa Rosa now in use with Regency Cruises having been rebuilt as
the SS Regent Rainbow. Today this fine totally rebuilt ship
continues to sail on as the SS The Emerald. The
Ramada Al Salaam Hotel, ex Santa Paula was scrapped
in 2002, however it is said that parts of the ship are still
visible at her final resting place.
Al Salaam Hotel after being bombed
source *See Photo notes at bottom of page
burnt-out Promenade Deck of the Al Salaam Hotel
& below: Three photographs of the destroyed ex liner
after the vicious attack
three photographs were kindly provided, taken & are © by Dr.
photograph in memory of a superb ship, the SS Santa Paula, which
is seen here during her Grace Line days
by Vic Scrivens
Mr. Harold Reitz
sent me a photograph of his SS Santa Rosa cabin key - cabin A 44
and matchbook cover from the SS Santa Paula
the authors private collection
Rosa was rebuilt into a modern cruise ship, currently named
Santa Rosa remained laid up in the USA for 20
long years, during which she passed hands a number of times. In
1975 she was obtained by the US Department of Commerce, then in
1976 she was sold to Vintoro Corp of New York who renamed her
Samos Sky and she was to operate the South American service once
again. However, this venture did not eventuate and she remained
idle. She was again sold in 1989, to Coral Cruise Lines Inc, New
York who had her towed from Baltimore to Greece in December. She
arrived at Chalkis Greece in March 1990 where she was to be
modernised. Coral Cruises first renamed her Pacific Sun, then Diamond
Island. Later that year she was finally sold to the Greek Lelakis
Group who commenced to extensively rebuild her at a cost of $70
million. When completed in 1991, visually she was a very
different ship to say the least, yet with her unaltered hull and
her new superstructure she had become a fine looking cruise ship.
She was renamed Regent Rainbow and commenced cruising for Regency
Cruises. At the time many found it strange that with her
extensive rebuilding the company decided to retain her steam
turbine engines, which had been renovated with parts from the Santa
in Greece during her reconstruction to become a cruise ship
Regent Rainbow became a popular ship, however,
Regency Cruises has an extensive fleet and was suffering
extensive losses, and in 1995 Regency was declared bankrupt.
Regent Rainbow was placed under arrest on November 27 in Tampa USA.
In December 1996, Regent Rainbow was sold to rapidly growing
Maltese Shipping Company Louis Cruise Line and she was renamed
The Emerald. She was mostly chartered to Thompson Cruises and
catered for the British market.
is seen here as the stunning looking Louis Cruise Line cruise
ship featuring the Louis livery with their L on the
Santa Paula the Emeralds Sad Farewell!
This delightfully modern cruise ship that was a
famous yet ex classic liner, the Emerald remained but operating
mostly for Louis Cruises themselves in service until 2010 when
she was finally laid up and placed on the market. We had such
hopes for her, as a company did seem to have plans for her and
she was to head for Asia to be used as an accommodation ship, and
then head to the Central America and continue to operate as a
cruise ship again. The truth is that she was a fully updated ship
and was SOLAS 2010 compliant.
However, that venture fell through and we heard
the news in 2012 that she had been sold and we knew that it would
be to a breaker, even though details had not been provided.
I was advised on August 14 that she had been
beached at Alang India to be broken up, this once fine liners
days has now come to an end!
Santa Sisters leave us with some wonderful Memories, even
though they have Now Gone!
Santa Paula is seen here departing New York in 1966
by Vic Scrivens, from the Rich Turnwald collection
will remember this wonderful ship, which has given us a
remarkable 55 years of joy and great service!
SS Santa Paula & Santa Rosa History
The Marcia Kennedy Story An interesting
story from a Santa Paula 1969 hostess
Emerald - ex Santa Rosa rebuilt as a luxury cruise ship
see her interiors!
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on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the
authors 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. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so
kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be
found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in
order that due credit may be given. 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 asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback
when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans
up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where
credit is due!
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
is owned and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights