SS Ocean Explorer I, built as the great SS General W. P. Richardson 

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Author, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer and Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime & cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or travel or cruise agencies, etc! Although having been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, I am now retired but having completed features on well over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships, I trust these will continue to provide you the classic ship enthusiast the information you are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!

SS Ocean Explorer I

Ex: Sapphire Seas, Emerald Seas, Atlantis, President Roosevelt, Leilani, LaGuardia, General W. P. Richardson

SS Emerald Seas Photo Album

Above we see the Ocean Explorer as the Eastern Steamship Lines SS Emerald Seas


Please Note: All images (except those marked otherwise) are from 1977 & 1978 SS Emerald Seas brochures. This fine ship operated cruises from Miami to the Bahamas for around twenty years. The Brochure is from the author’s private collection.

Obviously this ships as revealed on Page One has undergone a good number of refits since the images on this page, yet she remained a beautiful and a modern, perfectly maintained cruise ship, one we would like to have seen cruising for much longer! As she was so greatly loved, being a ship for the genuine cruise lover with all the facilities one could dream about! However, being a steam ship she was a costly ship to operate, and this was the main reason for her eventual demise in 2004.

Two SS Emerald Seas Brochures containing the images below

From the author’s private collection


 Showtime in the Mayfair Ballroom


 Mayfair Ballroom


Mayfair Lounge Bar 


 Aquarius Club Bar


 Dining Room


Her magnificent aft decks with the Terrace forward of the Pool


 The Terrace


Outside Twin


 Outside Twin


 Inside Single/Two-Berth Cabin


 Emerald Seas Glass

From the author’s private collection

We have been unable to locate any interior photographs of the Emerald Seas in her later years. If you are able to help me, it would be much appreciated!

Additional Photographs

I received an email from a Carole Revetti; “I came across your website and noticed you were looking for pictures of the Emerald Seas. Our high school used to go on this ship for our senior cruises.” (Edited).

Below are several photographs of the Emerald seas from those days. Thank you Carole!

 Emerald Seas at anchor

Provided by Carole Revetti


A fine bow shot

Provided by Carole Revetti



Above and below: an excellent study of her radar mast, funnels, and lifeboats. All look in superb condition!

Provided by Carole Revetti 



1980 Postcard of the SS Emerald Seas


 This fine postcard was provided by Mr. Harold Garwood of Jeffersonville, IN. USA who with his family cruised on her in 1980


The back of the postcard provided by Mr. Harold Garwood - USA


A portside view of the SS Sapphire Seas

Photographer unknown – *See Photo notes at the bottom of the page

After her days as the SS Emerald Seas, she was sold in 1992 to the Greek Festival Cruises and was renamed Sapphire Seas but she sadly remained mostly laid up, but she was retained in pristine condition. She operated various services, but in 1994 she was relocated in San Diego USA, for a short time to operate day cruises between San Diego and Ensenada, being a popular port at the very northern tip of Mexico, being a voyage of just 109k – 67m each way, and shipboard guests could spend some time enjoying the Mexican atmosphere.

In April 1998, she was renamed Ocean Explorer I, she was sent to Lisbon Portugal, where she became a hotel ship for the Lisbon “Expo98 World Fair” and she remained there from Wednesday May 20, to Saturday October 3, 1998. Upon her return to Greece she headed for Eleusis Bay (Piraeus) where she was laid up. She again operated a few summer cruises under charter during 1999.

Then from November 20, 1999 to March 25, 2000, the SS Ocean Explorer I was chartered by the “World Cruise Company” of Ontario Canada and she operated a 130 Day around the World Voyage. The Ocean Explorer I, visited seven continents, twenty-three countries, and thirty-five ports. But she proved once again too costly to operate and future world cruises were cancelled, thus she was laid up again, but she did make some seasonal cruises around the Mediterranean.

The SS Ocean Explorer is seen at anchor at Eleusis Bay in 2004

Photographs by the late Captain Yiorgos Graikos

Then in April 2004, the Ocean Explorer I was sold to Indian breakers and soon she headed for the breakers beach and was duly broken up. Obviously, being an old steam ship with a rather deep draught, she became uneconomical for the modern cruise industry therefore her decline. It was a sad loss indeed, but she did have a good run and many people had a wonderful time on her and countless memories will remain of this rather special ands unique ship!

Return to Page One of the SS Ocean Explorer I feature


“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”


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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 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 only on, in order that due credit may be given.


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 displayed on each page, that is, when a page is updated!


ssMaritime is owned and Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved