View Full Version : Maritime irony

Doc Vernon
1st August 2016, 06:20 AM

In the summer of 1988, I arrived in Genoa and had a short stay before heading off on two Mediterranean cruises, both on Italian liners, by the way – the Achille Lauro and the Ausonia. While in a Genoa hotel, I came across a newspaper. A headline read "Death Ship Arrives". A small, all-white passenger ship had arrived and was to be converted and made over as a contemporary cruise ship. Then over forty years old, it was the former Stockholm. Ironically, the "villain" from the 1956 collision with the Andrea Doria was now an Italian ship. She became the thoroughly rebuilt, fully modernized cruise ship Italia Prima (a name later changed for a charter to Valtur Prima).

In April 2001, I traveled to the Caribbean, to Montego Bay on Jamaica, to board a rather special cruise. It included three days in otherwise remote Cuba: two days in Havana and a day at a beach resort called the Isle of Youth. The ship was the specially chartered Valtur Prima, the former Stockholm. She had been, however, so completely rebuilt that there was very little trace of her earlier Scandinavian heritage. I searched all through the passenger areas. While using the ship's tenders, however, we would pass the knife-like bow. Upon looking closely, the slightly raised but very faint lettering was visible – it spelled Stockholm.

​PS: When the ex-Stockholm was converted at Genoa into the Italian-flag Italia Prima, workmen at the shipyard later discovered the true identity of the ship. To them, she was still the "death ship," even after 30 years. Abruptly, they walked-off the job and refused to finish the conversion; at great expense, non-Italian work crews had to be brought in to complete the largely rebuilt, modernized ship.​