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Bill-Squared

Anyone remember the Caribe?

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I've only been on one cruise, and it was 15+ years ago. Horrible experience, so might have blocked most of it out. It was not one of the new, mega-vessels. We got caught in a storm and I hated the entire trip. Tiny, tiny room...where I spent most of time sick as could be!!! :( Swore I'd never go on another cruise, but my partner has finally (after nine years) talked me into another one.

 

Anyway, I think that was the name of the ship, but don't remember the cruise line. Anyone remember this one? What can you tell me about it? Just want to make sure I'm not on something similar this time... :eek:

 

Thanks!

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Your CARIBE would have been one of two ships, both operated for Commodore Cruise Line.

 

The first operated for them between 1976 and 1981. Here is her history, in brief:

 

Built 1968 at Orenstein-Koppel und Lübecker Machinenbau, Lübeck, West Germany as FREEPORT for Miami Terminal Transport Co. (Freeport Cruise Line), Monrovia. Renamed FREEPORT I before entry into service. Miami-Freeport service and cruises. Sold 1973 to Oy Birka Line Ab, Mariehamn; renamed FREEPORT. Stockholm-Helsinki service. Sold 1974 to Rederi Ab Svea, Stockholm; reanmed SVEA STAR. Helsingborg- Travemünde service. Sold 1976 to Bremer Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG, Bremen; renamed CARIBE. Replaced BOLERO on summer Portland-Yarmouth service for Price of Fundy Cruises and winter Caribbean cruises for Commodore Cruise Lines. Renamed CARIBE BREMEN 1981. Sold 1981 to Scandinavian World Cruises, Nassau; renamed SCANDINAVIAN SUN. Commenced Miami-Freeport service 1982. Transferred to SeaEscape Cruises Ltd. Nassau (successor company to Scadniavian World Cruises) 1985, continued in Miami-Freeport service. Sold 1992 to Belle Meade Shipping, Monrovia; renamed BALANGA QUEEN, placed in Karlskrona-Gdynia service for Corona Line. Chartered 1994 to Hansatee, Tallinn; transferred to Tallinn-Helsinki and Tallinn-Travemünde service for Tallink. Sold 1994 to Discovery Cruise Line, Panama; renamed DISCOVERY SUN, placed in day cruise service from Port Everglades from 1995. Presently in service.

 

This ship is somewhat interesting in that she has had a wide variety of different roles but in design terms she is really a ferry more than a cruise ship.

 

The second possibility, rather more likely to have been the ship in which you sailed, is a vessel called CARIBE I which operated for Commodore between 1984 and 1991. Her history:

 

Built 1953 at A. Stephen & Sons Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland as OLYMPIA for Transatlantic Shipping Corp. (Greek Line), Monrovia. Piraeus-New York service and cruising. Laid-up at Piraeus, 1974. Sold 1981 to Sally Shipping GmbH, Bad Schwartau. Originally intended for static use but, following the capsizing and classification as a constructive total loss of proposed future Commodore flagship NAVARINO, renamed CARIBE and extensively rebuilt for cruising at Perama, Greece, and Hamburg, Germany. Entered service for Commodore 1984; name amended to CARIBE I. Sold 1991 to International Shipping Partners, Nassau, renamed REGAL EMPRESS. Cruising for Regal Cruises. Regal Cruises ceased operations 2003, ship sold to Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines. Presently in service.

 

Unlike the previous CARIBE, she was built as an ocean liner, for Transatlantic service. As REGAL EMPRESS she is one of the oldest active passenger ships in the world. You can read a lot more about her here from maritime historian Peter Knego.

 

Incidentally, Commodore went out of business in 2001, but they'd sold both CARIBEs long before they went under.

 

Whichever of these ships is "your" CARIBE, rest assured that RADIANCE OF THE SEAS is very new and very large, all in all just a completely different sort of vessel with a far wider appeal. Imagine a big resort that just happens to move and you've got the idea ;) !

 

I hope you enjoy your second cruise more than your first! Many people who haven't cruised in many years (or who haven't cruised at all) are utterly stunned when they first step aboard a modern cruise ship. It's rather hard not to be, really...

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Doug, thanks for the information. It was probably the second reference. We would have sailed in '87 or '88, out of Miami to San Juan, St. John (which we could enter due to weather) and St. Thomas. Loved the islands and am looking forward to going back on my cruise in November.

 

I really appreciate all your help and the information. Have a great day!

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We would have sailed in '87 or '88

Well, that was the height of CARIBE I's career as such!

 

I have to say that your cruise would probably have been a lot more enjoyable if it weren't for the storm. This ship in all her incarnations has had a strong reputation as not being a "good sea boat". Back in her OLYMPIA days she was known to many as the "Rollympia" :rolleyes: !

 

Today she is one of the last of her kind, and the very last still operating from a US port.

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Doug.... thanks for finally clearing up my confusion over Caribe/Caribe I. We took our first cruise on Caribe on a Miami-Freeport-St Thomas-San Juan-Puerto Plata- Miami routing and it was almost our last. Not the fault of Commodore but the weather. We started rocking and rolling as we left the Miami ship channel. Freeport was cancelled and we spent the next 2 days bobbing like a cork rising with each swell and crashing into the troughs with the whole ship shuddering....it was not a 'Happy Ship'. I remember the food was great and the crew did a fantastic job of tending to some very sick passengers. BTW it took me 25 years to get my wife on another ship - Voyager of the Seas - and now we are firmly committed cruisers. Thanks again

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Doug.... thanks for finally clearing up my confusion over Caribe/Caribe I. We took our first cruise on Caribe on a Miami-Freeport-St Thomas-San Juan-Puerto Plata- Miami routing and it was almost our last. Not the fault of Commodore but the weather. We started rocking and rolling as we left the Miami ship channel. Freeport was cancelled and we spent the next 2 days bobbing like a cork rising with each swell and crashing into the troughs with the whole ship shuddering....it was not a 'Happy Ship'. I remember the food was great and the crew did a fantastic job of tending to some very sick passengers. BTW it took me 25 years to get my wife on another ship - Voyager of the Seas - and now we are firmly committed cruisers. Thanks again

 

DAJ--I'm hoping that I share your wife's experience. I hated that cruise on the Caribe. :( We couldn't dock on the first TWO of our ports, and when we finally did, I almost refused to get back on board. :eek: It's taken me 15+ years to agree to another cruise. Hope I love it like you guys do now!!! :)

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Aslanwrp... yes yes yes yes yes GO!!!.... being 'trapped' on a ship in bad weather is a nightmare (our cruise could have been called 'victory at sea')but today's ship don't behave the same as the Caribes we took way back when. We have done 5 cruises now (planning the 6th) and as I said we are firmly committed cruisers.

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I think that was part of the problem last time...the room was sooooo small. :( That's one of the reasons THIS TIME, I booked a delux cabin with a balcony. From the photos, I shouldn't feel trapped, even if we have to stay in for bad weather. It's actually bigger than an apartment I had when I lived in Orange County, CA. ;)

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aslanwrp.... don't know what ship you are going to be on and it really doesn't matter but you will love the balcony in the caribbean. We had breakfast on the balcony everyday....not a bad way to start your day. you will enjoy!!!

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Our cruise will be on RCCL Radiance of the Sea. I also scheduled it after hurricane season...if there is such a thing these days. :eek:

 

Like the idea of breakfast on the balcony!!!

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we have been on 18 cruises and prefer the old small ships. our first 2 were on the old azure seas, then 3 on commadores enchanted isle, and then the old HAL niew amsterdam. my wife came to the us in 1964 frm greece on the olympia 2nd class to new york.

nothing like winter crossings in the north atlantic on a 25,000 ton ship to let you know you're alive!

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Doug, where did you find all that wonderful information? I recently was looking over the Feb 2006 Cruise Travel magazine and reading about all the ships that are currently afloat, and it included previous names for ships, but I'd love to read more about their histories.

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A group of 8 of us went out on the "Regal Empress" (formerly "Caribe") in March of 1995 and Jan. of 1996. We did the same itinerary both times and loved it. I remember Vic Serra was the cruise director and Rowena was one of our hostesses. We were very involved in the ships daily activities including the talent show. When we came back the 2nd year, Rowena remembered some of our names from the prior year. However, this was the only ship that I got seasick on. The morning we were supposed to arrive in Port Manatee, FL (just below Tampa) the captain had us sitting on the outskirts of a big storm that was hanging near the port. I guess we spent about 4 hours (it seemed like an eternity) waiting for the weather to clear some before heading in. Anyway, we enjoyed ourselves so much we went as part of larger groups for the next several cruises. The Regal Empress really "hooked" us into cruising as you may note.

Rich M

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You can read about Caribe here and if you scroll down there is info about Caribe I - including pictures of both ships!

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Doug, where did you find all that wonderful information?

I wrote it, but the actual information came from various places.

 

Incidentally, I just realised that I forgot something... If you click here you can read a great article (eight pages!) by maritime historian Peter Knego which gives the entire history of REGAL EMPRESS (the former CARIBE I) from her beginnings as OLYMPIA in 1953 right up through the present day.

 

Also click here for a report of a cruise in her last month by the same author. He says:

 

The REGAL EMPRESS is an absolute "must do" for anyone with an interest in classic passenger ships ... Now is the time to savor the delights of this Clyde-built EMPRESS, but expectations of giant plastic atria, neon, and massive spas must be left at home.

I myself am hoping to perhaps take a little jaunt in her this summer... Some friends from the UK are coming over to this side of the pond and want to try her out so I think that would be the perfect opportunity for me as well. This ship has been in my backyard for years so really I have no excuse for not having tried her yet...

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Just returned from a weekend on the old Caribe -- now known as the Regal Empress and owned by Imperial Majesty. The ship is making two night cruises from Pt. Everglades to Nassau. While they are trying to take care of her, the cruise itself is nothing more than two days of constant bingo reminders over the loudspeakers... a great disappointment. Sadly, it appears as if Imperial Majesty is taking what used to be a great lady and have turned her into nothing more than a Greyhound bus.

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That picture didn't work...looks like you are trying to put something from AOL?

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We took this lovely ship 6/99- it as a super cheap Apple Vacations charter out of Phila, PA. Paid $458 total for 2 on a weekend trip called "American Heritage"- from Philly on Friday nite to NYC (past WTC towers), turned around and headed back. i fugured, how bad could it be? It is a cruise, right? I LOVED this ship- much prefer the small, old, intimate ships of yesteryear. I did not want to leave. I have read her history and actually met a man on our sailing that travelled on it as a troop ship during the war (want to say 1942 or 1943)- he shared lots and lots of stories with my husband who loves "war stories"- an interesting fellow. The only ONLY issue I had was the pax aboard the sailing. Definatly not your HAL crowd- they were all drunk, loud, loud, and louder. The draw of a cheap cruise, urban departure city, and no days off work required made for an interesting mix of folk. It should have been marketed as a weekend cruise to nowhere drunkfest as there were no "ports" to get off at- but I walked the decks of that ship forever, absorbing all of the history and class that it had to offer. It was awesome. I am surprised to hear that she is still sailing in the US. We are booked on the Carnival Legend in June, but I will definately look into checking her out again in the winter. Even if she is turning into a Greyhound- if I appreciated her as I did in Philly in 1999- I can suffer thru another try from FL!

 

Thanks for the memories!

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I cruised on the Caribe back in May of 92 for a week to the Western Caribbean. She was a nice little ship but we did hit a tropical wave after leaving Ocho Rios and for the next eight hours the ship did some serious rocking. Overall a great ship. I have seen her two or three times within the last few years. Below is a link to a photo of here that I snapped in Nassau as the Regal Empress.

 

http://cruisingator.smugmug.com/gallery/640328/3/27324826

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The Caribe was our first cruise back in about 83 I believe. I never had so much fun in my life, nor did DH, DD and SIL and every MIL. 20 plus cruises later I still remember how much fun we had.The entertainment was the staff, lots of fun games at night, a very small casino, only 1 restaurant plus a little outside snack bar/line more than an actually buffet. The cabins were small (I have seen smaller) the crew was outstanding and they had the old fashion horse races we don't see anymore. About 8 years later, just before she left Commodore, we took her again. Beleive it or not we had the same room steward. Maybe she wasn't glitzy like the ships we sail now, maybe you couldn't find art auctions, Vegas type shows or 10 choices in dining, but what fun she was. NMNita

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My first cruise ever was out of Miami on the Caribe in July 1985 when I was 18 yo. It was my parents and my sister and I in one cabin and although I remember it to be rather small, I dont remember much else except for bunk beds! I remember it as being elegant, sophisticated and oh so grown up...the itinerary included San Juan, PR, Port Au Prince, Haiti, St. Thomas, and the DR. Living in Miami most of my life, docking in Haiti was very exciting for me as I saw my first mountain landscape!! Does anyone remember this itinerary? You never forget your first cruise...

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To all those who loved the Caribe 1 and remember her fondly, I'm sad to say she is gone. She was taken to Alang and broken up for scrap in 2009/2010. We will all miss her as she was a grand lady of the sea. Today's ships are like floating Vegas casinos-glitz and glamour but no real service. What the Caribe may have lacked in glitz & amenities she made up for in Service and old world charm.

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That is truly sad to hear about Caribe I. She was our first sailing adventure, back in 91. Most cruise ships from Med had been brought to Caribbean when it wasn't deemed safe to sail in the Med (there was war in Kuwait, plus a tourist had been tossed from a hijacked ship, etc). We had been advised to call for rates and to ignore brochure rates due to the great number of ships available. We figured we could afford an H cabin on the Caribe, with an A at the top of the price list. When I called and asked what I could get for the price of an H, she offered me an A! So we took it!

 

We found our cabin in Caribe I's one-time "first class" section, with all its once-decadent glory: deep rich woods, red velvet materials, shining/gleaming brass, etc. It was a large cabin, with a sitting area and a bedroom. That we got for $250/week per person! Yes, the cabin was showing its age, but it was twice the cabin of almost any ship we've sailed since. The old first-class section bar was gorgeous....and unfound by most everyone else on the ship. My husband was in heaven. The bartender got to know him and what he would drink and always had it ready for him. We basically had a "private" bar whenever we wanted it.

 

It was a wonderful cruise...met some fun people, loved the ship from bow to stern, and got our first introduction to the Caribbean. We've been Caribbean sailors ever since...on a variety of ships (mostly small) and for the past 10 years, we've become tall-ship sailors. But Caribe I, which started it all for us, remains dear to our hearts. So it is very sad to hear she is gone.

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