At this time of year, the Thames sees the arrival of many cruise ships which make their way up to Tower Bridge, Eric Pemberton managed to capture some photographs of the MV Ocean Majesty as it passed by the Isle of Dogs.
The MV Ocean Majesty is a small cruise ship that was originally built-in 1966 as the ferry Juan March. As the Juan March, the ship worked on routes for the Madrid based ferry operator Trasmediterránea. During her service with her original owners, Juan March was mainly used to ferry passengers from Spain to the Balearic Islands.
In 1985 Juan March was sold to the Sol Mediterranean and became Sol Christina.She quickly changed name when she became the Kyros Star of Opale Lines. Eventually she was then sold to Majestic International Cruises, who rebuilt her from her original ferry-like form into a cruise ship, and she received her current name Ocean Majesty.
Since 1995, she has been charted out to other companies including Page & Moy and German cruise company Hansa Touristik.
The MV Ocean Majesty has a length 135 metres (443 ft) and beam of 15.8 metres (52 ft) and has 274 cabins, of which 185 are outside.
Thanks to Eric Pemberton for the photographs and it is time for us at Isle of Dogs Life to take a summer break for around three weeks.
After the arrival of the new bridge, we have another unusual arrival in the shape of 85 foot Super yacht catamaran WindQuest.
Built by French yacht builders JFA in 2014 , this is the first of a semi-custom “Long Island” series. The hulls are aluminum-built while the deck is in composite material. WindQuest has three staterooms and an office. In total, eight guests and six crew can be accommodated.
This ship actually visited West India Dock in 2014 as part of her maiden voyage.
Although we have plenty of Super yachts that visit West India Dock, however catamaran’s Super yachts of this size are unusual.
There seems to some confusion because the Port of London lists the ship as Christine but the boat still has Windquest logo whether this just a mistake or the yacht has been sold is not known.
Although we highlight the superyachts and other interesting vessels that visit West India Dock, there are other vessels that visit the dock that are more low key and more likely to be working vessels.
One of these vessels is the Catharina 11 tug that now lies in berth in the dock next to a large pontoon with a steel platform perched on top.
Catharina 11 is owned by HEBO Maritiemservice which is based in Rotterdam and was used to pull the large pontoon from Belgium. The steel platform looks like a piece of a bridge for the Canary Wharf site.
The steel platform was constructed by Victor Buyck in Belgium. The work in Canary Wharf is one of the largest building projects in Europe and has involved a number of construction challenges due to it proximity to the dock.
However this is one case when bringing the parts of the construction by water has been beneficial. If you are visiting Canary Wharf it is well worth watching some of the construction to get some idea of the enormous scale of the project.
Eric Pemberton very kindly sent me a couple of photographs of the MV Hebridean Princess as she recently made her way up the Thames to Tower Bridge. The ship visited West India Dock in 2015 and I was then able to have a closer look at what is considered one of the smallest luxury cruise ship afloat .
The MV Hebridean Princess has an intriguing history and a Royal connection and is considered the height of luxury, however the origins of the ship were much more mundane.
West India Dock 2015
The ship began life as the MS Columba which was the last of three car ferries built in 1964 by Hall, Russell & Company, Aberdeen and operated by David MacBrayne Ltd, the ship also took up the Isle of Mull service. She travelled around the various Scottish Isles visiting Stornoway, Mallaig, Oban, serving Coll and Tiree, Colonsay, Iona, Lochaline and Tobermory.
West India Dock 2015
In 1988, she was acquired by Hebridean Island Cruises to offer luxury cruises. After a major refit she emerged as the luxury cruise ship, the MV Hebridean Princess. She began providing luxury cruises around the Western Isles of Scotland. In recent times , the ship’s itineraries have been extended to include Ireland, the Orkney and Shetland islands, the Norwegian Fjords and France.
West India Dock 2015
The ship is 72 metres long with a beam of 14 metres, gross tonnage of 2112 and an average speed 12 knots (14 miles per hour). There are only 30 bedrooms on board, all named after West Coast Scottish islands, castles, sounds, lochs and bays – individually designed in the style of a large country hotel – with 10 cabins specifically designed for single occupancy. With 50 guests looked after by a crew of around 38, The ship is very popular for cruises around the Scottish Isles where her size allows access to many locations not accessible to larger cruise ships.
West India Dock 2015
The ships transformation from humble car ferry to luxury cruise ship was given a royal seal of approval when HM Queen Elizabeth II chartered the entire ship for a ‘family holiday’ around the Scottish Islands both in 2006 and 2010. It was estimated the charter cost was £125,000 for the use of the ship.
MV Hebridean Princess is one of the most unusual cruise ships in service and is always an interesting visitor to London.
Many thanks to Eric for the photographs.
Recently, I was delighted to receive the latest book from Alfred Gardner who is best known for his two books, East End Story and Watch Your Fingers.
The new book is called In Dickens’ Path and is a series of short stories. The first story called ‘In Dickens’ Path’ features a fictional meeting between Charles Dickens and a twelve-year-old Limehouse errand boy called Gideon Woolfe.
Alf had drawn on his own family tree for the character of Gideon Woolfe, Gideon was actually Alf’s mother’s grandfather and was born on the border of Limehouse and Ratcliffe in 1839.
To put the story in context, Alf provides some background of both the area and Dickens connection with Wapping, Shadwell, Ratcliffe and Limehouse. As a young boy, Dickens would visit Limehouse to see his godfather, Charles Huffman who was a Limehouse sail maker, rigger and ships chandler. Even when Dickens was a celebrated writer, he was known to travel around the area looking for ideas for his stories and articles.
In Dickens’ Path finds the great writer relying on Gideon’s knowledge of the area and quick wittedness to help him with his enquiries.
The next story, An Indelible Impression carries on the theme of being rewarded for kindness but with a modern twist.
A Surprise Encounter brings together an Army sergeant who used to bully his recruits and one of his victims.
It Tugs at the Heartstrings reflects Alf’s love of opera and A Cottage to Let illustrates a life in the country is not always idyllic.
Bogus Callers is about a couple of nasty confidence tricksters and A Canine Tale follows the adventures of an enterprising Dachshund.
Alf lived in the East End for most of his life until he moved recently to the South coast. His books often exposes the kindness and unkindness of modern life and these short stories provide plenty of interest especially if you are a fan of Charles Dickens and the Limehouse area.
This book of short stories is only available from Alf directly and all profits will go to the Children with Cancer UK charity.
If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book, contact Alf at firstname.lastname@example.org