The most famous ship named “Sylvania” was a Cunard passenger liner, 608 feet long, 80 feet across and weighing in at 22,017 tons gross. Built in 1957 in the Clyde Bank Shipyards in Glasgow, Scotland, the Sylvania was one of the Cunard Line's new fleet of ships for the Canadian passenger market.
The Cunard Steam Ship Line Liverpool to Montreal trip required a very special set of ships, because it required that they be able to travel up the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The vessels would carry just two classes of passengers: first and second class.
The Sylvania started on her maiden voyage from Greenock on the Clyde River in Scotland on June 5, 1957 heading for Montreal, Quebec. As cruising became less profitable, Cunard Lines put the Sylvania up for sale.
The Italian Sitmar Lines (Societa Italiana Trasporti Marittimi SpA) purchased the Sylvania and her sister ship the Carinthia in February 1968 and renamed them the cruise liners Fairwind and Fairland.
Sitmar Lines, including the Fairwind, was then sold on Sept. 1, 1988 to the Pacific and Orient (or P&O) Group, which added the vessels to its Princess Cruise Line fleet. Henceforth, the Fairwind would be known as the Dawn Princess.
Next, the Dawn Princess was sold to the Vlasov Group, owners of the V-Ships Group, who renamed the Dawn Princess the Albatross and added her to their Happy Days Shipping Line.
In August 1993, a contract was signed with the German tour company, Phoenix Reisen, which planned a 100-day World Cruise on the Albatross, that departed Genoa, Italy on Jan. 6, 1994.
After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, she sailed through the Panama Canal, crossed the Pacific Ocean all the way to Vietnam, returned across the Indian Ocean, and passed through the Suez Canal.
After a fire in the boiler room on May 22, 1995, the Albatross was towed to Jeddah, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Astonishingly, they were met at the port by His Majesty King Fahd himself, who greeted the passengers as if they were family.
After being feted in Jeddah for a day, the his guests were then flown home on two specially chartered flights arranged for by King Fahd. The Albatross was towed, first to Livorno and then to Marseilles for repairs.
On May 16, 1997 the Albatross hit the well-known navigational hazard of Bartholomew's Ledge off the southwestern coast of Great Britain while carrying some 800 passengers and crew.
Escorted by Saint Mary's pilot-boat and the harbor's one lifeboat, the Albatross docked in Saint Mary's harbor. After discharging her passengers, an examination showed that the Albatross had torn a 200-foot long gash in her hull.
After being repaired at the Atlantic & Peninsula Shipyards at Southampton, the Albatross continued cruising until November 2003 when the Albatross suffered a series of mechanical breakdowns.
After Phoenix Reisen terminated their contract, V-Ships sold the former Sylvania to a scrapyard in Alang, India. The vessel was renamed the SS Genoa for her trip to India where she would be disassembled, which began in January 2004.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at email@example.com.