Mv Black Watch – Past and Present

Mv Black Watch

ex Star Odyssey, Westward, Royal Viking Star

© Ray Thorsteinson/Marc Piche

© Ray Thorsteinson/Marc Piché

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1972 by Oy Wartsila Ab, Helsingfors, Finland  (Yard No 395) for Royal Viking Line, Oslo, Norway 

Technical Data

  • Original Cost: $22.5 million
  • MMIS Number: 311166000
  • IMO Number: 7108930
  • Official Number: 8000293
  • Length on deck: 177.70m (overall)(1971), 205.57m (1981), 169.73m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 25.19m (extreme)(1971), 25.19m (1981)
  • Draught: 7.30m (maximum)(1971), 7.547m (1981)
  • Tonnage: 21,847 gross (1971), 28,221 (1981), 28,613 (ITC 69)/11,854 net (ITC 69)/3,595 deadweight (1971), 5,656 (1981)
  • Engines: Four 9-cylinder Sulzer-Wartsila diesels
  • Propulsion/Propellers: (13,400kW)/2
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Capacity: 539 (1971), 759 (1981)
  • Passenger decks: 8
  • Crew: 310
  • Navigation Officers: European
  • Call Sign: LILY (Royal Viking Star), C6CN2 (Westward),  C6RS5
  • Registry: Norway (1972 – 2001), Malta (2001), Nassau, The Bahamas (2001 – )
  • Sister Ships: Royal Viking Sky (1973), Royal Viking Sea (1973)

Current Location

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July 1st 1970: Keel laid.

May 5th 1971: Launched.

June 26th 1972: Delivered to Royal Viking Line, Oslo as ROYAL VIKING STAR and installed in cruise service. Manager Fred. Olsen Marine Services AS

© Marc Piché

August 30th – November 22nd 1981: As an alternative to new a new build, lengthened at Seebeckwerft, Bremerhaven.

1988: Sold to Kloster Cruise, Nassau, Bahamas.

April 1991: Renamed WESTWARD.

April 1994: She was again sold to Royal Cruise Lines, Nassau, Bahamas , renamed STAR ODYSSEY and went into service cruising the Mediterranean.

© Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson

October 1996: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Nassau, Bahamas, bought her for $55,000,000 and renamed her BLACK WATCH

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines  Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

© Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (all)

November 15th 1996: Made her first cruise under this banner.

March 17th 1997: Re-registered to Hvitsten in Norway

2001: Re-registered again, this time to Nassau in the Bahamas. She continued to cruise Europe, Mediterranean and Baltic, with port of call Dover.

December 15th 2004: The vessel went to the Blohm and Voss shipyard following her 2005 world cruise in April. Her engines, auxiliary engines, gearboxes, and propellers were replaced with more fuel-efficient gear that was installed on new rubber mountings to reduce vibration and noise. More balconies were fitted on the Bridge Deck cabins and a general refurbishing of all public areas was undertaken. It was intended for this refit to expand the life expectancy.

April 20th 2005: Arrived at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, Germany.

© Aleksi Lindström

June 11th 2005: Re-engined with a total of four new engines, four exhaust boilers and two gearboxes. New control systems and propeller blades designed to reduce noise and vibration were also fitted along with two auxiliary engines. Additionally, 14 suites with balconies, were being created while existing cabins were upgraded some with new balconies.

June 23rd 2005: Expected to return to service with a short cruise to Guernsey and Amsterdam.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Nigel Thornton

© Ray Goodfellow (left) © Nigel Thornton (right)


© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton   © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton (all)

2006: Registered owner; Partrederiet Fred. Olsen Shipping ANS II. Registered manager; Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

© Robert Fournier

December 17th 2007: Arrived at Dover with apparent stabilizer problems. Divers attended. Sailed for Portland later in the day.

© Jens Boldt

© Jens Boldt (Hamburg 11/12/2009)

2012: Still in service.

© Micke Asklander  © Micke Asklander

© Micke Asklander

©  Micke Asklander (all)

December 11th 2015: Received new livery.

“Following a recent refurbishment at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Boudicca has been given a new colour scheme and livery. Boudicca is the first ship in the fleet to be given the new colours. The previously white hull is now a dark grey, topped with a red line above.

Nathan Philpot, Sales & Marketing Director, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“The painting of the hulls is a positive statement and represents the on-going changes to position Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ fleet within the premium market. A grey hull harks back to Fred. Olsen’s heritage, to when the first Black Watch and Black Prince were launched in the 1930s; these were two of the most luxurious ships afloat at the time. The use of the ‘Cartier’ red line is a visual reminder to all our guests and crew of what we refer to internally as our ‘Red Carpet’ service.”

Balmoral has also began her transformation, with Black Watch and Braemar being painted in due course.”

Source: Cruise Critic

© John Wilson  © John Wilson

© John Wilson

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Marina)  © Nigel Scutt (Dover Marina)

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Marina)

Arriving at Dover 13/05/16 © Nigel Scutt (Dover Marina)

November 20th 2016: Extended refit in Hamburg updating cabins and create new restaurants and bars.

© Erwin Willemse  © Erwin Willemse

 © Erwin Willemse

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Micke Asklander, Jens Boldt, Robert Fournier, Nigel Scutt (Dover Marina), Aleksi Lindström, Mike Jackson, Marc Piché, Ray Thorsteinson, Erwin Willemse, John Wilson and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature. A special thanks goes to Fred Olsen Cruises.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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