British and Irish Steam Packet Company (B&I Line)FerriesHellas FerriesMinoan Flying DolphinsPast and PresentSealinkSealink British Ferries (SBF)

MV Ailsa Princess – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7038379

MV New Cambay Prince

ex New Caribbean Princess, Express Adonis, Naias Express, Dimitri, Earl Harold, Ailsa Princess

Launch Day - Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archives

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Ansaldo & Co, Genoa at Cantiere Navale, Breda, Venice in 1971 (Yard No 272) as a Passenger Roll-on roll-off vehicle ferry for Sealink UK Ltd

Technical Data

  • Cost New: £2,737,000
  • Length: 112.6 m (1970), 115.54m (1990)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.45 m (57. ft )(extreme), 16.76m (55.0 ft) (moulded)
  • Draught: 3.66 m (max)(1970), 4.0m (1990)
  • Tonnage: 6,177 gross (1990), 2,047 (1990), 913 deadweight (1970), 894 (1990)
  • Engines: Two Pielstick/Crossley Premier SEMT 16PC2V diesels.
  • Power: 10710 kW
  • Speed: 19.5 knots (service), 20.7 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 1,200 passengers and 190 cars (1970), 1,800 passengers, 190 cars (1990)
  • Call sign: GOVA, 3EEE, D6FH4
  • IMO Number: 7038379
  • Official Number: 341458
  • Registry: London/UK 🇬🇧, Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸, Piraeus/Greece 🇬🇷, Panama 🇵🇦, Moroni/Comoros  🇰🇲


November 28th 1970: Launched.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archives

June 22nd 1971: The Ailsa Princess was delivered to British Transport Ship Management (Scotland) Ltd, London and registered to Carpass (Shipping) Ltd., London, England.

Onboard Ailsa Princess

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archives

June 27th 1971: Arrived Venice.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

July 7th 1971: Introduced for Sealink between Stranraer – Larne.

July 9th 1971: Off service with engine problems and required minor bow-door modifications.

© Anthony Williams

© Anthony Williams (Larne, 19/09/1971)

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls

© Robert Turkington

© Robert Turkington (Larne, June 1973)

March 31st 1975 – April 26th 1975: Winter refit.

1975 (Spring): The after end of the upper deck was enclosed like the ANTRIM PRINCESS and deck space for passengers provided aft on the deck above, the bridge deck.

December 4th 1975: Operated for a short time between Ardrossan – Larne.

© Robert Turkington

© Robert Turkington (Larne, April 9th June 1977)

March 20th 1979: Arrived at Holyhead for dry-docking.

April 10th 1979: Left dry-dock and resumed service.

February 11th 1980: Ailsa Princess arrived in Holyhead for refit.

© Tony Garner

© Tony Garner (Stranraer, 18/05/1980)

May 31st and June 2nd 1980: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

February 11th and March 11th 1982: Heysham – Douglas.

© William MacDonald

© William MacDonald (Douglas, Isle of man)

March 1982: Internal alterations, including extra lounge accommodation on the promenade deck and a duty free shop, also engines were converted to burn heavy grade fuel. The work was carried out by Smith’s Dock & co at Middlesbrough an cost £280,000. One other small change was the painting out of the long extensions to the Rails emblem on her funnel.

   © Ken Larwood

© Fotoflite (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

© Fotoflite 

February 17th 1982: Taken over at Middlesbrough by a crew from Weymouth.

March 27th 1982: Ailsa Princess arrived at Weymouth.

Ailsa Princess - Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

March 31st 1982: Trial trip to Cherbourg.

Courtesy of Chris Thorne

Courtesy of Chris Thorne (Weymouth 1982)

April 2nd 1982 – October 1982: Following modifications operated Weymouth – Cherbourg.

1982 @ Boulogne, Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection (1982 at Boulogne) 

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

October 2nd 1982 until October 19th 1982: Operated between Folkestone – Boulogne covering refits to HENGIST and HORSA. During this period she was unable to use her bow door.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive (Dover)

October 21st – November 10th 1982: Moved to Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire, also as cover.

November 16th 1982 – November 26th 1982: Chartered to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), rebuilt at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, to test feasibility of using ferries as minelayers!

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard

© Fotoflite Ref: 7080

© Fotoflite 

January 1983: Reverted to her ferry role and covered between Folkestone – Boulogne, then returning to Weymouth – Cherbourg.

January 2nd 1984 – February 23rd 1984: She was back operating the Folkestone routes, when she relieved HENGIST. Then, returned to Weymouth – Cherbourg.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby (Folkestone, 02/01/1984)

July 1984: Sealink UK was sold to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda for just £66 million. The company then operated under the company name of Sealink British Ferries U.K., and a subsidiary company British Ferries Ltd was set up

© Sealink News

© Sealink News (Passing QE2 at Cherbourg due to industrial action at Southampton, September 1984)

October 8th 1984: Berthing trials at St Helier. Then converted for her new “Sunliner” role.

© William MacDonald

© William MacDonald (Govan, 24/01/1985)

April 23rd 1985: Weymouth -Jersey/Guernsey service.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

© Fotoflite

May 24th 1985: Renamed EARL HAROLD.

Earl Harold © Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

June 26th 1985: Bomb hoax disrupted sailings, covered for EARL GODWIN, the victim of the hoax.

1985: Back in the English Channel covering for HENGIST and HORSA whilst they were away for refits. She then returned to Weymouth.

September 28th 1985: Finished service at Weymouth and planned transfer to Stranraer to release ANTRIM PRINCESS to go on charter to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Not transferred and continued to maintain Weymouth – Channel Islands.

Belfast 08/03/1986 © Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes (Belfast, 08/03/1986)

1986: Painted in British Ferries livery

Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

 © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

October 1986: Strike-bound in Portsmouth over planned merger with Channel Island Ferries. Then moved to Weymouth where strike (lasting ten days) continued. Eventually resumed Weymouth – Cherbourg service.

March 16th 1987: Dry-docked and overhauled at Immingham by Humber Ship Repairers. Reverted to Sealink British Ferries livery.

Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library

April 2nd 1987: Departed Humber. Resumed Weymouth – Cherbourg.

October 1987: Sent to Fishguard – Rosslare service to cover for ST BRENDAN (engine failure)

1988: Continued to operate Weymouth – Cherbourg sailings

February 11th 1988: Covered Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire for three days , then relief duties Stranraer – Larne until end of March, whereupon returned Weymouth – Cherbourg.

© Justin Merrigan

© Justin Merrigan (Holyhead, 04/04/1988)

October 1988: Speculation vessel to be used as a stop-gap to open a Southampton – Cherbourg freight service, but also saw her back at Fishguard.

Nicolas Levy Collection © Fotoflite Ref: 78757  

Nicolas Levy Collection (left) and © Fotoflite (right)

November 1988: Saw her again in the Dover Straits at Folkestone.

© Kevin Atkinson

© Kevin Atkinson

© David Mersh © David Mersh © David Mersh

🆕 © David Mersh

December 1988: Stranraer – Larne.

April 1989: Chartered to B&I Line, and introduced between Pembroke Dock – Rosslare. She was re-registered under the Bahamas flag, home port being Nassau.

© Aubrey Dale  Nigel Thornton Collection

© Aubrey Dale (left) and Nigel Thornton Collection (right)

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

October 28th 1989 (12.00 hrs): Re-delivered to Sealink at Falmouth.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Library

November 14th 1989: Sold to Aktoploika Maritime, Piraeus, Greece.

December 2nd 1989: Left Falmouth for Greece, renamed DIMITRA.

Unknown Photographer (Believed to be @ Piraeus)

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

1990: Received various new additions to her superstructure and was used by GA Ferries for various routes including Piraeus – Syros – Tinos – Mykonos – Paros – Naxos – Amorgos – Astypalea – Ikaria – Samos.

© Bernd Crause

© Bernd Crause (01/08/1992)

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Piraeus, 15 – 17/07/1990)

November 1994: Sold to Agapitos Line, Piraeus, Greece and renamed NAIAS EXPRESS then operating between Piraeus – Syros – Tinos – Mykonos – Paros – Naxos – Heraklia – Schinoussa – Koufonissia.

Naias Express - © Ton Grootenboer  © Tony Garner

© Ton Grootenboer (left) and Mykonos Island, 26/09/1992 © Tony Garner (right)

2000: Agapitos Line taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins, Piraeus, Greece and this time she was renamed EXPRESS ADONIS.

Express Adonis - © Ton Grootenboer

© Ton Grootenboer

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Rafina, 14/07/2001)

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn (Piraeus, 01/06/2002)

© George Gbidis

© George Gbidis (Piraeus, 11/07/2003)

November 16th 2003: Damaged as a result of a mooring line breaking under strain while engaged on the Alonnisos – Skopelos – Skiathos – Volos route in Greece.

At 1740 on the 2nd of November while tied up at Alonnisos harbour the port aft mooring line broke due to strong winds causing the EXPRESS ADONIS to hit the port’s breakwater. There was no ingress of water but there was damage to the starboard propeller. There were no injuries among the crew or the 22 passengers aboard. After inspection the ship was escorted to her next and final port of call at Volos by two Greek Coast Guard landing craft. After disembarking her cargo the EXPRESS ADONIS was detained in port to allow a full damage survey to be carried out and the appropriate repairs to be made. (Larne Ferry Web)

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Samos, 29/07/2004)

January 2005: Transferred to Hellenic Seaways, Piraeus

2005: Laid up in Piraeus, pending sale.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Piraeus, 30/07/2005)

October 28th 2005: Being stripped, awaiting disposal.

December 2005: Sold to GUPTA G, 6090, Strathmoor Drive, Rockford Il USA.

January 21st 2006: Renamed NEW CARIBBEAN PRINCESS (Panamanian flag).

February 2006: Towed to Drapetsona.

New Caribbean Princess - Mumbai © Christophe Podlouky  New Caribbean Princess - Mumbai © Christophe Podlouky

© Christophe Podlucky (Mumbai)

July 16th 2006: Left Greece destination Mumbai.

2006: Sold to Gautam Gupta, Manager Samudra Link Ferry Shipping and renamed NEW CAMBAY PRINCE. Operated services between Mumbai – Jafrabad

April 2010: Reportedly sold for scrapping at Alang.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Jim Ashby, Kevin Atkinson, Ian Collard, Terry Conybeare, Bernd Crause, Aubrey Dale, Carsten Dettmer, Brian Fisher, Fotoflite, Tony Garner, George Gbidis, Alan Geddes, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, Pieter Inpyn, Ken Larwood, William MacDonald, Justin Merrigan, David Mersh, Christophe Podlucky, Chris Thorne, Robert Turkington, Anthony Williams and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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


  1. Your page on Ailsa Princess says that her accommodation was extended during her 1982 overhaul. I have photos taken at Stranraer in August 1981 which show that this work had already taken place, but I would not like to suggest when. (See The extended horizontal BR double arrow bars are still present at this time.

    1. Thanks Jeremy.

      The glaring omission was that she was extended externally in 1975 and then in 1982 her internal accommodation was altered.

      Thanks for pointing that out. As I always say “These features are ongoing” and all info’ and comments are welcome.

      Rgds and Seasons Greetings
      Nigel Thornton

  2. Hi, nothing appears anywhere on line about the on board caravan fire as Ailsa Princess approached Cherbourg in the summer of 1982. We were on board making our way to a two week holiday in Normandy, I must have been about 11 or 12 at the time. As we queued to return to the car down a narrow flight of stairs, the doors to the car deck were opened and we were greeted by smoke. A caravan towed by a Ford Cortina Estate was well alight on the car deck and we had to make our way to the outside decks. I remember the announcements over the tannoy – nobody could hear them; luckily, Ailsa Princess docked at Cherbourg and we were all evacuated. As we waited on the dockside, the French fire service turned up at the wrong berth. We eventually made our campsite in Granville many hours later; my parents Renault 18 smelling of smoke and our clothes in the luggage all needing laundering. I did have a photograph of the offending caravan taken by my sister, as it was towed out: a mass of melted plastic or fibreglass over what remained of the metal chassis, and the back end of the Cortina fire damaged, but I don’t know where it is now.

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