Cruise ShipsDFDSFred Olsen Cruise LinesPast and Present

MV Black Prince – Past and Present

MV Ola Esmeralda

Ex Prince, Black Prince, Venus, Black Prince, Venus, Black Prince

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1966 at Lubecker Flender-Werke, Lubeck (Yard No 561) for Fred Olsen & Co, Kristiansand, Norway

Technical Data

  • Original Cost: $20 million
    Length : 141.64m (overall) 129.29m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth of hull: 20.02m (extreme)
    Depth: 16.26m
    Draught: 6.422m (maximum)
    Tonnage: 9,499 gross (1966), 11,209/5,272 net, 2,995, 4,072)/ 3,440 deadweight 3,043
    Engines: Two 18-cylinder Crossley Piestick diesels
    Propulsion/Propellers: 12,313kW/16,740 bhp
    Speed: 22.5 knots
    Passengers: 693 (1966), cruise passenger 350 (1966), cars 200 (1966) 527 passengers (1986)
    Passenger decks: 7
    Crew: 200
    Call Sign: LHXI, LATE2, C6RS2, YYLS
    IMO number: 6613328
    Official Number: N-00578
    Registry: Kristiansand/Norway, Oslo/Norway, Nassau/Bahamas, Panama, Venezuela
    Sister Ship: Black Watch


May 14th 1966: Launched.

October 1966: Delivered to Fred Olsen & Co, Oslo, Norway.

© J K Byass

© J K Byass

October 1966 Р1982: Cruising for Fred Olsen from London / Rotterdam to the Canary Islands.

May 15th 1967 РOctober 15th 1967: Commenced service for Det Bergenske D / S between Kristiansand РHarwich, and Kristiansand РAmsterdam.

October 1967 – May 1968: Cruising from London to the Canary Islands.

May 1968 – September 1968: Services between Kristiansand – Harwich, and Kristiansand – Amsterdam.

October 1968 – May 1969: Cruising from London to the Canary Islands.

May 1969 – September 1969: Services between Kristiansand – Harwich, and Kristiansand – Amsterdam.

October 1969 – May 1970: Cruising from London to the Canary Islands.

May 1970: Fred Olsen & Co, Oslo and Bergenske Dampskipsselskab (BDS), Bergen, Norway joined forces on services from Norway to England and Holland.

May 1970 РSeptember 1970: Services for Det Bergenske D / S between Bergen РStavanger РNewcastle. Renamed VENUS .

October 1970 – May 1971: As BLACK PRINCE cruising from Rotterdam to the Canary Islands.

1971 – 1983: In the summer months as VENUS for Det Bergenske D / S, services between Bergen – Stavanger – Newcastle.

1971 – 1985: As BLACK PRINCE and during the winter season, cruising for Fred Olsen from Rotterdam to the Canary Islands.

May 22nd 1973: Suffered engine failure.

1982 Р1986: Transferred to DFDS who took over responsibility for summer services between Bergen РStavanger РNewcastle. Also Esbjerg РNewcastle.

© Ken Lubi

© Ken Lubi (Tyne, 27/05/1985)

May 3rd 1985 РMay 16th 1985: Chartered to the National Trust, Scotland. Cruise between Leith РNorway РIceland РSt Kilda РArran РGlasgow.

May 16th 1985: Charter to “Glasgow Herald” for a trip from Glasgow to Torquay.

May 22nd 1985: Norway Line between Bergen РNewcastle.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (New Waterway, May 1986)

October 1986 РFebruary 12th 1987: Rebuilt at Oy Wärtsilä Ab, Turku, Finland as a cruise ship.

February 1987: Registered to Vinta Maritime Co Inc, (Fred Olsen & Co), Manila, Philippines.

February 12th 1987: Re-delivered after conversion.

February 28th 1987: Cruising from Southampton to the Mediterranean / North Africa.

© Brian Fisher  © Ken Larwood

© Brian Fisher (Calshot, May 1987)(Left) © Ken Larwood (Right)

May 27th 1989: After a strike by the Filipino crew, transferred to the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS), home port Oslo.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (Tilbury, May 1990)

June 1990: Cruises between Gothenburg – Copenhagen, but the Swedish Maritime Association (also the Danish) strongly protested that Fred Olsen crewed the vessel with underpaid Philippine crew.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Dover)

1990: Transferred to Fred Olsen & Co, Hvitsten, Norway.

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Kiel, 01/05/1999)

January 2001: Transferred to the Bahamas flag with home port Nassau.

© Simonwp

New” ¬© Simonwp (Livorno, 01/09/2002)

2006: Registered for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Pte Ltd, Nassau, Bahamas.

© Ken Smith  © Ken Smith

© Ken Smith (Tilbury, 10/08/2006)

2007: Registered for Black Prince Cruise Limited, Nassau, Bahamas.

May 9th 2009: Sold to Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela CA (SAVECA), Venezuela for delivery in October.

© Ken Smith  © Ken Smith

© Ken Smith (Woolwich, 05/06/2009)

September 9th 2009 – October 11th 2009: Final cruise for Fred Olsen.

November 2009: Renamed PRINCE.

November 2009: Left Southampton for Venezuela.

December 2009: Renamed OLA SMERALDA . It was intended that she would cruise to islands outside Venezuela, but no maritime licence was obtained. It was also intended that she would act as a floating hotel.

January 2010: Chartered out to a Mexican oil company to become a logistics vessel.

2010: Chartered out to the UN as a logistics vessel in Haiti.

© Cees Bustraan  © Cees Bustraan

© Cees Bustraan

© Cees Bustraan (Curacao, 03/09/2011)

October 27th 2012: Arrived at Ozema River, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

April 13th 2013: Transferred to the Panamanian flag.

November 16th 2012: As she did not comply with SOLAS 2010, Ola Cruises ceased operations with her and it was announced that she would be sold.

2013: Sold for scrap.

October 2013: Scrapped at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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: Cees Bustraan, Brian Fisher, Ken Larwood, Ken Lubi, Simonwp and Ken Smith for their assistance in producing this feature.

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


  1. I traveled with my parents in May 1967 onboard Black Prince to the canary islands. Do you have the ships itinary please ?
    Many thanks
    Roberta Beer

    1. Roberta,

      Thanks for the contact but, I have to disappoint you.

      Most Past an Presents are “pocket histories” and all available material is posted on the site.


      Nigel Thornton

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