MS Regal Empress (former Olympia, Caribe I) is a vintage ocean liner constructed in 1953. She is now owned by Imperial Majesty Cruises and operates on two night cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Nassau and back.
The first and only ship built for the Greek Line was initially named Olympia. The Olympia was completed by Alexander Stephen & Sons, on the River Clyde, in 1953. She was initially measured at , and carried 138 First Class, and 1169 Tourist Class passengers. She was registered in Liberia. Parsons turbines of 25000shp drove her at a service speed of 21 knots (23 knots maximum). The maiden voyage left Glasgow for Liverpool and New York on October 20 1953. Her first voyage on the intended route from Piraeus to New York did not take place until March 1955 due to legal complications. In 1961, the route was extended to Haifa, Israel. In 1968, Olympia was registered in Greece, and spent more time cruising, this becoming her exclusive occupation in 1970. By this time she had been re-measured at . She was laid up at Piraeus in 1974, and the Greek Line suffered financial collapse the following year. In 1981, the Olympia was bought by Sally Shipping and refitted, with diesels replacing the steam turbines. She returned to cruising as the Caribe I in 1983, in the Commodore Cruise Line fleet. The elegant funnel had been replaced by exhaust pipes and a ludicrous framework design. Happily, this was later replaced by a more traditional funnel, though lacking the style of the original. In 1993 she was sold to Regal Cruises and renamed Regal Empress, and began sailing out of Port Manatee in the winters and New York City during the summers. She is now described as being only .
Following the collapse of Regal Cruises, the Regal Empress was purchased by Imperial Majesty Cruises for their two-night cruise service to The Bahamas, the Regal Empress being cheaper to operate and carrying more passengers than their own ship OceanBreeze.
In 2010, she will be taken out of service as new SOLAS regulations come into effect.
In September of 2008, the Regal Empress was removed from service to be used as an aid in the recovery of the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. She is currently laid up in Texas. She will be out of service until further notice.
The Regal Empress is the oldest passenger liner still operating in North America.
The Regal Empress was used as the set for nearly half of the principal filming of the comedic full-length film Sea Legs Sea Legs was written and directed by seasoned director/writer/producer Bob Cook and was filmed in 2002 on the cruise operated by Regal Cruises from Port Manatee, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico.
For 85 photographs of the ship's interior, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/90781590@N00/sets/72157594555811322/