Turkish ship recyclers are set to finish off one of two cruiseships that UK-based Fred Olsen Cruise Lines sold for use as accommodation ships in September 2020.

The 28,600-gt Boudicca (built 1973) was beached at Aliaga on Wednesday after spending several month laid up in Turkey alongside identical sistership Black Watch (built 1972).

Its demise marks the beginning of the end of a trio of cruiseships ordered by three prominent Norwegian shipowners that collectively operated them under the banner of Royal Viking Line.

Each of the partners — Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab, and AF Klaveness & Co — owned one ship. The Boudicca was built as Nordenfjeldske’s Royal Viking Sky.

The trio was regarded as being at the top of the cruiseship chain when first built. They went on to have extraordinarily long and successful careers under a variety of different owners and, quite remarkably, were all withdrawn from commercial service at the same time.

Had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, they would probably have soldiered on for several more years.

Unfulfilled accommodation role

Fred Olsen offloaded the Boudicca and Black Watch when it was able to purchase two newer, larger ships from Carnival Corp’s Holland America Line brand.

In September, their sale to undisclosed Turkish interests was announced, with the vessels described as heading for new roles as accommodation ships.

They sailed off to Tuzla, but were left anchored off the port until they were laid up at a naval shipyard in Pedik at the end of November.

The identity of the buyers remains unknown, with even the IHS Ships Register and other maritime databases yet to update their listings to reflect their new ownership.

It is unclear whether the Black Watch — built as the Royal Viking Star — will follow the Bouddica onto the beach.

The final ship of the trio — the 28,500-gt Albatros (ex-Royal Viking Sea, built 1973) — was sold last October by German cruise operator Phoenix Reisen to an Egyptian resort company that is currently rebuilding it into a floating hotel in Hurghada.

The Bouddica is the 25th cruiseship sold for recycling since the onset of Covid-19.