The Fun Archaeology



Vicking Princess

Album of a dramatic cruise off Cuba, entitled “Croisière, 1963,” measuring 23,5 x 31 cm.
Vintage gelatin prints and handwritten notes. The cover shows a vintage color photograph of the Viking Princess ship. The picture has been burned with a lighter.
Fifty-one black-and-white photos and five colored photos depict a family enjoying a vacation on a cruise ship. A newspaper article that reads “481 tourists and sailors evacuate from a boat (Norwegian) on fire off Cuba, 3 dead and 10 missing,” is glued to the rear cover of the album
The Lavoisier ship was built in 1950 by the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire in St Nazaire, France. Its volume was 11,900 grt, and it sailed from Le Havre to Latin America carrying 324 passengers in two classes. It was sold in 1961 to Italian buyers, rebranded as a cruise ship, the Riviera Prima, and entered service in November 1962, chartered to the Caribbean Cruise Line, a single ship operation. The Riviera Prima was used on two to 14-day cruises from East Coast U.S. ports, including New York, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Miami. It was said to be the first Italian ship exclusively devoted to cruise service. In the summer of 1964, Caribbean Cruise Line suddenly collapsed and the Riviera Prima was sold to Norwegian owners. Renamed Viking Princess, the ship continued cruising around the Caribbean, under Flagship Lines, until April 8, 1966, when it caught fire just off Cuba. Two passengers were lost in the blaze, and the ship’s remains were scrapped in Bilbao, Spain.