M 701 - RMS Caronia

RMS Caronia - M701

This is the Tri-ang Minic Ships model of RMS Caronia which followed a new direction for Cunard being designed exclusively for cruising rather than general passenger service. She was built by John Brown & Company and, as the largest ship built post Second World War, there was much ceremony at her launch which was performed by the then Princess Elizabeth on 30th October 1947.

RMS Caronia had a very distinctive profile with a clipper bow, cruiser stern, a large single funnel and a single tripod mast. She was fitted with extensive lido decks and was the first Cunard ship to have a permanent outdoor swimming pool. She was also equipped with six 45 ft launches which were used for conducting passengers on shore excursions in remote cruise locations.

In a departure from Cunard tradition RMS Caronia was painted in a livery of four different shades of green, rather than the black and white of other Cunard ships, a colour scheme that earned her the nickname "Green Goddess".

RMS Caronia was a popular ship with a loyal following of wealthy passengers and an incredible crew to passenger ratio of nearly one to one. The luxurious service on the ship was such that several passengers opted to live onboard all year round. The ship's most loyal passenger was Mrs. Clara MacBeth who lived aboard for 15 years and spent approximately $20 million in fares.

RMS Caronia's cruise schedule saw her on a World Cruise or making a loop around Africa in January. She would then conduct voyages to the Mediterranean and Black Sea in the spring, followed by cruises to Scandinavia and on the Atlantic during the summer and finally Caribbean cruises during the autumn.

Although her high operating costs kept her from ever making a profit RMS Caronia continued in service until 1967 when Cunard finally decided to retire her together with RMS Queen Mary. RMS Caronia sailed her final voyage from New York to Southampton in November 1967.

RMS Caronia was eventually sold to Star Shipping and was renamed Caribia in 1968 however her career was short lived with an engine room explosion on her second voyage, which killed one of the crew, effectively removing her from service in 1969. She was towed back to New York and where she was laid up until eventually sold for scrape in 1974.

On 12th August 1974 while under tow to Taiwan the tug Hamburg developed mechanical problems during heavy weather caused by a typhoon and cut the tow three miles from Apra Harbour on Guam. RMS Caronia drifted toward the harbour entrance where she struck the breakwater. Lashed by the fierce storm RMS Caronia subsequently heeled over, broke into three pieces and sank.

The wreck was quickly broken up by US Navy diving teams because the bow section was blocking the entrance to the harbour.


Owner: Cunard White Star Line
Builder: John Brown & Co., Glasgow
Launched: 30th October 1947
Displacement: 34183 tons
Length (OA): 678 ft 6 in ( 206.8 m )
Beam: 91 ft 5 in ( 27.85 m )
Propulsion: Single and Double Reduction Geared steam turbines, 2 shafts, 35,000 shp
Maximum Speed: 22 Knots
Crew: 600
Passenger Accommodation: 581 - 1st Class
351 - Cabin Class
Disposal / Demise: May 1968 sold to Universal Line and renamed Columbia - later Caribia
14th August 1974 - broke up at Apra Harbour, Guam while under tow to Kaohsiung, Taiwan for scrapping

Further details can be obtained from the following linkss -
Cunard Fleet Search Engine http://www.cunard.com/AboutCunard/default.asp?Active=Heritage&Sub=Fleet
Royal Regals Web Site http://www.bryking.com/caronia/caronia2.html
Great Ships Web Site http://www.greatships.net/caronia2.html