invites you
to Nassau Bahama and Fort Lauderdale
onboard Ocean Breeze and at The Pillars Fort Lauderdale.

Imagine a 3 day 2 night Nassau Bahamas cruise plus
2 days, 1 nights at the Pillars for as little as $292 per person

Call for your place in the sun

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S.S. OceanBreeze History

The S.S. OceanBreeze has a unique place in maritime history.  It has achieved a number of  “Firsts” that give it this venerable distinction. 

Originally named the Southern Cross, the S.S OceanBreeze was the first passenger ship to have her engine and funnel at the aft, or rear, of the vessel.  It was also the first passenger ship to be launched by a reigning monarch, England’s Queen Elizabeth II on August 17, 1954. 

At the end of World War II, thousands of people in England were looking for a location to build a new life that offered a better economy and climate than that of England.  Many decided New Zealand and Australia were good choices; however, the only way to get there was by ship.

With so many people wanting to emigrate, and so many of the wartime ships destroyed, Shaw Savill, one of the leading shipping lines at the time, decided to build a new passenger ship that would be revolutionary in design and concept.  Prior to this, all passenger ships had carried cargo to ensure a profit for the cruise lines, but this new luxury liner would not, which allowed the vessel to depart and arrive at ports on schedule.  The passengers would be all one class and most unusual of all, the ship would have her engines at the stern, along with her funnel.  Basil Sanderson, then chairman of Shaw Savill ran into a great deal of opposition with his ideas, since no other passenger ship had ever been designed like this one.  Sanderson felt that this design would provide its passengers with larger main areas, as well as bigger lounges and promenade decks that would make a long voyage a much more enjoyable experience. Eventually all objections were overcome and on January 28, 1953 in Belfast, work began on keel number 1498.

Because she would be making the run to Australia and New Zealand, Sanderson wanted a name that would reflect this aspect of her voyages.  He also began wondering who would christen her.  Reigning English monarchy had only launched aircraft carriers and battleships, never a passenger liner. Sanderson sent Queen Elizabeth II a list of three possible names for the liner and asked, in the same letter, if she would consent to launch the ship.  Sanderson and the entire line were overjoyed at hearing the Queen would not only christen their ship, but she had chosen the name Southern Cross.

On the day of launching, rain was pouring down and the Queen, who was in Scotland, wondered if she’d be able to attend.  Scheduled launch was set for 1:15pm and although the Queen’s plane had left Scotland, it was already late due to weather.  The blocks holding the ship in place had already been knocked away and if the Queen did not arrive on time the ship would slide into the water without her. Advised of the problem, the Queen instructed her driver to drive considerably faster through the stretch of Belfast and she arrived on the docks on schedule - which obviously made a very concerned and worried group of senior officials breathe a deep sigh of relief.

After years of successful cruising, several things happened that changed both her course and lifestyle.  Jumbo jets, capable of carrying hundreds of people, began to invade worldwide transportation.  Passenger loads had declined until the line decided that their pride and joy would have to be taken out of service on April 25,1972. She was sold to a Greek Company in 1973, and after a three year, $16m conversion, the newly named Calypso sailed around the Mediterranean and to other European posts.

Years later, on January 6, 1980, the Calypso began successful seven nights cruises to the Caribbean.  In the spring of 1980 she crossed the Panama Canal and had a successful season of seven-night cruises to Alaska.

On September 29, 1980 she was sold to the Gotaas Larsen Group of Companies of Bermuda, who sailed her under the name S.S. Azure Seas until May of 1992.  At this time, Dolphin Cruise Lines purchased our classic ship.  After extensive renovations, she was renamed S.S. OceanBreeze and homeported in Aruba, sailing to the Southern Caribbean and the Panama Canal on seven night itineraries.

Dolphin Cruise Lines was acquired by Premier Cruises in 1997. Premier Cruises later chartered the S.S. OceanBreeze to Imperial Majesty Cruise Line. The S.S. OceanBreeze sailed her inaugural cruise under Imperial Majesty Cruise Line on January 11, 1999, as South Florida’s only two-night cruise to the Bahamas.  Imperial Majesty has maintained strong bookings and high standards of passenger satisfaction. 

Drawing on the great success of this program, Imperial Majesty purchased the S.S. OceanBreeze on May 20, 2000.  In September 2000, the vessel was sent for a grand refurbishment to restore the original splendor of this great, classic ship and add a modern, tropical ambiance.   The S.S. OceanBreeze returned to her regular Pt. Everglades-Bahamas itinerary with the well wishes of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as her regrets for being unable to re-christen the vessel. 

Today, this magnificent ship, rich in history and Maritime Firsts, continues its legacy.  Imperial Majesty Cruise Line is proud to have the S.S. OceanBreeze as the First ship in our fleet, First in South Florida to sail on this successful itinerary and, we hope, First and best in our passengers’ cruise experiences