Originally launched by Renaissance Cruises, the R Class ships are a fleet of eight vessels that were launched between the late 90s to the early 2000s. The fleet was initially operated by the cruise company until its collapse in the cruise industry, post which, these vessels were sold to other cruise companies for further usage.
All the eight vessels of the R Class fleet were designed with similar dimensions and passenger carrying capacity, making them singular and unique while being a part of a fleet.
R One: The very first R Class ship to be launched was the R One – in the year 1998. The vessel was built in the French shipyard of St. Nazaire. The vessel’s name was subsequently changed from R One to Insignia after it was engaged by the cruise company Oceania.
The cruise ship is expected to undergo yet another renaming as Columbus 2, as it begins operations under a Hapag-Lloyd lease for a period of two years starting from 2012.
R Two: R Two or as it’s now known, MS Regatta, was also launched by the cruise company in 1998 in the month of November. Having a passenger capacitance of 684 passengers and a crew capacitance of 386, the vessel was originally called Insignia when it was offered on a charter to the cruise company Oceania. Later on the ship underwent a change of name as the name Insignia was transferred to the R One.
R Three: The third vessel, R Three was built in the year 1999. After the financial collapse of the Renaissance cruise company, the conglomerate Princess Cruises chartered the vessel and changed its name to its current one – Pacific Princess. In the year 2004, Oceania Cruise Company bought the vessel after its charter contract was officially completed.
R Four: It was launched in the year 1999 and like her sister cruise vessel R Three, was chartered by the cruise company Princess Cruises. Post the completion of the charter time period, the company purchased the vessel and officially changed its name to the Tahitian Princess. Its operational route includes French Polynesia, Cook Islands and Hawaii. In the year 2009, to present the vessel from a more global standpoint, its name was once again changed to the Ocean Princess.
R Five: The fifth of the R Class ships, the R Five was chartered by the cruise company Pullmantur, after the financial ruin of her original owners and operators. In the year 2005, she was bought by the cruise conglomerate Oceania and eventually had her name changed to Nautica.
R Six: This was the sixth vessel to be put into operation under the R Class category.
The cruise company Pullmantur held the operations of the vessel, accordingly renaming her as Blue Dawn in the year 2005. At present, the vessel is operated by the cruise company Azamara under the name Azamara Journey.
R Seven: Azamara Quest or as it was previously known is the seventh R Class vessel. Post the debacle of the Renaissance Company, the vessel changed operators twice before finally sailing under the operational control of the cruise company Azamara.
R Eight: The final vessel under the R Class cruise ships is the R Eight. At present, the vessel is operated by the cruise conglomerate P&O under the name of Adonia. Prior to this operational duty, the vessel was a part of the fleet of the cruise conglomerate Carnival Cruises under the name of Princess Cruises.
The R Class cruise ships were a marvel of their time. If not for the unexpected shutting of the enterprise of the vessels’ original operators, these vessels would have still graced the marine world in all their original splendour and regality.