Posted by: travelrat | July 25, 2012

The Cruise of the ‘Calgaric’

Picture courtesy of Norway Heritage (

In 1927, the White Star shipping line bought a 16000 ton ship called the Orca. She had to be renamed, since the policy of the line was that all their ships had names ending in –‘-ic’ (notably Titanic’). Since she was used mainly on the Liverpool-Montreal route, it was thought that maybe the name of a Canadian city might be appropriate. But, ‘Montrealic’ or ‘Torontoic’ didn’t sound right, so they settled on … Calgaric.

Towards the end of her service, she was withdrawn from this line, and used for general cruising. Probably the best-documented cruise was one she made around the Baltic Sea in 1933, with Lord and Lady Baden-Powell aboard, leading a party of Scouts and Guides, on a ‘peace mission’.

One of her last cruises was to the Norwegian fjords in the early 1930s, with a young lady named Frances on board. Her father had paid for the trip as a reward for her recent graduation from teacher training college, and it was the first time she had been out of the country.

She had a book; she had either bought it from the ship’s shop, or been given it by the White Star line. It gave information on the ship, and details of the cruise, but, more importantly, there was plenty of space for Frances to keep her journal. She made copious notes, and stuck in it her photographs, sketches and tickets.

A quarter of a century later, she brought the book in, to show her class of nine-year-olds, who were learning about Norway. Our first impression (yes, I was one of those kids!) was that ‘Old Fanny’ was quite a looker when she was younger! But, one or two of us were so impressed that we said this was something we must do one day.

Well, for me, that ‘one day’ has finally arrived! The ‘Norwegian Fjords/Northern Lights’ cruise has been booked, leaving Bristol in mid-March. Not on the Calgaric, of course … that was broken up in 1935. Our ship is called the Ocean Countess. You will hear all about it in due course … and, if we see the Northern Lights, you will probably hear too much about them.

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