Due to new SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations being enforced in autumn 2010, she will no longer be able to continue in service, largely because her interiors are almost entirely lined in hardwood veneer - all crafted by Clydebank's excellent shipyard joiners. Generally, the Mona Lisa remains in superb condition for a vessel of her age and her inboard spaces are a fascinating reminder of liner travel as it once was. Indeed, she is now the last of her kind.
I first sailed on Mona Lisa in August 2009. One day, a very strong Westerly was encountered in the Channel and, being a deep-drafted trans-Atlantic liner, the Mona Lisa handled the big waves remarkably well. The wind on her starboard side gave her a list to port, which she maintained all day until we reached the shelter of the Cherbourg Pensinsula. It was a wonderful experience.
Leaving Rosyth in late-August 2009, during her previous visit.
The two side lounges, located port and starboard, give panoramic views.
The stairwells are outstanding with their neat balustrades and marquetry inlays on the bulkheads.
The dining saloons are also remarkably intact - and boast outstanding joinery.
The builders' plate, mounted on the forward superstructure
A delightful Greek detail on the bridge and, finally, a cabin corridor: there is so much sheer that, when viewed from one end, the floor disappears into the deckhead.
Leaving Rosyth and heading under the Forth Bridges
The story of the Kungsholm and her long career for various owners will shortly be told in a splendid new book, being written by my good friend in Munich, Hr Burkhard Schutt. Not only is Burkhard an excellent maritime historian, but also a very talented model-maker. His website http://www.risawoleska.de/ features his highly detailed 1:1250 waterline ship models - every one a hand-crafted masterpiece.
My good friend, Ann Haynes, has also been Kungsholming of late. Ann and colleagues once chartered the ship to make a round-Africa voyage to commemorate the centenary of the Union-Castle Line (she's indefatigable). Now, she has written an article about the liner's history for the Ferry and Cruise Annual 2011. This will be published in the autumn by Ferry Publications. See http://www.ferrypubs.co.uk/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=512. As if that was not enough, Ann also has an entertaining blog about passenger shipping matters: haynesworld-u-cdolly.blogspot.com/