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 Costa Europa

Costa Europa was built as Homeric for Home Lines in 1985, at the Meyer-wharf in Papenburg in the north of Germany. The yardnumber under which she was built was 610. It was the first cruiseship that was built by this 6-generation family-owned wharf that launched their first ship, a paddlesteamer under the name Triton, in 1874.  At the time Homeric was launched, at the 28th of september 1985, she was 204,50 meters long with a gross tonnage of 42.092. She was not launched the usual way, but she slided in the water of the Ems river sideways. She still is the biggest cruiseship ever to be launched like this. Her trials started at Boxing Day 1985 and she started cruising in may 1986. At that time, her lenght was 204 meters and her passenger capacity was 1132. Some 468 crewmembers looked after them.

Just two years later, in april 1988 Homeric and Atlantic, the two ships of Home Lines, were sold to Holland America Line. Atlantic was directly chartered to Premier Cruise Lines, but Homeric joined the Holland America fleet in november 1988 as the second Westerdam. Holland America Line itself sold her cruiseships in that same year to Carnival Cruise Lines and became just an investment and holding company without shipping operations. The name Holland America Line remained with Carnival, just as the names of the ships. Westerdam was sent back to Jos L. Meyer's and was lenghtened with a midsection of just under 40 meters, the longest lenghtening untill then undertaken on a cruiseliner. She was now 243,70 meters long, 29,73 meters wide and her draft is 7,20 meters. Her new midsection is easily recognizable because of the larger outside windows than in the older part of the ship. The ships tonnage increased to 53.872 tonns and also the interiours were updated. Also, her passenger capacity changed to 1773, who are served by 642 crewmembers.

In 1996, Dutch shipping enthousiasts were delighted by the fact that Carnival brought the Holland America fleet back to Dutch registry, with the new homeport of Rotterdam. This could be done, because the Dutch government made it more profitable for shippingcompanies to reflag and to restore the once big Dutch merchant fleet. One year later, the ship was used as a decor for the comedy 'Out to Sea', and of course this improved her popularity.

At the end of 2000, Carnival announced the ship would be transferred to Costa Cruises in 2002 to make room for the new Vista-class of ships for Holland America. Her intended name at that time was Costa Homerica. Just before she was transferred, a cruise from Vancouver had to be cancelled on the 12th of september 2001, because of the closed US airspace after the september 11 attacks it was impossible for passengers to come to the ship. On the 27th of april 2002 the former Westerdam joined Costa Cruises as Costa Europa dediceted to the European market. Her new homeport was the traitional Costa homeport of Genoa, the big Italian harbourcity of where the former glorious Italian liners departed. Ironicly, she visited Holland more often as an Italian-flagged ship then she did as a Dutch ship in her first years, when she started sailing summercruises out of Amsterdam. Replaced by the bigger Costa Atlantica from 2006 onwards, she was transferred to Mediterranean cruises that year.

Just before the ship was chartered out to Thomson Holidays as Thomson Dream from april 2010 onwards, she was involved in a serious accident in Egypt. At the 26th of february, the ship collided violently with a pier in the port of Sharm el-Sheikh. Two crewmembers died and four passengers were seriously injured. A very sad ending for a fine ship in her carreer for Costa Cruises.

In the Thomson fleet, Thomson Dream met her former Holland America Line fleetmates Noordam (Thomson Celebration) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Thomson Spirit). The only thing Thomson has to do to create the Holland America fleet of the late 1980's is bring back the Rotterdam of 1959 back into service...

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