FRIDAY, APRIL 27: The cruise liner Sea Venture left an indelible mark on the lives of many islanders while she sailed into Bermuda.
And although she only made the journey between New York and Bermuda for a few years, the ship and her crew caught the country’s imagination with the happy environment on board and the community work on the island.
Those who knew the ship best will remember her for coming to the rescue of the QE2 when her engines failed off Bermuda and transporting every last passenger back to land.
They say the Sea Venture engaged with the Bermudian public in a way which few ships have done since by allowing people with disabilities to take their first trip off the island on board for free.
The news that the iconic vessel, which later became known as the Love Boat, has recently been sold for scrap in Europe, came as a surprise to most islanders who had lost track of her movements.
But her destruction will signal the end of a golden and unique era in Bermudian history.
Russell Southern was the island’s Harbour Master when the Sea Venture started to visit Bermuda.
He and his wife, Jennifer, were regular visitors on board the ship and got to know captain Erik Bjurstedt and Staff Captain Torbjorn Hauge well during their time in Bermuda.
Mrs Southern also helped to arrange for islanders with disabilities to go on the ship and travel to New York and back.
Mr Southern said: “I always felt the Sea Venture was a happy ship.
“She was one of the ships that really connected with Bermuda the most.
“Everyone loved her crew and we became very good friends with the captain and the staff captain. We are still in touch with them to this day.
“The crew really got involved in the community here and the ship itself was in a league of its own.”
Mrs Southern added: “It is so sad that she has been sold for scrap.
“She’s a lovely old ship with so many happy memories for lots of people in Bermuda.
“The crew were always so happy to help people in Bermuda.
“And for some of the people with disabilities that got to travel on board of her, it was the first time they had ever been off the island.”
‘Than’ Butterfield, who worked as operations manager for Watlington and Conyers, was the agent for the ship and greeted the Sea Venture and her skipper every time she arrived in Bermuda.
He also joined the ship on its maiden voyage back from Bermuda to New York.
Mr Butterfield said: “The ship was quite beautiful and very luxurious inside.
“It was a more modern style of ship than we were used to in Bermuda. She had all the mod cons.
“It was quite a coup for Bermuda in those days to get a ship like the Sea Venture coming in every week.
“I was the boarding officer and would make sure the captain had everything he needed when he arrived in Hamilton.
“She was quite a ship and a part of our history.
“It does not surprise me that the ship has been sold for scrap.
“But it is a sad day for the many people in Bermuda that have happy memories of the ship and its crew.
“It was wonderful to sail in her. We were treated like royalty.”
Pilot Harold Millet helped bring the Sea Venture into Bermuda on her maiden trip to the island in 1971.
He told the Sun: “I brought her in countless times over the years.
“Her steering capacity was superb and she was super sensitive.
“She was ahead of her time in many ways and a one-off in those days.
“She had this glorious balcony and beautiful interior.
“I remember on one voyage it was too rough at sea for me to get off her so I ended up going all the way to New York and having a little holiday.
“She was a great ship and I am lucky to have piloted her.
“It is unfortunate that she is nearing the end of her life, but they say that old boats become our razor blades and that may be the case with her.”
Former Mayor of St George Henry Hayward also has many fond memories of the ship.
“When the Sea Venture first started coming to Bermuda it did cause quite a stir on the island.
“I was lucky enough to get invited on board several times for parties and it was a first class ship.
“She was quite a big part of the year for Bermuda.
“It is a shame that she will end her days as scrap especially as it is the sort of size that could still get into St Georges.
“A little bit of Bermuda will disappear with the end of that ship.”