Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced it will retire its vessel Black Prince in October 2009. The 441-passenger ship, which was built for the company by Flender Werft in Lubeck in 1966, will operate a series of four Farewell Cruises starting on September 9, 2009 from Liverpool, and ending on October 16, 2009 in Southampton.

When Black Prince entered service for Fred. Olsen Ltd on October 19, 1966, it was in the role of a joint passenger/freight ferry operating between the UK and the Canary islands in the winter, and the UK and Norway in the summer. The ship was converted to a full-time cruise ship in 1987 and from February of that year became a key player in the cruising market in the UK.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines managing director Mike Rodwell said: "This is a very sad announcement for the company to make as Black Prince is one of the best loved ships that cater to the UK market, and many passengers have cruised on her so often that even they have lost track of the number of holidays they have taken. We know that there will be thousands of passengers who have sailed on her who will be very sad on that final day."

Black Prince's Farewell Season will begin on September 9, 2009 with a ten-night Around the UK cruise from Liverpool, then a three-night mini cruise from Liverpool to Southampton. The season continues with a ten-night Historic Home Ports cruise from Southampton back to Southampton; followed by her final cruise of 14 nights to the Canary Islands. The ship returns to Southampton on Friday October 16, 2009.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines currently operates a fleet of five ships on worldwide itineraries of varying lengths.