Built as the ALTE LIEBE by Schlichting Werft, Travemünde, for HADAG of Hamburg, Germany in 1959 the coastal excursion vessel was intended to operate day excursions to Cuxhaven and Heligoland. She was renamed ORESTAD in 1962 to operate on the Copenhagen to Malmo service under charter to Centrumlinjen. In 1964 she transferred to a Trelleborg-Copenhagen route. During 1971-72 she ran between Sönderborg-Eckernförde and Malmö-Copenhagen for Skanfahrts.
In 1973 the ship was bought by KG Seetouristik GmbH & Co, Lübeck, and given the name BALTICA I (later Baltica). In 1977 she was was sold to Förde-Reederei GmbH, Flensburg, and renamed HABICHT II. She was used on "butter boat" sailings on the Baltic coast of Germany, but was chartered to Öresundsbolaget in the summer of 1978 for Malmö-Copenhagen service. In 1993 ownership was transferred to the combined Förde Reederei Seetouristik, but she was laid up in 1994. She arrived on Merseyside in 1995 under the ownership of Liverpool based Bridgwater Leisure and was renamed PRINCESS ROYAL carrying Jamaica registry.
Over the years there have been various plans for the vessel including proposals in the 1990s to operate coast excursions from Liverpool to Llandudno and Menai Bridge. She was dry docked in the Clarence Graving Docks for some attention prior to their closure in the mid naughties. During her time at Liverpool Docks she has migrated from Sandon, to Huskission #1, back to Sandon and during the last few years has lain outside of Canada Graving Dock.
During the period 2008 to 2011, Canada Graving Dock had been operated by Leavesley International as a ship recycling site dismantling three RFA vessels. This led to speculation that PRINCESS ROYAL might follow the RFA vessels. However, an announcement on the Leavesley web site indicates that ship recycling at Canada Dry Dock has ended.
The photographs above were taken on October 01, 2011 and as can be seen the condition of the vessel is deteriorating. In the third photograph can be seen the Good Year Airship SPIRIT OF SAFETY I. How much longer can she last? She has now lain in Liverpool Docks for 16 years.