It has only been a couple of weeks since the former Royal Caribbean ship Sovereign of the Seas arrived at the shipyard in Aliaga, Turkey scrapyard, already, workers are beginning the process of deconstructing what remains of the legendary vessel.
Once the largest ship in the world, Sovereign of the Seas now lays helpless on the shore of Western Turkey, slowly being dissected and hauled away, piece by piece.
Via these exclusive photos, we got one final chance to walk the halls of the ship after it was beached.
The Centrum was the beating heart of the ship. It’s where guests could take the stairs or glass elevators to access the photo gallery, guest relations, the shore excursion area, and it was here you could find the always-buzzing centrum bar.
These photos capture the kind of emptiness you would normally only find if wandering around a ship at 3 a.m. The empty corridors, devoid of guests or crew, are simultaneously depressing (because we’ll never walk this hallway again) and fascinating (as they capture a bit of cruise history).
The shopping center on deck 5 is where you could purchase your duty-free alcohol, a $20 bottle of NyQuil, gold by the inch, and souvenirs to take home to your loved ones.
Once filled with smiling salespeople and bargain-hunting cruisers, the doors are now closed forever, the shelves empty.
The disco on deck 6 aft was where good times were had by all. Drinks were poured, laughs were shared, dances were done (and sometimes caught on camera!).
READ MORE: Final Look — Monarch of the Seas
During the ship’s days in the Royal Caribbean fleet, this is also where things got a little bit crazy during the after-dark, adult-only Quest game show.
If you were there, you know. If you weren’t… well, let’s just say if those chairs could talk, you’d have to burn them to protect the guilty.
Whether guests spent their mornings walking the track on deck three or were forced to go outside on embarkation day for the dreaded safety drill, what was once the main thoroughfare is now lined with empty lifeboats.
The view is no longer of the ocean, but of her sister ship, Royal Caribbean’s former Monarch of the Seas.
Couple massages, hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy, whatever relaxation you were looking for could be found onboard. Once upon a time, smiling therapists worked hard to take your stress away (and maybe do a little upselling!).
High above the ship was a space once known as The Viking Crown Lounge, an iconic area both known and loved by Royal Caribbean cruisers.
The bar which often doubled as a live music venue was the perfect place to catch a sunset, a sail away, or a pre-dinner cocktail. And just outside the window is a rather familiar site: A Carnival cruise ship funnel, topping yet another ship which has wound up facing this sad fate.
In fact, there’s not one but two Carnival ships beached nearby: The Carnival Inspiration and the Carnival Fantasy, sitting on Sovereign‘s port side. We can’t help wishing that instead of waiting to be destroyed, the ships were all docked side-by-side in Nassau, waiting for us to come back from a day exploring.
Once filled with screaming kids and guests complaining about them, the pool deck now sits empty. If you listen closely you can hear the live DJ spinning tunes poolside and the occasional child yelling, “MOM! Watch this!”
The poolside bar is where memories were made, and, after a few too many piña coladas, sometimes forgotten. This was the place to be after dinner on a warm, Caribbean evening. Drinks served in a coconut, Corona (with lime) and frozen concoctions kept everyone in the right frame of mind.
From the upper decks, if you wanted to watch the action as opposed to being caught up in the middle of it, you could look down at (never on) your fellow cruisers dancing the night away or simply basking in their happy place. (And no, you’re not seeing double. That’s two ships parked next to each other!)
Many cruise lines have said that buffets as we’ve known them will be a thing of the past. When the ship sailed for Royal Caribbean, the Windjammer Cafe was the perfect alternative to the dining room, and also great for a grab-and-go snack to munch on between meals.
READ MORE: A Look Back at Sovereign of the Seas
The Windjammer currently may now sit empty, but on the plus side, no one is judging you for taking that extra burger or one more carving of roasted turkey.
The mast onboard sat proudly above the sea, and keeping the ship and those who sailed upon her safe.
Oftentimes, and without guests being aware of its true purpose, it helped steer them clear of inclement weather or distanced them from other ships nearby.
Already, workers are dismantling the ship which once proudly held the title of “World’s Largest Cruise Ship.”
Before long, this thing of beauty will have been reduced to what amounts to scrap metal. Bits and pieces of her will wind up being sent around the world.
But for the millions who had the pleasure of cruising the seven seas onboard Sovereign of the Seas, the memories will last forever.
All photos courtesy of NauticaGoods.com.