The smallest unit in the MSC Cruises fleet, Melody (1982/35,143gt), has been sold after spending almost a year laid up. Her new owner is Sahara India Pariwar, a multinational group involved in finance, leisure, hotels, construction, property and industrial activities. This appears to be first ship to be owned by the company, but it seems unlikely that her future is destined to be in the Indian cruise market, as the corporate structure lends itself more towards Melody, now renamed Qing, being used in an accommodation role, either for workers or as a hotel. Sahara India Pariwar has controlling interests in New York’s Plaza Hotel and the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Melody was built as Atlantic, the second new ship for Home Lines, at La Seyne in France. Her time with Home Lines was quite short, as that company was acquired by Holland America Line in 1988 and Atlantic was not required.
She went to Premier Cruise Line, becoming Starship Atlantic, and was later sold, in 1997, to MSC Cruises, becoming the largest unit in that company’s small fleet. But she was an oddity in a growing fleet of large ships, and never got the MSC prefix added.