Cruise Yacht Ponce De Leon Now Being Built At Marine Fabricators For Florida Gulf Coast Corporation

The cruise yacht Ponce de Leon, the first ocean-class passenger vessel built in the United States in more than 30 years, is now under construction in the Marine Fabricators Inc. shipyard, approximately 30 miles south of Jacksonville, Fla., on the Saint John's River. The vessel is being built for the Florida Gulf Coast Corporation of Fort Meyers Beach, Fla., and is scheduled for completion in 1986.

The Ponce de Leon will have a length overall of 221 feet, beam of 44 feet, depth of 15 feet, and a design draft of 9 feet. She will be powered by two Caterpillar 3512 TA engines, each 1,165 bhp at 1,600 rpm. Other propulsion equipment includes two Caterpillar reverse geai;s, two main generators driven by a Caterpillar engine; one emergency generator driven by a Caterpillar engine; and Bird-Johnson bowthruster driven by a Caterpillar diesel, delivering 5,000 pounds of thrust. The anchor windlass will be McElroy Electric Double Wildcat for l'/2-inch chain and 3,000-pound anchors.

According to Robert G. O'Connor, president of Florida Gulf Coast Corporation, when the Ponce de Leon is completed in 1986 she will provide her 148 passengers with the amenities of a luxury liner and the ambience of a private yacht. The vessel's 4,200-mile range will allow the capability of crossing oceans, while her shallow draft will enable her to visit islands and ports that are inaccessible to larger cruise ships.

Guest accommodations will span five decks and include 42 suites, 10 staterooms, four deluxe suites and a Presidential suite.

According to Florida Gulf Coast Corporation, the Ponce de Leon will offer varied itineraries and will include cruise adventures in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, and the eastern United States and Canada.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 30,  Aug 1985 Michigan

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