Santa Rosa/Santa Paula

Originally a British company, Grace & Co. originally specialized in operating ships in the traffic to the west coast of South America; then expanded into the Caribbean. 

Grace eventually put its fleet of passenger and cargo ships under the U.S.-flag. 

At its peak, the Grace Line was a major force in American merchant shipping. 

Following World War II, the company operated a fleet of 23 freighters and passenger liners totaling 188,000 gross tons, plus an additional 14 more on bareboat charters.

In 1956, the company decided to replace a pair of its older liners with two ships designed by the iconic naval architectural firm of Gibbs & Cox of New York. 

The two new, gray-hulled liners – Santa Rosa and Santa Paula – were built by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. with Santa Rosa delivered in 1958 and Santa Paula soon after. 

Measuring 15,371 tons, the 584-feet twins were equipped with D.R. geared turbine steam engines that powered twin screws at a maximum service speed of 20 knots. 

Gyrofin stabilizers were fitted to improve stability and air conditioning was available in all compartments. 

Passenger staterooms were also paneled with aluminum as a fireproofing measure.

Each of the ships also featured advanced cargo-handling gear with two of their four holds fitted with extended automatic conveyors for palletized cargo.

The pair could accommodate 300 passengers on Grace’s 13-day sailings linking New York with Curacao, La Guira, Aruba, Kingston, and Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

In 1969, Grace sold off its shipping interests with the two liners being laid up at Hampton Roads, Va., never to sail under the U.S. flag again. 

Santa Rosa remained in lay-up for 20 years before being sold for conversion into a cruise ship to sail for Greek and Maltese interests. 

The ship, refurbished at a cost of $70 million and finally renamed Regent Rainbow, operated under charter, and was finally laid up and placed on the market in 2010 after plans to move the ship to Asia to serve as an accommodation ship fell through. 

The last record of the ex-Santa Rosa shows her going to the scrapyard two years later.

Santa Paula was eventually sold to Greek and later Kuwaiti interests who converted the ship into a stationary hotel. Renamed Kuwait Mariott Hotel, the ship was destroyed in an attack by Iraq during that country’s 1991 invasion of Kuwait.