The Ropax vessel 'Bonanza' was built in 1972 for Fred. Olsen Lines. In 1983, the vessel passed the 3 million passenger mark. 'Bonanza' is one of several vessels built at Ulstein for passenger transport.
Through the 1960s to the 1990s, Ulstein Verft sporadically built vessels for recreational purposes.
The first of these assignments was the conversion of the coastal ferry 'Romsdal', owned by MRF, to the passenger ship 'Grand Bahama' in 1963 (photo below). It was the yard's largest and most complicated task. The vessel was originally classed for coastal traffic, and needed an upgrade for use in open waters. After the work commenced, it became evident that the main engine also needed replacement.
'Bonanza' is built as yard number 64 from Ulstein mek. Verksted A/S. With a length of 95 m and a beam of 16.2 m, she had a deadweight of 2,400 tonnes and could keep a speed of 19 knots. She was classed as a passenger/roro ferry (Ropax vessel), and was able to transport a total of 750 passengers.
As for her sister vessel Buenavista, the Bonanza was also built to serve the route Kristiansand (Norway) to Hirtshals (Denmark) in the summer period, and the Canary Islands to Europe in the winter season. However, the Bonanza newbuild was instead chartered to serve the route Norrtälje (Sweden) to Åland (Finland).
In 1980, the vessel changed name to 'Benchijigua', and was set to service the route Tenerife - La Gomera. During December 1983, the vessel shipped passenger number 3 million.
Ulstein has later built other vessels for passenger transport. In 1982, Ulstein built the coastal speed ferry 'Midnatsol' for TFDS, and in 1996 a second vessel of this type, the 'Polarlys' for the same shipowner. In 1990, Ulstein built the 'Polar Circle'. The combined passenger vessel/research vessel entered the cruise traffic in January 1991, going to polar areas from Chile. The shipyard was later awarded the 'Outstanding Oceangoing Shipbuilder Award 1991' for the construction of this vessel.
Ulstein is again to design or construct vessels within the passenger / transport segments, and are contracted for Expedition Cruise vessels, yachts and Ropax vessels.