In June 1934 the Nazi Kraft durch Freude (KdF) organisation started operating tourist cruises, chartering German vessels. Dresden (ex-Zeppelin) sailed on her ﬁrst KdF cruise on 11th June 1934, to Hardangerfjord. Because of heavy fog, the captain settled for a trip in Ryfylkefjords instead. Off Stavanger, Dresden picked up two local pilots. She was southbound when, on 20th June 1934, she struck a rock off Kopervik on the Norwegian island of Karmøy. She was able to back away from the rock, but was taking in water, and developed a list to port. However, she was sinking fast and he was forced to beach near Blikshavn on Karmøy.
He ordered abandon ship, but as the ﬁrst lifeboat was lowered into the water it capsized, throwing the occupants into the water and three women drowned. There was a fourth fatality during the evacuation, but the remainder of the crew of 323 and 975 passengers were saved. Around 500 were rescued by Captain Pallesen, who had brought Kronprinsesse Martha alongside. Other vessels soon arrived. The following day Dresden rolled onto her port side and sank, leaving only her starboard side visible. Salvage was impossible, and shipwreckers Brødrene Anda from Stavanger and a company from Grimstad bought the rights to salvage the scrap metal.