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Cruise & Maritime: Return to the UK for Azores
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 00:00

Azores will join the CMV fleet in January 2015.Azores will join the CMV fleet in January 2015.When Athena left the UK market in 2010 at the end of a short charter to Page & Moy, it was the end of that company’s own cruise programme, and it was thought unlikely that the ship would return to the UK other than during transit calls. She had been chartered to the UK company Travelscope in 2007 and 2008, but, following the failure of that business, was then chartered to Germany’s Phoenix Reisen for 2009.

With the demise of owners Classic International Cruises, the future for this 1948-built ship, whose claim to fame was that, as Stockholm, she collided with and sank Andrea Doria in 1956, was beginning to look bleak. Portuscale Cruises came to the rescue and, along with three of her former fleetmates, she was acquired and extensively refitted.

She came back into service this year with a charter to Germany’s Ambiente Kreuzfahrten but, unfortunately, poor bookings resulted in the early termination of the charter and the closure of the company. Now, renamed Azores, she has a new charterer, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, who will take over the ship in January 2015 as a direct replacement for Discovery, which will be taken out of service by owners All Leisure Group.

Apex Tur: Back in service in Turkey
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

EasyCruise Life (1981/9,878gt) is now back in service as Ocean Life, the latest in a series of names given to the ship.EasyCruise Life (1981/9,878gt) is now back in service as Ocean Life, the latest in a series of names given to the ship.A sister of Ocean Endeavour, Ocean Life, has also returned to service this year, operating for Turkey’s Apex Tur on a series of three- and four-night cruises from Kusadasi, Turkey to the Greek Islands. This ship was built as Lev Tolstoy for the Black Sea Shipping Company, and later became Palmira. Between 2001 and 2006 she was Mano Maritime’s The Jasmine and in 2008 became EasyCruise’s second ocean cruise ship, EasyCruise Life.

That venture was short-lived, and the company and the ship were sold to Greek ferry operator Hellenic Seaways, who did not use the ship. She was chartered in 2010 to Blue Ocean Cruises as Ocean Life, but, after another failure, returned to Piraeus for lay-up (and repairs to a cracked hull). Now she is back in service in the Greek Islands.

Adventure Canada: Back in cruise service
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:00

Kristina Katarina has recently been sold and renamed Ocean Endeavour.Kristina Katarina has recently been sold and renamed Ocean Endeavour.After a period in use as an accommodation ship off Shetland, FleetPro Ocean has secured a charter for its Ocean Endeavour for the summer of 2015. She will operate a series of cruises in the Canadian Arctic and on the Greenland coast, including two Northwest Passage voyages between June and September 2015.

Ocean Endeavour was built in Poland in 1982 as Konstantin Simonov for Russia’s Black Sea Shipping Company. She was later transferred to the Baltic Shipping Company and in 1996, while still in Russian ownership, was renamed Francesca and registered in Cyprus.

From 2001 to 2009 she operated as The Iris for Israeli Mano Maritime, but was then sold to Katarina Cruises of Finland, for whom she underwent a major refit before entering service as Kristina Katarina. Katarina Cruises withdrew from ocean cruising in 2013, and the ship was sold to FleetPro Ocean. At 12,907gt, she is one of a series of seven similar ships built for the Russians.

COSTA CRUISES: Removal of Concordia wreck at last
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:14

The wreck of Costa Concordia should arrive in Genoa by the end of July.The wreck of Costa Concordia should arrive in Genoa by the end of July.The 30 air tanks fitted to the wreck of Costa Concordia started to be pumped full of air on 20 July in order to raise the remains of the ship, ready for her final trip to ship dismantlers in Genoa. At one stage it was suggested that Costa Concordia would be taken to her final destination aboard the heavy-lift vessel Dockwise Vanguard, but now it seems that she will be towed the 170 nautical miles to the Italian port, which is also the home of Costa Cruises.

The final cost of the salvage and scrapping operation is likely to reach £1 billion, more than twice the original cost of building the ship, delivered in 2006. The trial of Costa Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, for the manslaughter of 32 people, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before it had been evacuated, continues.

Portuscale Cruises: Funchal out of Falmouth
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00

Funchal arriving in Falmouth before heading off to Sweden. WILLIAM MAYESFunchal arriving in Falmouth before heading off to Sweden. WILLIAM MAYESPortuscale’s Funchal returned to Falmouth on 22 April at the start of her first full summer season since completing her lengthy refit. She undertook two cruises from Falmouth before heading empty to Gothenburg for her now re-established seasonal programme, for which she is very popular.

Funchal has been cruising regularly for the Swedish market since at least the early 1990s, and, despite the initial difficulties encountered last year, is expected to have a good summer. The interior refit of Funchal has produced a very attractive set of public rooms and cabins, although the latter might be generally regarded as small by today’s standards.

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