Home » Featured » New Names For PRINCESS DANAE, ARION And ATHENA


Posted on Sunday, May 12, 2013 by

Luis Miguel Correia of “Ships and the Sea” has revealed former Classic International Cruises ships PRINCESS DANAE and ARION have just been renamed by current owner Portuscalecruises as LISBOA and PORTO.

Undated photo of PRINCESS DANAE

Undated photo of PRINCESS DANAE

Following the demise of  Classic International Cruises (CIC), four of it’s ships were bought from the creditors by 44-year-old entrepreneur Rui Alegre, who is starting a new cruise line.

In November 2012, creditors seized the 1955-built PRINCESS DAPHNE (ex PORT MELBOURNE, DAPHNE, etc.) along with the 1955-built PRINCESS DANAE (ex PORT MELBOURNE, DANAE, etc.), arrested in Marseille along with the 1948-built ATHENA (ex STOCKHOLM, VOLKERFREUNDSCHAFT, etc.), the 1965-built ARION (ex ISTRA, ASTRA, etc.) detained in Montenegro, and the 1960-built FUNCHAL when the Portuguese division of CIC collapsed.

The FUNCHAL remains in Lisbon in the midst of an ongoing refit with renewed plans to return to service soon.

Portuscalecruises Fleet

LISBOA 1955 16,531 tons 532’ x 70’ 568 passengers (ex PORT MELBOURNE THERISOS EXPRESS, DANAE, ANAR, STARLIGHT PRINCESS, BALTICA, PRINCESS DANAE). Rebuilt from a Port Line refrigerated cargo ship PORT MELBOURNE into a cruise ship by Carras Cruises in 1976. Almost destroyed by fire in 1991, the ship was completely refurbished with much of the interior rebuilt.

PORTO 1965 5,888 387’ x 54’ 320 passengers (ex ISTRA, ASTRA, ASTRA I, ARION). Originally built as one of a pair of vessels for the former Yugoslavian State Shipping Company, Jadrolinija. Purchased by Arcalia Shipping in 1999 and completely rebuilt in 2000.

AZORES 1948 16,144 tons 525’ x 69’ feet 552 passengers (ex STOCKHOLM, VOLKERFREUNDSCHAFT, VOLKER, FRIDTJOF NANSEN, ITALIA I, ITALIA PRIMA, VALTUR PRIMA, CARIBE, ATHENA). The oldest large ocean-going cruise ship in operation, originally constructed as a trans-Atlantic liner for the Swedish American Line. Sold to Italian operators in 1989. The ship was completely rebuilt at a reported cost of $150 million in 1994.

FUNCHAL 1961 9,563 tons 507’ x 63’ 471 passengers.


Special thanks to Luis Miguel Correia, Peter Knego and Shawn Dake


12 Responses to New Names For PRINCESS DANAE, ARION And ATHENA

  1. Dan

    May 13, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I hope that the new owner will also consider adding the Saga Ruby to the fleet as well. At least I would hope so.

  2. Kenenth Eden

    May 13, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Nice to see these three saved yet again – why must they always be “rebuilds” or “reconstructed” ships from their original intended use that get “saved”?

    Sure, the STOCKHOLM is a last vestige of the transatlantic era, and a celeb in her own right, often overshadowed by ANDREA DORIA. But a top liner not.

    I look at the names that the now AZORES has had, and shudder. The other two ships cause a feeling of unease, too many names, too many owners/charterers.

    Usually, not always, the third string ships, and these three sort of fit that description run on cheap cruises, and the end is predictable in many cases.

    I do congratulate the owners on their saving these three old gals, none of which was ever at the top of the glam scale in use for cruises, maybe they will get their close up now.

  3. steven taylor

    May 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Please Mr Alegre buy the Mona Lisa (Ex Sea Princess, Kungsholm) if you do i for one will certainy book a cruise on her.

    Here’s hoping :)

  4. alan dumelow

    May 14, 2013 at 4:40 am

    All great news, but I have yet to find a Portuscale Cruises website advertising the ships’ cruises. And has “Azores” (Athena) really been chartered by the Ukrainian company Royal Caravella?
    True, Kenneth, “Lisboa” would never win any beauty contest (“Funcal” might), but where else can you see a 54-built Doxford in full motion?
    Oh, and (Dan / Steven), please don’t hold your breath hoping that Dr.Alegre will save “Saga Ruby” or the non-solas “Veronica”. With Portugal in financial crisis, the brave doctor has enough on his plate saving his four old-timers from the beach.

  5. POSH

    May 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Wiki says that the Athena was purchased by a Russian-owned company and would be named Astoria? What gives?

  6. koos riedijk

    June 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Classic? There is hardly a real classical liner left.The classic Athena is wishful thinking.There is only a hull.One can hardly call a brandnew superstructure classic.I rather see a less old original ship(Saga Ruby). Princess Danae and Daphne are seventies-superstructures as well.Little impressive in- and outside.I cruised on one(Baltica).The Arion is another modernized example.I made a trip on the sister Dalmacija,she was (almost) original,but broken up.Only the Funchal was for a long time the only one that deserved the name classic,although they keep on going with modernizing and by now the cream on the cake is gone(no more masts, derricks,spoiling silhouette by after decks etc)I worked on Funchal for a half year in 1974 when she was still a yacht(although just re-engined).The word classic counts for a vessel like the Nordstjernen(1956)

  7. Joe Cheetham

    August 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I sailed as Chief Engineer on mv “Port Melbourne” for a 6 month period in 1969-1970, and it is good to know that it may still continue to sail as Lisboa. A comparison of photographs I have from 1970 and current photographs of “Princess Danae” show that the hull is probably the only original component. However, I understand that the two original 6 cylinder Harland & Wolf main engines, still power the twin screw vessel.

  8. alan dumelow

    August 25, 2013 at 12:38 am

    POSH / Alan: The charter of “Azores” (ex “Athena”) to the Russian company Royal Caravella as “Astoria” has collapsed and will not now happen.

  9. Romio Ramijn Shipping Operation Aruba

    October 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Princess Danae has old port charges ,$ 5195.94, unsettled (01.29.12). Would appreciate assistance in helping us collect aboveamount.Any suggestion to contact ref the above, will be highly apreciated.

  10. Bill Ellen

    February 17, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I did two six month voyages as an engineer on the Danae/Lisboa when she was the Port Melbourne in the early 1960’s with happy memories. I proposed to my wife one trip. Wonderful to see her still running. Those old Doxford engines ran so well and we’re reliable.

  11. Derek Finlayson

    May 8, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Recent news from Greece says that PRINCESS DAPHNE has been sold to unknown breakers.


  12. Bill Ellen

    June 30, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Understand the Princess Daphne (Port Sydney) has gone for scrap. Probably the last Doxford driven vessel now finished. What is the future for the Port Melbourne (Princess Danae/Lisboa) ? As I wrote before I spent some time on her, the only non-Doxford driven ship during my time as an engineer with Port Line. I would love to inspect the engine room in which I spent many hours once again. What route is she likely to run if she gets going again.

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