AZORES (ex STOCKHOLM) Chartered For 2015

AZORES in Helsinki in Portuscale Cruises colours. Photo © Kalle Id May 22, 2014
AZORES in Helsinki in Portuscale Cruises colours. Photo © Kalle Id May 22, 2014

CMV is chartering the AZORES for its 2015 cruise programme. The ship was originally built as the STOCKHOLM in 1948 for Swedish America Line. In 1956, she collided with the Italian liner ANDREA DORIA, which later sank.  STOCKHOLM was sold to the German Democratic Republic and renamed VOLKERFREUNDSCHAFT in 1960, lasting in their service until 1985.  She was laid up and renamed VOLKER, then FRIDTJOF NANSEN in 1986.  In 1993, she became ITALIA I before being completely rebuilt with new engines and superstructure as ITALIA PRIMA at Genoa in 1994.  In 1998, she became VALTUR PRIMA, then CARIBE in 2002.  In 2005, she became ATHENA and in 2013, she took on her current name for Portuscale Cruises – Peter Newall

CMV’s press release:

“CMV ANNOUNCING A NEW SHIP FOR 2015: British based cruise operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), is pleased to announce the introduction of the 550-passenger, classic cruise ship AZORES to their fleet in 2015. AZORES will replace DISCOVERY as CMV’s second ex-UK cruise vessel, operating alongside MARCO POLO and will also be dedicated to the British and English speaking markets and positioned as an adult only product (16 years plus). AZORES will operate year round sailings, commencing operations from Bristol Avonmouth on 26th January 2015 with a 30 night CMV maiden voyage to the West Indies. Azores will also be sailing from Hull and London Tilbury with programme highlights including: the Solar Eclipse & Northern Lights, Seville Fiesta, Summertime Gardens, Medieval Cities and a Scottish-themed Edinburgh Festival cruise, plus all the perennial favourites. The AZORES has been chartered from Lisbon-based, Portuscale Cruises on a long term basis. All crewing and ship management services will be handled directly by CMV in line with the services provided by MARCO POLO and ASTOR. AZORES was completely re-built in 1994 at a cost of US$150mio when she was launched as a premium rated product.

ATHENA postcard, courtesy Shawn Dake
AZORES most recently sailed as the ATHENA for Classic International Cruises, which went bankrupt in 2012. The ship was subsequently purchased by Portuscale and renamed AZORES. ATHENA postcard, courtesy Shawn Dake

AZORES is a classic ship with a traditional wrap-around wooden promenade deck and a wide range of well appointed and inviting lounges and homely retreats. These include an impressive main show lounge, an auditorium, nightclub, casino, a selection of bars and lounges, two dining venues and a stunning, marbled reception. 85% of her 277 cabins have an ocean view and almost 20% are of a de-luxe standard, including nine balcony suites. All cabins also have a bath tub and mini bar facility. Chris Coates, Commercial Director of CMV commented, “AZORES is an excellent, upgraded addition to our cruise fleet and has been affectionately and very well maintained by her Owners. We are confident that AZORES will prove to be a ‘real winner’ with our growing number of loyal customers and will also attract new clients seeking smaller ship alternatives and regional ex-UK no fly cruise options”. Rui Alegre, Chief Executive Officer of Lisbon-based Portuscale Cruises added, “I’m a strong believer in developing close and long term business partnerships. I’m very pleased to have concluded a charter with CMV and look forward to working closely with their team in successfully establishing AZORES on to the British market. AZORES is a beautiful ship and has been operating very well in achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. I am proud that she will be carrying CMV passengers next year and for many years to come”.

Special thanks to Peter Newall and Kalle Id.

Peter Newall

Peter Newall

A well-known shipping writer, cruise journalist and cruise ship lecturer,
Peter Newall is a former British Airways executive who has, in the past 57
years, visited and travelled on many famous ships.  As well as numerous
articles he has written nine highly acclaimed books including the
definitive histories of Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Line.  He also owns
the Newall Dunn Collection, the extensive collection of historic merchant
shipping images.
Peter Newall

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