Saturday, December 31, 2011

SS "ROTTERDAM" and MS "PACIFIC" two ships in need of better luck for 2012


This is the last post of 2011, for next year would like to wish better luck for two very beautiful passenger ships, the iconic "ROTTERDAM" of 1959 at the moment moored at her home port of Rotterdam and open to the public for tours, accommodation and restaurant, the ship is up for sale despite receiving more than 500.000 visitors during the first year of her new role and the "PACIFIC" former "SEA VENTURE" of 1971 and "PACIFIC PRINCESS" of 1975 famous for her role on the TV series "THE LOVE BOAT", the ship has been laid up at Genoa for a long time facing a very uncertain future, so good luck for 2012 for these two very nice passenger ships.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The end of the line for "INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE"



This is the final post dedicated to the former Portuguese Liner "INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE". In 1991 the then "VASCO DA GAMA" was chartered by SEAWIND CRUISE LINES and renamed "SEAWIND CROWN" despite been renamed she kept the former name on her bow until 1995 when she was officially bought by SEAWIND, in 1997 the ship was given a ridiculous dark blue livery which never suited the ship by then operated by PREMIER CRUISES, the ship was chartered in 1999 to PULLMANTUR  for a series of cruises, PREMIER went into financial turmoil and the ship was arrested for payment of debts when she arrived at Barcelona at the end of another cruise in 2000, she was later secured and seized becoming a dead ship, laid up at barcelona until 2003 when she was sold to Chinese breakers by the Barcelona Port Authority, she left the Catalonian port in December 2003 under the name Barcelona, a sad end for such a beautiful liner, another one of my youth and one I will cherish forever

"INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE" becomes cruise ship "VASCO DA GAMA"



Further to the previous post, the neglected "INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE" was purchased in 1986 by Mr George Potamianos for cruising under his TRANS WORLD CRUISING, a Panamanian registered company, the ship was released from her basin at Sines and moved to Lisbon where she arrived early 1988 and I was there to greet her, she then went to Greece to begin her long process of being converted into full time cruising ship, she was in the meantime renamed "VASCO DA GAMA" a name carefully chosen by her new owner to comply with ship's tradition and heritage, she began her new role in 1989, when she returned to service she looked like a new ship and never looked more attractive in my opinion, shame the cargo masts had to be removed but apart from that she looked amazing

the beautiful portuguese liner "INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE"





"INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE" was built for the Portuguese COMPANHIA COLONIAL NAVEGACAO in 1961 by Belgium shipyards COCKERILL, she left for her maiden voyage on the 21st September 1961, she was operated by CCN on the Lisbon to Angola, South Africa and Mozambique route, she was as built 23145 GRT and had a cruising speed of 20 to 21 knots propelled by steam turbines. After the Portuguese former colonies were granted independence and of course the advent of the jumbo jet, the ship was laid up in Lisbon in 1976 and she remained there until 1977 when she left for Sines in Southern Portugal to serve as an Hotel Accommodation, this was really a period of exile for the ship as the real goals where never achieved and she was kept in a poor  state been completely negleted, I visited the ship a few times when she was there, one of them in 1985 with Luis Miguel Correia who is responsible for the last picture, INFANTE was bought in 1986 by George Potamianos and was to be converted into a cruise ship and become the "VASCO DA GAMA"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SOUTHAMPTON REMEMBERS THE "TITANIC" IN 2012

Southampton of course will remember and pay homage to the TITANIC next year to mark 100 years of the sinking of the WHITE STAR liner, please visit www.visit-southampton.co.uk for all information and programme

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

QUEEN MARY 2 was back at Funchal this year


CUNARD flagship, the splendid QM2 was back at Funchal this year on the 2sd of November, the ship called Madeira on her maiden voyage in 2004 and was back later in the year, since then she has not been to the beautiful Island. Photos taken by Joao Abreu 

MS "FUNCHAL" a vintage ship with charm and character




After finishing yesterday's post about Maritime-Memories voyage to St Petersburg, I have been thinking about the very few liners and cruise ships that today can provide their passengers a unique cruising experience, there's not a lot of them today unfortunately but one that still captures my imagination and motivates me to go back on board as soon as possible is the Portuguese registered "FUNCHAL". Built in 1961, so over fifty years old now, this passenger ship is a well balanced rounded lines vessel with real wooden decks that can offer her loyal followers as well as first time cruisers a unique travelling experience, its interiors has lots of fine woodwork  and  despite her age she has been kept very much updated with regular refurbishments. So to recapture what it was like to travel in an ocean liner of the past and avoid large resort ships and crowds this is a ship to consider. FUNCHAL has been in Lisbon since September 2010 undergoing a massive refit that would bring a new lease of life to the vessel for years to come. To book a cruise and for further information how to sail on FUNCHAL please visit,www.uk.cic-cruises.com She is due back during 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Maritime Memories voyage to St Petersburg in 2012


Maritime Memories has organised for 2012 a voyage to St Petersburg, once again the ship to be used is the 1972 built "DISCOVERY", a great opportunity for repeat passengers to share their experiences of travelling by sea during the heyday of the ocean liners and for new ones to marvel with the unique ambiance that this small and intimate ship can provide, this is very good value for money and there's no need to fly, this is a Portsmouth round trip cruise, please visit for all information www.maritime-memories.co.uk  Photos included by Joao Abreu

Friday, December 23, 2011

Portuguese liners "SANTA MARIA" and "VERA CRUZ"





My real passion for ships and particularity passenger liners started when I was five years old and saw "SANTA MARIA" for the first time in Lisbon, after that first glimpse of the ship my father took me on various occasions to the port of Lisbon to admire "SANTA MARIA" and her sister ship the 1952 built "VERA CRUZ", a member of my family went a few years later to Africa on "VERA CRUZ" to serve in what was known then as the Colonial War. "SANTA MARIA" was built in Belgium by JOHN COCKERILL and delivered to COLONIAL NAVIGATION COMPANY in 1953, she was 21.357 GRT and had a top speed of 23 knots, the vessel became world news when in 1961 was abducted by members of a group known as DRIL which was opposition to the Antonio Salazar government, this episode marks the first political kidnapping of an ocean liner in modern history. "SANTA MARIA" and "VERA CRUZ" ended their days prematurely in 1973 when they were scrapped, a sad ending for two wonderful ships with such a great potential to be converted for cruising.

Photos used in this post copyright Luis Miguel Correia

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BLACK WATCH at Funchal

The 1972 finnish built BLACK WATCH was considered one of the modern liners of her time, truly avand garde in numerous ways when launched by Royal Viking Line. Along with her two sisterships delivered the following years, she was one of the most luxurious passenger ships in the world.
Today in Funchal we were able to contemplate BLACK WATCH's fine lines, that have gracefully sailed into the modern cruising sceane, on yet another visit to Madeira this time westbound to the Caribbean sea where she will spend both Christmas and New Years celebrations.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Celebrate the New Year on board QE2

Since arrival at Dubai in 2008 the legendary QE2 is going to be opened to the public for the New Year party. the majority of tickets are invitations, but there will be some tickets available for the general public, please visit Rob Lightbody's website for further information on www.theqe2story.com or contact info@geventm.com or contact telephone number + 971 4 4331719. What a way to start 2012, tickets are priced at £500 or £1000 with unlimited food and drink. Photo bought on board the QE2 in 1996

QE2 visit to Liverpool in 1990


CUNARD legendary QE2 visited the city of Liverpool for the first time in 1990, included in this post stamps issued to commemorate the event as well as Merseyside Maritime Museum postcard

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lisbon on the world's route

LISBON ON THE WORLD'S ROUTE is a fantastic book by Maritime Historian and photographer Luis Miguel Correia. The book is a terrific account of passenger shipping history including old transatlantic liners, former Portuguese great passenger ships and the new state of the art cruise ships, Lisbon is a beautiful natural harbour recognized worldwide for its beauty so the photos on display are just beautiful, Luis Miguel Correia apart from being an amazing photographer understands and knows ships in a way that very few can, he knows exactly how to get the very best of them so this book is highly recommended. For further details on this and other books by LMC please visit http://lmcshipsandthesea.blogspot.com

"COSTA ALLEGRA" and "COSTA RIVIERA"



Two ships that ended up with COSTA CRUISES with completely different backgrounds. The "COSTA ALLEGRA" was built as a container ship for the Swedish REDERI AB NORDSTJERNAN in 1969 named ANNIE JOHNSON, she was bought by COSTA in 1991 and after being fully converted into cruising started one year later her new role. "COSTA RIVIERA" was the former GUGLIELMO MARCONI built in 1963 for LLOYD TRIESTINO and purchased by COSTA in 1983, the ship was completely robbed of her graceful profile but served COSTA CRUISES for a number of years, she was scrapped in 2002. Top image, ALLEGRA at Barcelona in 2000, postcard of the fabulous G. MARCONI with Lloyd Triestino livery and a photo of the converted COSTA RIVIERA at Piraeus in 1996

Thursday, December 15, 2011

ASTOR at Funchal

An interesting looking ship the ASTOR seen berthed today, 15th December 2011 in Funchal, Madeira.
She was built in the 80's as a sister ship to the former ASTOR the current SAGA PEARL II, but unlike her predecessor, this new cruise liner was faster and had better amenities especially conceived for the Capetown-Southampton route.
After the plans were abandoned by Safmarine, ASTOR started operating for a german company, a service that would last for only eighteen months.Next she was sold for soviet interests as the FEDOR DOSTOIEVSKY and was later renamed again with her orginal name. After some charters she ended up in Transocean and in 2006 the ship was purchased by the Premicon group of Munich, maintaining the charter with her present operators.
In the previous year she was refited in Bremerhaven where additional cabins were added, some with balcony placed onto the ship's bow slightly changing her original profile.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The incomparable "EUGENIO C"



"EUGENIO C" was ordered by COSTA (LINEA C at the time) to CANTIERI RIUNITI in 1963, her keel was laid in 1964 and delivered to her owners for the Genoa to South America service in 1966, she was 32.750 GRT and cruised at 27 knots, she was a very fast ship indeed, I have seen the "EUGENIO C" many times in Lisbon in the 70's and 80's and once at Liverpool as the EDINBURGH CASTLE, she is one of my all time favourites, she was scrapped in 2005 without any dignity in very poor state, miserable to watch the photos of her last years laid up and in service as the BIG RED BOAT II, what a name  for a ship with such  prestige elegance and tradition, I've scrapped those days from her history, for me she will always be remembered as the postcards above show and of course my living memories

COSTA "ENRICO C"

"ENRICO C" was built by Swan Hunter in the UK in 1951 as the PROVENCE for SGTM a French company, curious to note that the vessel was built in the UK because the French yards were so busy rebuiding their merchant navy after World War II that shipyards coudn't cope, the ship was purchased by COSTA in 1965. She was scrapped in  2001. Postcards from my private collection, a Christmas and new year message on the first image used for the festivities in 1977

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

P & O CRUISES "VICTORIA"



We travel back in time, to the year of 1998 when these photos were taken in Southampton with the "VICTORIA" docking at the end of another cruise for P & O CRUISES. The ship was built in the UK, sadly a thing of the past, by JOHN BROWN at Clydebank in 1966 to SWEDISH AMERICA as the beautiful "KUNGSHOLM", she was bought by P & O in 1979 and after a major refit which destroyed her graceful lines renamed as the "SEA PRINCESS", she was used at the UK, Australian and USA markets where she was given PRINCESS CRUISES colours until eventually returned to P & O and renamed "VICTORIA" in 1998, last image, postcard of my private collection, not as elegant as the KUNGSHOLM but still a beautiful ship with a legion of followers due to her intimate and cozy interiors

Monday, December 12, 2011

"WILLEM RUYS" becomes "ACHILLE LAURO"




In 1964 the "WILLEM RUYS" was sold to FLOTTA LAURO, today MSC CRUISES and was renamed "ACHILLE LAURO", the ship went into a massive reconversion but kept her beautiful lines, she was a regular caller to Lisbon as a result I have great memories of this fantastic vessel, she is also a ship of my youth, "ACHILLE LAURO" became even more famous because of the 1985 hijacking, she was lost by fire in 1994 on the 2sd of December, the same day she started her maiden voyage back in 1947.

Photos copyright of Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum, except first image, postcard of my private collection  www.krlmuseum.nl