Monday, October 7, 2013

"FUNCHAL" of 1961 back cruising in 2013










FUNCHAL was introduced over 50 years ago, the ship was built in Denmark in 1961 to be operated by the Portuguese Shipping Company EMPRESA INSULANA DE NAVEGACAO on the Portugal to Madeira and Azores Service, due to the oil crisis and the boom on commercial aviation the ship was withdrawn from regular liner service in 1972, a decision was made to convert the ship for full time cruising in Holland, the original steam turbines were replaced by diesel engines her original livery black hull and yellow funnel were replaced by a all white hull, the funnel however remained yellow with a black top, she was flying the Portuguese ensign until 1985 cruising for C.T.M., when she was sold to the late Mr. George Potamianos, since then and until 2013 she remained with the same owners cruising all over the World operated by first ARCALIA SHIPPING and lately CLASSIC INTERNATIONAL CRUISES. In 2010 "FUNCHAL" was laid-up in Lisbon to undergo a massive refit, unfortunately due to financial problems of C.I.C. the ship was after 2012 abandoned, she faced the menace of the scrap yards, but in February of this year, against all odds the ship was bought by a Portuguese business man, Mr Rui Alegre, a new company, in fact the first Portuguese Cruising Company was created to manage "FUNCHAL" and other three ships of the former C.I.C.. I have known "FUNCHAL" for 50 years, she is the last survival of a prosperous Portuguese Merchant Fleet from the 50's and early 60's, she has been throughout the years one of my favourite ships, to see her back in active service together with the building of the new QUEEN MARY 2 are for me, the most exciting moments of the new century in terms of the Maritime World. In September "FUNCHAL" resumed her cruising activity and I've decided to follow her in different European Ports the next "posts" on this Blog will show the ship in France, Spain and Portugal, stay connected and follow "FUNCHAL" on her last leg of the themed "WINE CRUISE" started back on the 9.9.2013 finishing in Lisbon 20.9.2013. 10 photos above taken at LE VERDON SUR MER 16.9.2013, BILBAO 17.9.2013, LA CORUNA 18.9.2013, PORTO 19.9.2013 and finally LISBON 20.9.2013, two photos on each of the ports mentioned.

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