Today it was announced the classic ship, Lisboa, had been sold for scrap and would sail for Turkey on the 15th March. The former Princess Danae will join her sister, Princess Daphne in maritime memories. Both were originally owned by Port Line as cargo ships between the UK and Australia before being converted to cruise ships in the 1970s at a time many were going to the breakers. For a while, they both sailed for Classic International Cruises as Princess Danae and Princess Daphne.
Things were going well until CIC ran into financial trouble. Portuscale Cruises bought four of the five ships – Funchal, Arion, Athena and Princess Danae. Sadly Princess Daphne’s owners eventually sold her for scrap and she beached at Alang in June 2014.
Meanwhile, Portuscale had great plans for their four ladies and ploughed millions into them. Funchal would be operated by them but the rest were available for charters. Arion was dry docked first in 2013, emerging as Porto. Funchal was next for lots of love. She had a worse time than the rest since she was undergoing refurbishment to meet the 2010 SOLAS regulations when CIC ran into trouble. Athena was done in Marseille, where she had originally been arrested after CIC went bankrupt, and emerged as Azores.
Finally, in October 2013, it was Princess Danae’s turn. She had already been renamed Lisboa months prior but had yet to bear the name on her hull. However, they didn’t complete the refit and she was laid up alongside Porto, both awaiting charters.
To date, Porto is still awaiting charter. Azores had work with Ambiente in 2014 and is chartered by Cruise & Maritime Voyages during 2015. However, the flagship, Funchal, has had all 2015 cruises cancelled until further notice. All of this is an awful shame. I have been a great supporter of Portuscale Cruises since they bought the Fabulous Four in 2013 and unveiled their ambitious plans. With numerous people becoming disenchanted with the bigger ships with and without gimmicks, it should be the perfect time for the small ship to win through. While I am worried about the futures of Porto and Funchal, I sincerely hope Portuscale are just restructuring. It would be wonderful if they came back stronger, operating both on varied itineraries and using far more marketing to attract international passengers who want an intimate ship with friendly atmosphere not a resort with thousands of people. If done right, both can be a great success. I wish them every luck. 🙂