Sad news breaking about this beautiful classic liner, whose luck ran out when Classic International Cruises went bust in 2012.
A baby at just 5,888gt, she began life in 1965 as Istra. Several owners and names followed until she was well known in modern times as Arion for CIC from 1999. In 2012 she, along with Princess Danae and Athena, were arrested.
Hope beckoned when Portuscale Cruises not only bought those three, but also rescued Funchal with the intention of either running them or chartering (Princess Daphne was sold for scrap). Arion was renamed Porto and had her dry dock, awaiting a charter. She waited and waited and waited, lasting 3 years longer than Lisboa (ex-Princess Danae) but sadly no offers came.
In June 2013, I was in Lisbon on the maiden voyage of the new Royal Princess and met up with Luis Miguel Correia, who took me to see her, as well as Lisboa and Funchal.
The last time I saw her was when I was over for the three Cunard Queens and she looked just as glorious laid up alongside Lisboa.
Rumours had been rife Portuscale ran into money troubles quite early on. Only Azores (ex-Athena, currently Astoria) was getting work. Even Funchal had no offers.
Porto was sold to Turkish breakers on the 13th September and is expected to be towed to Aliaga around the 15th October 2018. Another classic gone. 😥