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MV Azores

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MV Azores

Azores leaving the Columbus Cruise Center in Bremerhaven, Germany.
  • 1948–1960: Stockholm
  • 1960–1985: Völkerfreundschaft
  • 1985–1986: Volker
  • 1986–1993: Fridtjof Nansen
  • 1993–1994: Italia I
  • 1994–1998: Italia Prima
  • 1998–2002: Valtur Prima
  • 2002–2005: Caribe
  • 2005–2013: Athena
  • 2013-present: Azores
  • 1948–1960: Swedish America Line
  • 1960–1966: VEB Deutsche Seereederei
  • 1966–1985: VEB Deutsche Seereederei (summer seasons)/Stena Line (winter seasons)
  • 1985–1994: laid up/rebuilt
  • 1994–1995:Nina Cia. di Navigazione
  • 1995–1998: Neckermann Seereisen
  • 1998: laid up
  • 1998–2001: Valtur Tourist
  • 2001–2002: laid up
  • 2002–2004: Festival Cruises
  • 2004–2005: laid up
  • 2005–2013 : Classic International Cruises[1]
  • 2013-present: Portuscale Cruises
Port of registry:
Ordered: October 1944[2]
Builder: Götaverken, Gothenburg, Sweden
Yard number: 611[1]
Launched: 9 September 1946[1]
Christened: 9 September 1946[2]
Acquired: 7 February 1948[1]
In service: 21 February 1948[1]
  • Swedish Official Number 8926 (1948)[3]
  • Italian Official Number 1749 (1993)[3]
  • IMO number: 5383304
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Type: Ocean liner
Length: 160.08 m (525 ft 2 in)
Beam: 21.04 m (69 ft 0 in)
Draught: 7.90 m (25 ft 11 in)
Installed power:
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Capacity: 390 passengers
General characteristics (currently)[1]
Type: Cruise ship
Tonnage: 15,614 GRT
Decks: 8
Installed power:
  • 2 × Wärtsilä 16V32
  • 10,700 kW (14,300 hp) (combined)
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Capacity: 556 passengers

MV Azores is a Portuguese cruise ship operated by Portuscale Cruises. Until 2012, the ship was operated by Classic International Cruises, as the Athena. In 2013, she was transferred to Portuscale Cruises and renamed Azores. She will again be renamed, to Astoria, at the end of the 2015 summer season. She was ordered in 1944, and launched 9 September 1946, as the Stockholm by Götaverken in Gothenburg for the Swedish America Line (SAL). Since her career with SAL, she has sailed under the names Völkerfreundschaft, Volker, Fridtjof Nansen, Italia I, Italia Prima, Valtur Prima, and Caribe, before beginning service as the Athena.

As Stockholm, she was best known for colliding with the Andrea Doria in 1956, resulting in the sinking of the latter ship.

With the retirement of the Doulos Phos in 2010, the Azores is (as of May 2015) the world's oldest active oceangoing passenger ship.

Service history

At 525 feet (160.02 m) with a gross register tonnage of 12,165 register tons, Stockholm was the smallest passenger ship operating on the North Atlantic route at the time. However, she was the largest passenger ship built in Sweden at the time. Originally designed to carry 395 people, a 1953 refit expanded Stockholm's capacity to 548 people.

Collision with Andrea Doria

On the night of July 25, 1956, at 11:10 pm, in heavy fog in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nantucket, the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria of the Italian Line collided in what was to become one of history's most notorious maritime disasters.

As Stockholm with her bow badly damaged after colliding with Andrea Doria
Although most passengers and crew survived the collision, the larger Andrea Doria luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning. Owing to the collision, 50% of the Andrea Doria's lifeboats were unusable. However, a number of ships responded and provided assistance, which averted a massive loss of life.

Five crewmembers on the Stockholm were killed instantly and several more were trapped in the wrecked bow. Despite its having sunk about 3 ft (0.9 m), the crippled Stockholm helped in the rescue and ended up carrying 327 passengers and 245 crewmembers from the Andrea Doria, in addition to her own passengers and crew. After Andrea Doria sank, Stockholm sailed to New York City under her own power and arrived on July 27. The crushed bow portion was repaired at a cost of US$1 million three months later.

The ship in 1961, sailing as the Völkerfreundschaft

History after the collision

On 3 January 1960, the Stockholm was sold to the East German government, which renamed the ship Völkerfreundschaft and operated her as an ocean liner until 1985. In 1985, she was transferred to a Panamanian company, Neptunas Rex Enterprises. Her name was reduced to Volker, and by the end of the year, she was laid up in Southampton, England. She was later used as a barracks ship in Oslo for asylum seekers in Norway under the name Fridtjof Nansen.

The Stockholm was sold to Italian interests in 1989 and towed to Genoa, the Andrea Doria's home port. When she first arrived, the press called the Stockholm the "ship of death" (La nave della morte). She was rebuilt from the waterline up and given a modern cruise ship design. Named the Italia I, then Italia Prima, she later sailed as Valtur Prima primarily to Cuba, and was laid up there in 2001. Acquired by Festival Cruise Line in 2002 and renamed Caribe, she continued to sail to Cuba.

As Athena in Split, Oct 22, 2011

In 2005, the Stockholm was renamed Athena, being registered in Portugal. She was flagged out of Cyprus operating for Classic International Cruises.

On 3 December 2008, Athena was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Reportedly, 29 pirate boats surrounded the ship at one stage until a US Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft circled above which led some of the pirates to flee. The crew prevented the pirates from boarding by firing high-pressure water cannons at them. No one was injured and the ship escaped without damage and continued on her voyage to Australia.[4]

On 17 September 2012, reports announced that she and her fellow ship Princess Danae were detained in Marseille, France, for outstanding fuel bills, it was also announced the Arion was said to be detained in Montenegro for similar issues.[5]

Early in 2013, Athena was bought by the recently created Portuguese cruise company Portuscale Cruises and renamed Azores. As soon as her acquisition was confirmed, she was taken to a shipyard in Marseille, where she was revamped before entering Portuscale Cruises service after completing a charter to Berlin-based Ambiente Kreuzfahrten from whom she was chartered to Classic International to join her fleetmate Princess Daphne. The charter began in March 2014 with a cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, to Bremerhaven, Germany, and concluded in November 2014 in Genoa, Italy.

In 2015, she entered long-term service with Cruise & Maritime Voyages with a maiden voyage from Avonmouth Docks to the Caribbean in January 2015. All crewing and ship management services are handled directly by Cruise and Maritime Voyages.[6] It was announced that she will again be renamed, to Astoria, at the end of the 2015 summer season.[7]


Public rooms Capacity Deck
Olissipo Restaurant 520 Atlantic
Lotus Pool Grill 210 Calypso
Calypso Show Lounge 480 Calypso
Sirene's Bar 150 Calypso
Muses Night Club 80 Promenade
Captain's Club 30 Calypso
Tychon Card Room 40 Calypso
Ithaca Library 16 Calypso
Cyclope's Auditorium 260 Promenade
Other leisure areas Deck
Emporio Boutique Calypso
Fitness centre Observation
Beauty salon Observation
Sauna Observation
Photo shop Calypso
Circe's Casino Calypso
Chapel Mediterranean
Medical centre Pacific
Open leisure amenities Deck
Swimming pool Calypso
Elpinor Bar Calypso
Aeolos Bar Navigators
Barbecue Calypso


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^®ion=2
  7. ^ , 15 May 2015World of CruisingDavid Fiske, "Original ship’s bell returned to CMV’s Azores", . Retrieved 4 July 2015

External links

  • Classic International Cruises' page on the Athena
  • Goldberg, Mark H. (2002). Ship Profile - MS Caribe. Accessed June 6, 2005.
  • Ljungström, Henrik. Stockholm. The Great Ocean Liners. Accessed June 6, 2005.
  • SS Maritime page detailing the name changes with photos
  • "Athena" – review by Douglas Ward in The Daily Telegraph, London.
  • for the German Cruise Line - Ambiente Cruises to 2014
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