75-year-old CMV Astoria cruise ship sold for recycling?

   February 2, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The owner of the oldest oceangoing cruise ship in the world denies it is ending a 75-year career.

According to a spokesman for Puerto Rico-based The Roundtable LLC (shipowner), reports by brokers this week that the 16144 GT-ton boat Astoria (1948-built) has been sold for scrapping/recycling at a European Union-approved were incorrect.

The denial comes despite S&P Global’s International Ships Register recently changing the status of the vessel to “to be broken up”.

The Roundtable spokesman said that while a deal to sell the ship was currently being negotiated, the buyer had indicated that the ship would be used for further trading.

Astoria has had one of the most colorful careers of any cruise ship.

The 600-passenger vessel was initially named "MS Stockholm". It was constructed by Gotaverken (in Goteborg Sweden) for the shipowner SAL (Swedish America Line). The ocean liner was in the fleet of Classic International Cruises (1985-founded, 2012-defunct) and operated under the name "MS Athena" until 2012. In 2013, it was acquired by Portuscale Cruises (2013-founded as the first Portuguese cruise shipping company).

CMV Astoria cruise ship

Over time, the vessel sailed under many different names - Volkerfreundschaft, Volker, Fridtjof Nansen, Italia I, Italia Prima, Valtur Prima, and Caribe and became famous as Stockholm because of its collision with Andrea Doria in 1956. The latter vessel sadly sank because it was seriously damaged. The collision of the two ships became one of the most notorious maritime disasters in history.

Stockholm (Azores), with an LOA length of 525 ft (160 m) was at the time the smallest passenger vessel deployed on the North Atlantic route. A curious fact about the cruise ship is that it was the largest passenger ship constructed in Sweden. In the beginning, Azores was planned to sail with 395 passengers, but its max passenger capacity was increased to 548 after a drydock refit.

MV Azores entered service for the UK-based CMV/Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2015, under a long-term charter from Portuscale Cruises (a Portuguese cruise ship line), and is aimed at the English-speaking cruise market. The vessel is “adult only” (child-free) for passengers 16 years plus. CMV announced that after its 2015 summer season, the cruise ship will be renamed “Astoria”.

The shipowner Grand Circle Corporation announced that the cruise vessel leaves CMV's fleet at the end of 2018. However, in April 2019, CMV announced the ship's 2020 "Baja California and Mexican Riviera" itinerary program from homeport Puerto Penasco. In January 2020, CMV announced that it ends the charter deal for Astoria in October 2020.

CMV Astoria entered technical drydock for the last time in June 2020 (at Naval Rocha Shipyard in Lisbon Portugal). For CMV, the vessel was Madeira-flagged (MMSI number 255801380) and registered in Funchal. In July 2020, the ship charterer CMV filed for bankruptcy.