Knyaz Vladimir

Former names: Roy Star, Royal Iris (Mano Cruises), MV Azur, MV Eagle, Prince Vladimir

Knyaz Vladimir current position

Knyaz Vladimir current location is at Black Sea (coordinates 44.72203 N / 37.78386 E) cruising en route to NOVOROSSIYSK RU. The AIS position was reported 11 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Knyaz Vladimir

Year of build1971  /  Age: 53
Flag state Russia
BuilderChantier Dubigeon-Normandie SA (Nantes, France)
Classcruiseferry (Ro-Pax ship)
Ferry route / homeportsNovorossiysk
Building costEUR 11 million / USD 12 million
Engines (power)MAN-Pielstick (15 MW / 20115 hp)
Speed23 kn / 43 km/h / 26 mph
Length (LOA)142 m / 466 ft
Beam (width)22 m / 72 ft
Gross Tonnage9159 gt
Decks with cabins8
Last Refurbishment2019
Former namesRoy Star, Royal Iris (Mano Cruises), MV Azur, MV Eagle, Prince Vladimir
OwnerRosmorport (Russian Federation)
OperatorMosturflot (via Black Sea Cruises LLC)

Knyaz Vladimir Review

Review of Knyaz Vladimir

The 1971-built MV Knyaz Vladimir cruise ship (fka "Roy Star" and "Royal Iris") was originally designed as a passenger and car ferry and constructed in Nantes France (by Chantier Dubigeon-Normandie SA). In 1981, the vessel was converted/rebuilt as a cruise ship. Since 2017, the shipowner is the Russian Federation's Ministry of Transport, while the boat is operated by the newly formed Russian company "Black Sea Cruises".

The vessel (IMO number 7032997) is currently Russia-flagged (MMSI 273397120) and homeported in Novorossiysk.

History - construction and ownership

The 1000-passenger ship Knyaz Vladimir (aka "Prince Vladimir") initially sailed as MV Eagle (the first name of the vessel), operated by the British company "Southern Ferries". At first, the ship entered service as a car/cruise ferry. A few years later it was sold to the Paquet Cruises, a subsidiary company of Nouvelle Compagnie de Paquebots (Marseille). In 1981, MV Eagle was rebuilt as a cruise ship, and renamed "MV Azur". During the drydock refit, many passenger cabins were added.

Roy Star cruise ship

In 1994, the vessel was sold to Festival Cruises and served the company for 10 years (until 2004 when announced bankruptcy). MV Azur had to be arrested by harbour authorities in Gibraltar. The vessel was sold to Mano Maritime for a price of over USD 12 million. After acquiring the vessel, Mano Maritime renamed it to "Royal Iris" and the cruise ship was repainted with a smiling yellow fish on both sides of the hull.

Roy Star cruise ship

MV Roy Star used to operate on Eastern Mediterranean cruises to ports in Cyprus and the Greek Islands. In 2014, Mano Cruises stopped the operations of the ship.

In late December 2016, Victor Olersky (Rosmorrechflot's Director and Russia's Deputy Minister of Transport) chaired a meeting of the Marine Board of the Russian Government on establishing regular passenger service to Crimea ports. Ministry of Transport experts said that the most effective solution could be establishing a regular cruise line service on the route Sochi-Novorossiysk-Yalta-Sevastopol-Istanbul-Sochi. Since the service includes calls at Crimean ports, the vessel's time-charter was excluded as an option. Therefore, the Ministry offered to purchase the cruise ship.

In early-2017, the Russian Ministry of Transport held preliminary talks with Rosmorport and Sovfracht Group to launch a regular passenger shipping service to Crimean ports. To implement the project the Ministry intended to deploy the Roy Star cruise ship. Provisional estimates showed that the project's cost is around RUB 700 million (USD 11,7 million), including vessel acquisition and refurbishment.

This Russian cruise liner offers high-quality comfort and as facilities features:

  • Sun Deck (Solarium with 2 swimming pools and 1 Jacuzzi) on deck 6 (aft)
  • 1 swimming pool (midship on deck 8 / top deck)
  • 1 dining room restaurant, 4 bars, 1 disco, Music Hall (Concert Hall). Free coffee and tea are offered before breakfast, along with tea or free beverages after excursions.
  • duty-free shops, Library, Souvenir Shop, Art Salon with a selection of gifts, Guest Services Desk, Tour Desk (onboard booking of shore excursions)
  • Sauna, Beauty Salon (hairdresser and barber services), Spa Salon (massages, cosmetic studio)
  • Cinema (movie theatre), Karaoke Bar, Bar Lounge
  • Kids Club (indoor playground with an inflatable bouncer, toys, art-craft tables, games and contests, doubles as a nursery).

Decks and Cabins

The ship has a total of 360 staterooms in 3 main categories - Suite, Outside (A), Inside (B).

  • Suites are relatively small, each with a double bed and sofabed.
  • Most Outside cabins are double (with 2 lower beds convertible to Queen). Some cabins are triple and quad (with capacity up to 3-4 passengers) fitted with 2 lower (fixed) beds plus either 1 or 2 upper bunk beds (wall-mounted).
  • Most Inside cabins are triple and quad (with capacity up to 3-4 passengers) fitted with lower (fixed) and upper bunk beds (wall-mounted). In some cabins, lower beds are convertible to Queen.

Each cabin's capacity is shown on the deck plans. Cribs are available for rent.

All staterooms offer as standard amenities writing desk (with large mirror and drawers), chair, bed lights (reading lamps), phone (onboard calls only), LCDTV (satellite television and onboard TV channels), complimentary bottled water (0,33L, 1 per person / replenished daily), 220 V power sockets, USB ports, en-suite bathroom (WC, glass shower, washbasin, bathroom accessories), hairdryer, air-conditioning.

New bedsheets are provided every 3 days in Suite / Semi-Suites, and every 5 days in all other staterooms. A free face towel change is offered in all staterooms by request, while the daily change of face and foot towels is provided at Suites/ Semi-Suites.

The boat has 8 decks, of which 7 are passenger-accessible and 5 with cabins.


Knyaz Vladimir cruise itinerary program offers 7-day Black Sea cruises with roundtrip (Sunday) departures from Sochi (homeport). The ship's cruising season runs May through October. The week-long itineraries visit as ports of call the Russian cities Novorossiysk, Sevastopol (overnight) and Yalta (overnight). There is also a possibility Istanbul Turkey to be added to the ports list. Interporting (roundtrip deals from all itinerary ports of call) are also available.

During winter months, the cruise liner remains docked in Novorossiysk. According to the shipowner Rosmorport, around 60% of all cruise ship tourists embark in Sochi, around 20% in Novorossiysk, 10% in Yalta and 10% in Sevastopol.

The liner's expanded 2020 season (March through October) was planned as Black Sea Cruises' longest program and had a total of 35 roundtrips (weekly departures from homeport Sochi). Following the Coronavirus crisis (2020-21), the company Black Sea Cruises restarted operations with MS Knyaz Vladimir on June 13, 2021, leaving from Sochi.

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Estimates showed that a cruise ticket on Russia's new Black Sea cruise liner might cost around RUB 4500 (USD 75) per person per day, compared with the cost of accommodation in 3-star hotels in Yalta and Sochi.

The vessel's christening ceremony was held on May 27, 2017, in Port Sochi. The "Inaugural Cruise" (maiden voyage) was on June 11, 2017. The 7-day itinerary included an overnight in Yalta, plus calls at Novorossiysk and Sevastopol. The maiden voyage was booked by a total of 400 travelers.

During the winter drydock in Novorossiysk (for routine maintenance), the liner received electrical and mechanical works and the hull was repainted. Its HVAC system (Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning) and freshwater systems were also updated. The vessel (Chantier Dubigeon-Normandie Shipyard/hull number 123) is powered by MAN-Pielstick diesel engines (model 12PC3V-400), with total output 15 MW.

Due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, Black Sea Cruises suspended passenger shipping operations in the period March 15 through July 18 (voyages resumed on July 19).