MS Stockholm 1948 History and her future incarnations to 2019
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!
“Rederie Sverige Nordamerika”
Delivered in 1948 & Still Sailing!
Later to become: MS Völkerfreundschaft, Volker, Fridtjof Nansen, Italia I,
Italia Prima, Vultur Prima, Caribe,
still sailing 70 years after her delivery, currently named … MV Astoria
The delightful yacht-like MS Stockholm seen as built in 1948
Please Note: Photographs are from the Author’s private collection, or as mentioned otherwise
Introduction: Although this feature is all about the remarkable and enduring Rederie Sverige Nordamerika liner MS Stockholm IV, you will note that I have also included mentions and some images of her earlier namesakes, As well as other SAL ships during her days with the company before the MS Stockholm IV was sold in 1959. I trust that this feature will make interesting reading, considering that a good 64 years after her being delivered to her owners she is still sailing and better still she is in better shape today than most modern ships, as she is not only spotless, but her standard of maintenance is better than I have found on most modern cruise chips, in fact she puts all of them to shame!
I enjoyed two cruises on her as MV Athena as she is was then named, from Australia to Portsmouth, U.K., for 39 and 40 nights, in 2011 and 2012, and these voyages were so good that I had rebooked another for November 2012 from Marseilles, France back to Australia, but sadly an amazing man the owner of “Classic Cruises International” Mr. George P. Potamianos, one of the world’s most respected passenger and cruise ship owner’s and operator suddenly passed away on May 29, 2012, whilst I was aboard the wonderful Athena on the way to Portsmouth! His two sons took over, but they rapidly sent the company into liquidation. But let us now go back to the early days of the company, and go right through, where the MS Stockholm is today, for as of 20018, she is indeed still sailing, and will be in 2019 as well! That is an amazing an amazing 71 years after she commenced service as the Stockholm in 1948, making her the oldest motor passenger ship in continued operation!
Maritime Historian, Author & Maritime Lecturer.
Commenced in the passenger shipping industry in May 1960.
“Rederie Sverige Nordamerika” became known as the “Swedish
American Line” in 1924 or “SAL” as they became
lovingly known, but this great company was originally founded by Mr. Wilhelm R.
Lundgren who saw an opening for a Swedish shipping line as the country had
witnessed a vast number of migrants heading for
in 1915 SAL decided to officially establish a Trans-Atlantic service and thus
they obtained the fifteen-year old Holland-America Line, Harland & Wolff
built liner, the SS Potsdam and they renamed her
The 12,600-ton SS Stockholm departed for SAL’s first voyage from Gothenburg to
of the ex HAL Potsdam,
Author’s private collection
In 1922 she was converted for oil firing by Gotawerken whilst at the same time her funnel was shortened and she received a good number of other refurbishments making her an even better ship than before!
However, very soon SAL decided to build several new liners on a more grand luxury style, the first was the superb MS Gripsholm in 1925, followed by the mighty MS Kungsholm in 1928. Both ships set new standards at sea with their super luxurious interiors making SAL a popular line with the Americans!
MS Gripsholm is seen here in 1950
MS Kungsholm seen here in 1931
by the time the Gripsholm set sail in 1925, with the
changes that had set in, the migrant trade had sadly dropped significantly and
therefore SAL had to look for new markets and they soon realized that there was
an excellent market available to them transporting Swedish and other
Scandinavian families to visit their relatives in North America, as well as
bringing those who had migrated to the
But then there was that other market that had been gaining great popularity in the United States and that was holiday cruises to the warmer climes, thus SAL decided to add regular series of cruises from New York during the winter season when the weather on the Atlantic was too bad and the Caribbean was just warm and perfect for a vacation!
At first one of their ships would operate
Trans Atlantic services during the summer months and cruises during the winter
months. These new services became so successful and popular that soon it became
two ships operating the cruise service. Having entered the cruise services, SAL
found themselves once again a financial success, something just operating on
But, like everything, all too soon trouble struck again as WWII would end SAL prosperity for their liners like ships of all other companies and nations had to enter the war duties as required, mostly as troopers or hospital ships.
before to the war, in the mid thirties SAL decided to replace the old
MS Stockholm II seen prior to her being launched
Stockholm II seen having been launched- Note her mast forward of the Bridge
The Stockholm II was launched on May 28, 1938, however close to her completion on December 19, the liner caught fire due to an electrical fault and she was completely burned out and gutted, and she was declared a total wreck. Sadly it was decided to have this superb ship scrapped.
MS Stockholm III was started immediately after the destruction of Stockholm II and she was launched on March 10, 1940. She was 29,307 tons, 675 ft long x 83.3 ft wide, a motor ship with triple-screws, a capacity for 1,350 passengers in three classes.
MS Stockholm III seen at her launching – She was almost identical to her forerunner, but there were differences
Including, this ship having a full mast forward
Above & below MS Stockholm III seen during her sea trails in October 1941
was completed in October of 1941. However, with the extended delays and a war
now in full swing, SAL decided against taking delivery of the liner, and as the
Italians were extremely short of ships thus the Italians were happy to take her
and renamed her MS Sabaudia. She entered the Italian
service as a troop ship. However sadly in July 1944
she was hit during a British air raid at
Here we see the beautifully designed and sleek yacht-like MS Stockholm as built in 1948
Please Note: When I first wrote MS Stockholm’s history I was unable to state, that certain information contained herein was obtained from one of the SAL’s ex executives but for reason’s of his own he did not wish to be known, although sadly he has now passed away and I will still not name him. However, I am more than grateful to this wonderful man for I am well aware that he had great visions for his company, although he certainly did not always agree with all the decisions that were made. Therefore details below are as we say “from the horses’ mouth” and are thus 100% correct, even though I have been challenged in the past on certain issues, but be assured all contained herein have been verified!
With World War II
finally over, SAL was in great need of a new Trans-Atlantic liner for their
However, the many of the executives felt that
a new direction should be thought about and that a more modern and a smaller
ship should be considered at that time. The main reason for this being the ever
growing popularity of air travel, which had seen a huge decline in ocean travel
and thus the executives thought it wiser to build a smaller and a more intimate
ship that offered a more smart casual atmosphere that would be more suitable
and able to cater to all age groups. In spite of these decisions believe me
there were many objections from certain executives both in
In October 1944 the task of building their new liner was given to the “Gotawerken shipyards” in Gothenburg and her keel was laid down April 1945 in Yard 611. But, no sooner had building commenced a number of ongoing problems seemed to follow her. Due to a number of strikes, the laying of her keel had been delayed for some two months. Problems continued right up to the moment when she was to be launched on September 9, 1946. For some reason it took a long time, and great deal of trouble before she was able to start her journey down the slipway towards the water. It was said that it was “a bad omen.” In relation to that last statement; to be quite frank, this wonderful ship is still afloat and sailing to this day in 2014 and she is in superb condition, I have personally sailed on a number of times. Thus as she is still sailing, I would call her a very lucky ship and certainly not a ship that was supposed to commenced her life with a “bad omen”. But more on her current days later!
On September 9, 1946 we finally see the long awaited new MS Stockholm IV in the water
MS Stockholm IV was delivered to SAL on February 7, 1948, and it was obvious to all who saw her that she was very a different ship to all previous SAL ships. The Swedish America Line ships had established a reputation of grandiose decorations and spacious passenger accommodations, whilst the new Stockholm was, due to her size, rather intimate and she certainly lacked the over the top décor of the previous SAL liners, however in her diminutive simplicity she was still wonderfully tasteful in her design and décor.
With her superbly raked bow and
cruiser stern the 525 foot (160 meter)
being a small ship, yet at the time she was the largest ship ever built in
Stockholm departs Gothenburg on her maiden voyage for
February 21, 1948 the
I must say however that the poor Stockholm did
encounter one of the worst possible winter storms imaginable and the movement
of the ship was extremely wild, and as I have been told by one passenger who
was on board that voyage “She pitched and rolled so wildly at times and
then suddenly she would move and heave totally unpredictably the other way as a
huge wave would hit the ship.” Tragically one passenger died during this
storm on the
A superb aerial view of the sleek looking MS Stockholm
a few voyages during a terrible 1948 winter, the American’s hailed her as
being “The Worst Roller on the
However, in spite of the
is an illustration of the
Thus, it is obvious, that there was something very special about this delightfully small and intimate ship, that obviously the American management had completely missed and they simply could not see the possibilities that she had in her! Whilst they were so busy thinking about her size and the grandeur of the other ships, they forgot about that special appeal that the Stockholm had, such as her beautifully sleek exteriors, for her superb curved bow gave her those long elegant sleek lines and the American SAL office were surprised that she became such a sought after cruise ship! The American public simply took to this yacht-like ship, for one she just looked the part and she was more like an oversized private yacht and internally she had obviously been built for relaxation and comfort rather than the usual over the top luxury that suited the needs of the cruising public perfectly!
Page Two contains a photo album of her interiors. A link is located at the bottom of the page.
In the late forties the Swedish America Line realized they were in need of new tonnage and had their architects lay down plans for a new ship, the 21,141 GRT MS Kungsholm. The order was placed with the Dutch Shipyard De Schelde in The Netherlands and she was completed on October 9, 1953. With the success of the Kungsholm SAL decided to build a slightly larger version in 1954 and ordered the 23,191 GRT MS Gripsholm, to be built by the Italian Ansaldo Shipyards. She was completed and delivered in April 1957. With the arrival of these two elegant sleek twin funnelled liners, Swedish America Line had returned to their old days of operating modern large ships with their famed superior accommodations and grandiose public venues.
MS Kungsholm of 1953
MS Gripsholm of 1957
Photographer unknown; *Please read the photo notes at bottom of the page
the Stockholm IV may have been the “odd ship” on the
She is seen here after her 1952/53 renovations and her forward extensions
more importantly, late in 1955 the
A postcard made after her 1955/56 renovations showing her new forward upper level superstructure
Italia Lines elegant 29,082 ton T/N (SS) Andrea Doria
stylish Italia Line TS Andrea Doria was built by S.
What made this maritime disaster different from all others is the fact that it was the very first that a well known Trans-Atlantic liner sinking could be seen on black and white TV throughout the United States and around the globe as the images slowly spread to counties that had TV in those early days of television. Thus it was the first major maritime disaster that was viewed by the masses from the comfort of their lounges and that alone made it so much more shocking!
Sadly what many were not aware of is that the
Andrea Doria was a ship with a number of problems,
even before she commenced her voyage from
She departed with one of the company’s older ships the 1927 built MS Saturnia, which sailed close behind her but was nowhere near her when the collision occurred. The Andrea Doria besides a good number of other problems, she also suffered from poor stability problems from the day she undertook her deep sea trails and the combination of her poor stability and steering problems at the time of the collision obviously proved to be decisive factors and her eventual sinking, not to forget her watertight doors not being able to work effectively.
MS Stockholm departed
Received from an unnamed SAL contributor
The main picture shows the 3rd Mate Carsens Johannsen – Inset is helmsman Peter Larsen
to a variety of errors, the vast majority being due to an error made by the
master of the Andrea Doria
Due to a variety of errors, the vast majority being due to an error made by the master of the Andrea DoriaCaptain Piero Calamai who made a gave the order to turn to port, when he should have gone to starboard, according to Maritime Law when it is obvious that there is a ship close at hand, then at around 11:10 to 11.20 pm, on this foggy night in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nantucket, the MS Stockholm and the Italian liner collided in what was to become one of the most talked about maritime disasters of the time, considering it was the world’s very first televised maritime disasters.
Although the vast majority of passengers and crew survived the collision, the much larger Andrea Doria tragically capsized and sank the next morning. Due to the collision lifeboats on the portside none of these were unusable. However, other ships in the region rapidly responded and provided assistance, which averted a large loss of life.
The court case later revealed that experienced Captain Piero Calamai and his officers aboard Andrea Doria had certainly used improper procedures, including the use of their radar. But obviously, the worse incident was that Captain Calamai ordered that stupid illegal turn to port (the left) just moments prior to the collision with the Stockholm, rather than heading to starboard (the right), which is the official “rule of the road” whenever there is a ship ahead or close by.
The Stockholm knew from their radar that they were running parallel and that there was no danger whatsoever, until that turn, and 3rd Mate Carsens Johannsen, after the collision continually asked, “Why did they turn, why did they do that,” but, neither his Captain nor anyone answered, for they were all to busy on the bridge! Carsens went into a daze for he just could not figure out why anyone could possibly have turned their ship to port? As the Andrea Doria was still sailing at full speed ahead at a good 22.5 knots, even though they were in fog, when the collision occurred they were unable to bring their ship to a full stop for many miles. As the Stockholm’s bow had pierced the Andrea Doria the forepeak had simply been torn off, not just because of the piercing, for she has a double one inch steel ice strengthened hull, but it was torn off by the speed of the Andrea Doria as she raced ahead.
As can be
through all the pain and loss of life there was one rather miraculous case and
this is the story of the girl that became known as the “Miracle
Girl” for good reason! It is the story of 14-year-old Linda Morgan who
was on board the Andrea Doria with her Mother, Mrs.
Jane Cianfarra, who had married for the second time
to Mr. Camille Cianfarra and they had cabin 54 on
Upper Deck. Linda and her sister Joan were in the adjoining cabin next-door
number 52. Linda’s birth Father was a Mr. Edward P. Morgan, and Linda was
Apparently when the Stockholm struck the Andrea Doria, her bow slid just under Linda’s bed and somehow she was catapulted onto the Foc’sle of the Stockholm, and she lay just behind a sea breaker that was about 1 ½ ft high and was the full width of the ship. Although the forward section of the bow had now gone, she would have been a good 80 ft behind where the peak of the bow would have been.
Of course no one was on the top, but below
looking for survivors as there were crew quarters in the forward section of the
ship and sadly five crewmembers were lost and others were injured. However, one
thirty six year old Spanish cleaner Bernabe Polanco Garcia, felt he needed some fresh air and went up
out on deck, and far forward, suddenly he heard a girl cry and calling for her
mother. It seemed to come from near the wreckage on the bow section. He got
onto his hands and knees and followed the sound and discovered a girl in yellow
pyjamas. She looked at him and said in Spanish, “Dondé
Está Mamá?” - “Were is she?” He asked amazed at her being there, for
at the time he thought that she must have been one of the
In the meantime, her mother Jane was clinging to dear life in part of cabin that was still left and rescue attempts were still underway. Thankfully she was saved, whilst sadly during the early stages tragically she did hear her husband Camille Cianfarra sigh his very last breath as he died. In addition Linda’s half sister Joan also lost her life as her bed was directly in line of the approaching bow, whereas Linda was simply in the right place, as if by a miracle!
“Miracle girl” Linda Morgan in hospital, with her Father Edward P.
Morgan standing on the left is
“New York Post” archives
the Stockholm was partially crippled for quite some time, due to one of her
anchor cables having gone down and had anchored itself somehow on the sea bed,
but worse still there were three of Stockholm’s crew attached to the
chain and they had been somehow pulled underwater. As soon as they were able to
raise the chain, the
map of the collision area and showing the
the Andrea Doria had sent out SOS signals, three
ships had responded and were on their way, for no one knew if the
the Andrea Doria had sent out SOS signals, three
ships had responded and were on their way, for no one knew if the
The first vessel to arrive was the United Fruit Company freighter Cape Ann which arrived at 12.30 AM taking aboard 129 survivors, next to arrive was the US Navy transport ship the W.H. Thomas at 1.15 AM taking aboard 158 survivors and then at 1.30 AM, the French Lines grand luxury passenger liner the Ile de France arrived at the scene and she took a 758 survivors on board. The last to arrive was the Destroyer Escort E.H. Allen arriving at 5.10 AM and took on board 77 survivors; however she received a relayed SOS at 2.10 AM.
As we have already learned, the
Andrea Doria is seen here from the decks of the
Above & below: The ship lists to starboard and then at 1009 hrs on July 26, 1956 the once magnificent Andrea Doria
Capsizes to starboard and less than 38 minutes later she succumbs and sinks bow first to the bottom of the ocean
The TN Andrea Doria perished 10 hours and 47 minutes after the collision; as here we see the sad moment when Andrea Doria slipped under the waves.
In respect, the
Obviously the return voyage meant that there
would be quite some tension for many on board, considering
We need to remember that at this time the
Obviously, many survivors, as well as Captain Piero Calamai had already arrived
a day earlier and made statements to the media and had mostly blamed the
At first Italia Line approached SAL for an out of court settlement, which SAL obviously rejected, knowing well that the collision was caused due to negligence by a member of the crew, this case being the Italian Captain himself. Thus the case went to court.
During the long court case it was revealed
that officers aboard the Andrea Doria had used
improper radar procedures, and that a decision had been made which resulted for
the ship to turn suddenly to port (the left) moments prior to the collision,
rather than to starboard (the right) which would have been protocol, or as it
is known the official maritime law of the “rule of the road” when a
ship is close by and in the circumstances as they were shown on the radar on
board the Andrea Doria at the time! Even though due
to the fog, visibility was poor and it did not help the situation that night,
especially for the Andrea Doria as she was still in
the fog band, whilst the
Thus we have seen some of the main reasons how and why the collision came about, but there were other facts that the enquiry later revealed, and some of these were as follows;
1, the Andrea Doria departed her homeport with a problem, and this happened to be as we know with her steering gear. 2, tragically some of the watertight bulkheads on board Andrea Doria proved to be non-operational at the time, and thus she flooded rapidly and she sunk some 10 hours later, which she may not have done had they been fully operational.
3, however the
enquiry also decided that the
Having taken in considerations of all the facts, the judgment deemed that the Captain of the Andrea Doria, but in other words Italia Line, would have to take the major share of the blame, considering the many errors that were made on board that Andrea Doria considering the many other problems the ship had.
Although there were 40 (some state 46) lives lost from the Italian liner, thankfully the vast majority of passengers and crew survived the horrid collision.
PS: Most of the senior crew of the Andrea Doria developed various problems especially the captain and sadly all vanished into obscurity, whereas the Swedish captain and his crew were mostly promoted in due course and continued with successful careers.
Italia Line was to pay for
Second Officer Lars Enestrom takes a good look at the damaged bow of his ship in dry-dock
Soon she would be like new again and back at sea!
MS Stockholm is seen here in her final days with additional extensions on her fore Promenade deck
Ordered on: October 1944.
Launched & named: September 9, 1946.
Delivered: February 7, 1948.
21, 1948 – Gothenburg /
IMO No: 5383304.
Gross Tonnage: 11,650 GRT / 4,700 DW – (12,644 GRT / 4,800 DW in 1952).
Length: 160.8m – 525.2ft.
Breadth: 21.4m – 69ft.
Draft: 7.9m – 25.11ft.
Main Engine: 2 x Gotawerken diesel engines, 2-stroke/single acting, 8-cylinders.
Total power of 12.000 BHP (8,900 kW).
In 1989 she received - 2 x 8 Cylinder Wartsila Diesels.
Propellers: 2 X 12,000 BHP.
Speed: 19 knots max.
Stabilizers: no – (yes 1952).
Passenger Lifts: Two.
Passenger Capacity: 113 First Class and 282 Tourist Class (1948).
86 First Class and 584 Tourist Class (1952).
24 First Class and 584 Tourist Class (1956).
Crew: 220 / 330.
In March/April 2011, whilst on a cruise from Australia to England on MV Athena being the ships then name, which will be covered later in the Stockholm’s history, I met a delightful couple Mr and Mrs Knutzelius and Mr. Nils Knutzelius was kind enough to give me a flip top match packet that came from a voyage undertaken by his mother Mrs. Wilga Knutzelius and her children Hans (7), Nils (7) and Marianne (2) sailing from Gothenburg to New York in January 1949. The unusual thing is that this little packet opens at the top - thus opening somewhat like a V shape - rather than the typical flip over style lid like of the modern style matches found on ships in days gone and those still available. I recall that matches used to be real collectors item in days gone by. Sadly I cannot recall, which of the aforementioned children was the actual child passenger on board the MS Stockholm, but I am most grateful for their kind gift!
you to Mr and Mrs
Thank you to Mr and MrsNils Knutzelius for providing this delightful item of memorabilia
Then during my next cruise to England on the M/V Athena which departed on April 14, 2012, my dear friend and Maitre D’ Hotel, Mr. Nicolae Arba was so kind as to present me with a most treasured copy of a “Farewell Dinner” Menu from one of Stockholm’s voyages dated March 8, 1949, being just over one year after she commenced her maiden voyage on February 21, 1948.
The cover has a beautiful painting by the famed Swedish Admiral - J. Hägg, showing the East Indiaman - “Wasa” sailing outbound from Gothenburg in 1803. The superb menu is in pristine condition!
Front cover of the Menu, which was kindly given to the author by M/V Athena’s ex Stockholm Maitre D’ Hotel Nicolae Arba
The interior of the Menu
Back cover with space for Autographs
With grateful thanks to M/V Athena’s Maitre D’ Hotel Mr. Nicolae Arba
Having been placed on the market by SAL and after several failed bids she was eventually sold on May 15, 1959 to the East German “Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund” being an East German Trade Union Movement Organisation who would place her in operation as a fulltime cruise ship for workers.
Postcard of the MS Völkerfreundschaft
she received a comprehensive refit she was renamed the MS Völkerfreundschaft
(the Peoples Friend Ship) on January 3, 1960 and she commenced to operate as a
simple down to earth Trade Union Soviet cruise ship and she did so very
successfully. She mainly visited various Eastern bloc countries as well as
At times she was chartered by Stena Line who obtained her at various times from 1966, and
thus whilst she was with them the ex
During her time with the Soviets she had a
relatively uneventful life under Communist control, however occasionally she
would hit the headlines in Western newspapers after some of her crew and even
passengers jumped ship in a bid to avoid to returning their
In 1974 the Völkerfreundschaft
was transferred to the management of VEB Deutfracht-Seerederei.
Stena Line even undertook a special charter as they
took the Völkerfreundschaft on a 33-day Caribbean
Original postcard of the MS Völkerfreundschaft
MS Völkerfreundschaft seen towards the end of her career
April 1985 she was sold to “Neptunus Rex
Enterprises” and her name was shortened to Volker (People) and she was
laid up at Holmestrand until December 8 when she
we see the MS Voker in
Photographer unknown: *Please read the photo notes at bottom of the page
Finally in December the next year
the Volker which had been chartered by Norwegian interests to become an
accommodation ship for refugees and she was renamed Fridtjof
Nansen. She was made ready and on December 20, 1986 she departed Southampton
Above & two images below: The Fridtjof Nansen is seen here as a refugee accommodation ship
Photograph above was taken by & © Hans Jurgen Amberg
Two images below: Photographer unknown: *Please read the photo notes at bottom of the page
years later, May 1989, she was officially sold to the famed Italian Star Lauro
Lines (ex Flotta Lauro Lines) who were going to refit this unique liner into a
luxury cruise ship, but considering she was still under charter until 1993 as the Fridtjof Nansen they decided to leave
her in Oslo. She was
By 1994 she had already been renamed MV Italia
Prima and it had been decided to completely rebuild her by striping her down to
her magnificent solid steel riveted ice strengthened hull and they rebuilt her
into an elegant looking luxury cruise ship! Thus, only the
Here we see the ship stripped down to her hull
Photographer unknown: *Please see the photo notes at bottom of the the page
From an Italian newspaper clipping
She was blessed with a fine range of elegant and spacious, as well as more intimate public rooms. She featured some superb décor with a great deal of Italian marble, art and touches of brass and chrome. In her delightful larger lounges located toward the aft with a long curved bar on the starboard side, there is a superb small Atrium feature that goes down one floor to the Main Lobby. In the centre is a superb blue to white staggered glass column that is lit from within, with two curved staircases on either side a huge mirrored backdrop and other feature that makes this one of the highlight features of the ship! The décor on board was especially designed by the famed Italian interior designer Giuseppe de Jorio.
The Sirenes Bar and Piano Lounge on MV Athena seen in 2011, but it is much the same as it was in 1995
Photograph © by the Author
Her accommodations are all excellent and spacious. But amazingly this ship features some of the most spacious bathrooms you will find on almost any cruise ship these days. For every single cabin on board has a full bath with an overhead shower, the floor and basin tops are covered in beautiful Italian marble, and each bathroom, no matter the grade even has a bidet! All Suites, Junior Suites or Veranda Suites also have a Spa bath as well as many other extras.
Although the Italia Prima now looked like a
modern cruise ship, somehow she still retained those beautiful classic lines of
wonderful view of the beautiful MV
The completed Italia Prima was placed under the management of Nina Cia. di Navigazione who managed her from 1995 to 2002, including chartering her out to various other travel and cruise companies.
Cruise Editor Mark H. Goldberg from
TravelPage.com said in a review regarding the Italia Prima after her
completion. “Nina Cruises transformed the ex
Personally I felt that he said this perfectly for this Maritime historian, who has been in passenger shipping since 1960, I believe that this is truly a unique ship that deserves to sail on and she remains a “swan riding the waters” even in 2012!!
Note the largest “Duck Tail” ever fitted to the stern of a ship!
the mid 1997 the now 16,144 ton Italia Prima conducted her first around the
world voyage for the German travel company Neckermann
Seereisen, which included inaugural visits to
Australian ports including Sydney. Thankfully, the author was invited on board
for a tour and to have a delicious luncheon. I found her facilities to be a
delight as were her excellent public rooms and the accommodations were modern
and superbly equipped. In those days she was rated as a 4.5 Star luxury cruise
postcard obtained by the author whilst on board MV Italia Prima in
following two items, a plate and an ashtray were all on board the original MV
Italia Prima; however it was remarkably how they have survived for so long, and
they are still used on board the ship to this very day. I found them again on
Above and below: the plate and ashtray were photographed by the author whilst on MV Italia Prima in April-May 1997
MV Valtur Prima - 1998 to 2002:
MV Valtur Prima
1998 the Italia Prima was chartered to Valtur Tourist
Organization and for this charter she was renamed MV Valtur
Prima with her name placed all over her hull, however this operation was a
relatively short lived as it concluded in 2001 when she was laid up in
2002 Festival Cruise Line purchased the ship and renamed her Caribe she operated voyages to
ship was once again obtained by her original Italian owners Nina Cia. di Navigazione
on January 17, 2005 who renamed her Athena and she was quickly chartered by the
famed Portuguese, Arcalia Shipping who placed her in
their Classic International Cruises (CIC) fleet. Having given her an extensive
The Athena is seen at French Reunion on April 24, 2012
Photograph © by my ssmaritime associate Mr. Hun-Eng Tan
In 2008 she was
purchased outright by the company and was registered in
The Athena was a popular ship whilst she sailed out of Western Australia’s port of Fremantle (Perth) and I sailed on her from Fremantle Western Australia to Portsmouth England via the Suez Canal on March 6, 2011 and again via South Africa on April 14, 2012 I have written an extensive six page review that includes countless photographs of all her facilities and accommodations. A link is found below.
Author on the starboard wing of the
Photograph © by my ssmaritime associate Mr. Hun-Eng Tan
classic liner, now the modern M/V Athena seen berthed
Photograph by & © 2011 Reuben Goossens
MV Athena’s previous owner CIC due to the much loved and admired CEO and founder (1975) having sadly passed away in May of 2012 and his twin sons having taken over the company, sadly the company went into ruin very quickly and into liquidation by the end of the year with all the company ships arrested.
The Athena was sold at auction and Portuscale Cruises of Lisbon obtained her early in 2013 and she was renamed the Azores, but she remained in layup for a long time, for the company had also obtained the Portuguese 1960 built ship the MS Funchal, and she was the first to be completely refitted and modified and she commenced cruising in December 2013. The Athena had been renamed the Azores, a ship I sailed on for 81 days on two cruises, she received a minor refurbishment and commenced cruising, under a charter agreement by the German “AMBIENTE Kreuzfahrten” and she commenced with them on March 10, 2014.
Here we see the MS Azores in her new livery
A Portuscale Cruises promotion Image
However, the MV Azores operated for just until the end of 2015 as Portuscale was a hotel & resort based company and had little to no shipping experience, and the made countless errors, thus by the end of 2015 their ships were laid up and placed on the market.
The ship was obtained by the parent company of the very popular British “Cruise & Maritime Voyages” and they renamed her the “Astoria,: and she commenced operation after another refit out of Britain in 2016 and is sailing untill this very day in 2018, and the magnificent Astoria is scheduled for operations throughout 2019, that is an amazing 71 years after she commenced her Maiden Voyage as the MS Stockholm!
Here we see the simply sublimely beautiful MV Astoria a ship with an amazing history
yet she is one of the best maintained ship on the Seven Seas!
This page has covered the MS Stockholm history, as well as part of her transformation into an amazing luxury cruise ship, and her later incarnations. The next Page is a Photo Page, which I am sure you will enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: This photo page covers the interiors and exteriors of the three stages of this fine ship …
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Photographs on ssmaritime.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!
This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displayed on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
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