Portuscale Cruises is the new trading name of the owner of four of the former Classic International ships, acquired recently from the mortgage holders. Their first move saw the long-running refit of Funchal resumed, and it now seems likely that the 1961-built former Portuguese liner will be back in service in the near future.

The first of the arrested ships to arrive back in Lisbon was Arion, on 15 March. Princess Danae eventually sailed from Marseille after months of inactivity while under arrest and arrived in Lisbon on 22 April. Athena (1948/16,144gt) appears to be the first ship to return to service, as Astoria, chartered to Royal Caravella Cruise Lines, a Russian operator, for service mainly in the Black and Aegean Seas, although she will venture as far as the Western Mediterranean while with the company, where she is expected to stay until at least January 2015.

Both Arion (1965/5,888gt) and Princess Danae (1955/16,531gt) will be fully refurbished and given new names before being placed back into the charter market, but it is likely that they will not return to service until 2014.


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