The veteran Astoria started her late 2018 operations for Cruise and Maritime Voyages at the end of August and made history by becoming the largest cruise ship to have ever sailed from the Port of Poole as well as the first CMV call at the Dorset port.

Now in her 70th year having originally been built in 1948 as Swedish America Lines’ Stockholm, the ship was made famous by her 25 July 1956 collision with the Andrea Doria which sent the Italian liner to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Since heavily rebuilt from the hull upwards, the 160m, 550-passenger Astoria arrived at Poole’s South Quay in ballast from Le Havre on 31 August 2018 and sailed fully-booked that afternoon to view the Bournemouth Air Show from Poole Bay before heading back to Northern France.

Astoria will make several autumn 2018 and spring/summer 2019 cruises from Poole which would not have been possible until the completion of the £10million South Quay earlier this year which can handle vessels up to 200m in length. Another possible first for Poole occurred three days later when two cruise ships were in port on the same day, the 98-passenger Corinthian joining Astoria on 3 September. Kevin Mitchell