The Oldest Cruise Ship in The World has An Eventful History


Many ships of the world have historical importance, without any doubt. The oldest cruise ship in the world is no alternative to it. It is the witness of significant history.

Astoria set sail for the first time after three years of the Second World War. The oldest cruise ship in the world has sailed under the flags of many shipping companies.

Now “Astoria” faces an uncertain future. According to the shipping portal “Tradewinds“, the owner will sell it after 75 years of service.

The Oldest Cruise Ship in The World
Pjotr MahhoninCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the International Ships Register of S&P Global, the ship is on the list of breaking. That would mean scrapping.

But, the owner of the world’s oldest ocean-going cruise ship denies that and said it is the end of its career.

One thing is sure the forthcoming sale is another change for the vessel. It has experienced an eventful history in its 75 years.

Eventful History The Oldest Cruise Ship

The Swedish shipyard Götaverken built the vessel. In 1948 Stockholm, the name of that time made its maiden voyage from Gothenburg to New York. It has a bow reinforced against ice.

It was usable for transatlantic cruises between Sweden and the USA. July 25, 1956, was the most famous day in the history of Stockholm was momentous.

After leaving the port of New York, the vessel collided with a much larger vessel. The collision happened with the Italian passenger vessel “Andrea Doria” around midnight in the fog.

While only the bow of the Stockholm faced the damage, the “Andrea Doria” sank. The famous shipwreck cost the lives of a total of 51 people.

The majority of the passengers and crew survived the collision. But the Andrea Doria luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning.

Fifty percent of Andrea Doria’s lifeboats were unusable. But, many vessels, including SS Ile de France, responded and provided help. It averted a massive loss of life.

The German singer Udo Lindenberg even published a song in 1973 that was about Andrea Doria. And it was partly about the accident.

The Authority Sold Stockholm to the GDR

Even after that, things continued to be eventful for the vessel because it was also usable for the GDR. The shipping company Swedish American Line sold it in 1960.

They sold it to the Deutsche Seereederei, the state shipping company of the GDR. Then the name of the ship changed for the first time.

Instead of Stockholm, it was famous as the Friendship of Nations. Until 1985 it sailed under the flag of the German Democratic Republic.

It served as a vessel for holiday trips approved by the GDR government. On one of these trips, the “Friendship of Nations” broke through the American blockade line.

It broke the line around Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. It brought vacationers to the island unharmed.

The Cruise Ship is under Ten other Names

The GDR sold the vessel to the Panamanian company Neptunus Rex Enterprise. Since then, it has seen frequent name and owner changes.

These were the different names of the passenger cruiser:

  • Volker (1985–1986)
  • Fridtjof Nansen (1986-1989)
  • Surriento (1989–1992)
  • Italy I (1993)
  • Italia Prima (1993–2000)
  • Valtur Prima (2000–2003)
  • Caribbean (2003-2005)
  • Athena (2005–2012)
  • Azores (2013–2016)
  • Astoria (since 2016)

The ship belonged to the British shipping company Cruise & Maritime Voyages. It uses the vessel in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean – in 2016, it was then famous as Astoria.

This magnificent vessel served thousands of people without any doubt. Many people will remember the role of this legendary water vessel in their life.

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