Classic International Cruises

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Classic International Cruises
Industry Cruise line
Founded 1985
Defunct 20 December 2012 (2012-12-20)
Headquarters Neutral Bay, Australia
Area served
Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa[1]
Services Cruises
Owner World Cruises Agency

Classic International Cruises was a British-Australian owned shipping company operating five luxury cruise ships, most notably their flagship, the rebuilt ocean liner MS Athena.[2] The company only operated cruise ships that are former ocean liners, the classic ships of their day (hence the company's name).


Their first ship, MV Funchal

Classic International Cruises was seemingly founded in 1985, with the purchase of the MV Funchal as the Arcalia Shipping Company Ltd, which eventually became Classic International. They operated the one ship until 1994, when they bought the Princess Danae. The Princess Danae entered service with an all-white hull and a sailing ship logo on her funnel. Funchal was given a yellow and blue striped funnel and a white hull, but by 2000 her livery was changed to what now all Classic International ships have.[3] Since 2000 they have purchased 3 ships, Arion, Athena and Princess Daphne, the near-identical sister of Princess Danae.[4] With their main headquarters in Neutral Bay, Australia, the company also has several branches based in Paris, France, Piraeus, Greece, Lisbon, Portugal, Stockholm, Sweden, and London, England.[5]

Due to unpaid bills by the line, the company's four ships, Princess Danae, Princess Daphne, Athena & Arion have all been arrested, the only ship not arrested is the Funchal which is laid up pending refurbishment for SOLAS.[6][7][8]

On 20 December 2012, it was resolved to place the company into liquidation.[9]

In the beginning of 2013, the recently created cruise company Portuscale Cruises, led by the Portuguese entrepreneur Rui Alegre, bought Princess Danae, Athena, Arion and Funchal, assuming as well the liabilities of Classic International Cruises.[10]


The MS Athena unloading waste.
Ship Built In service Tonnage Status as of 2015
Funchal 1961 1985-2013 9,563 GRT Formerly a Portuguese passenger liner and presidential yacht. Transferred to Portuscale Cruises in 2013, keeping the same name, and currently in service.
MV Princess Danae 1955 1994-2013 16,335 GRT Rebuilt 1972, identical to Princess Daphne. Transferred to Portuscale Cruises in 2013 and renamed Lisboa, currently in dry-dock.
MS Arion 1965 1999-2013 5,888 GRT Originally Yugoslavian passenger ship MS Istra. In 2013, transferred to Portuscale Cruises and renamed Porto, laid up.
MS Athena 1948 2005-2013 10,603 GRT Originally Swedish ocean liner MS Stockholm, rebuilt 1994, under charter to Phoenix Reisen in 2009. In 2015, transferred to Cruise & Maritime Voyages and renamed Azores.
MV Princess Daphne 1955 2008-2013 15,833 GRT Rebuilt 1972, renamed Princess Daphne 2009, awaiting to be scrapped in Alang, India