MS Royal Iris

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Haifa 6666-1.jpg
Royal Iris (right) docked at Haifa.
History
Name:
  • 1971–1975: Eagle
  • 1975–1987: Azur
  • 1987–2004: The Azur
  • 2004: Eloise
  • 2005–2014: Royal Iris
  • 2014–2017: Roy Star
  • 2017 onwards: Knyaz Vladimir
Owner: 2017 onwards: Black Sea Cruises
Operator:
Port of registry:
Builder: Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France
Yard number: 123
Launched: October 16, 1970
Completed: May 16, 1971
Identification:
Status: out of service
General characteristics (per shipparade.com)
Tonnage: 14,717 gross tonnage (GT)
Length: 142.12 m (466 ft)[3]
Beam: 21.90 m (72 ft)
Speed: 18 knots
Capacity: 770
Crew: 325
Notes: [4]
General characteristics (after reclassification)
Tonnage: 9,159 GT,[3] 2,085 DWT[1]

MS Royal Iris is a 1971 built car ferry/cruise ferry which was later rebuilt into a cruise ship in 1981. She is the last surviving ship ever owned by the Chandris Lines. She is the last surviving ship out of three near identical sisters, the others being the ill-fated Scandinavian Star and the Fred. Olsen & Co. ferry Bolero. In late 2014, Mano Cruise stopped the ship's service.

1971-1987[edit]

In 1971, the British company Southern Ferries, a subsidiary of P&O Ferries, launched the MV Eagle for a new car/cruise ferry service, a six-day-long Southampton-Lisbon-Tangier itinerary.[5] She did not stay in service with her original owners for very long, as the route she was designed for proved unsuccessful, and in 1975 she was sold to the Paquet Cruises subsidiary Nouvelle Cie. de Paquebots. Her new owners had her repainted white and renamed Azur, carrying out cruise and ferry voyages in the Mediterranean. This continued on uneventfully until 1981 when Paquet decided to drop ferry services completely and rebuild Azur into a full-time cruise ship, with many extra cabins being built into her car decks, and an extra swimming pool installed on her stern. In 1987 Paquet sold Azur to the Greek cruise company Chandris Lines.[6]

1987-2004[edit]

The Azur in Genoa, Italy 2001.

Upon entering service with Chandris's subsidiary Chandris Fantasy Cruises, she was renamed The Azur, and her funnels were painted the traditional Chandris blue with a white chi. By 1994 Chandris was "phasing out" their Fantasy Cruises brand, doing so by selling The Azur to Festival Cruises. Festival had The Azur cruise on voyages out of Venice and Genoa until they declared bankruptcy in 2004.[7] When this happened The Azur was placed under arrest by harbor authorities Gibraltar. At Festival Cruises bankruptcy sale, The Azur was sold to the Israel-based Mano Maritime for over USD $10 million.

2005-Present[edit]

Upon entering service for them, Mano Maritime renamed her the Royal Iris and painted a smiling yellow fish on both sides of her hull.[8] On 21 June 2005 a small fire broke out on board while the ship was anchored of Samos. It was quickly extinguished by the crew. Until 2014 Royal Iris regularly set out on cruises through the Greek Islands and Cyprus. In 2014 Mano Cruises stopped the ship's operations, and renamed it to Roy Star. The liner arrived in the Greek port of Chalcis (Chalkida) for lay up on November 6, 2014.[9] On 28 January 2017 Cruise Industry News reported that the vessel would enter into service for Sovfracht and Rosmorport in a joint venture calling on ports in the Black Sea including Crimea, Yalta, Sevastopol and Istanbul, with the ship sailing round-trip from Sochi.[10] Ship was bought for around 11.2 million euros. A new company was founded "Black Sea Cruises" based in Sochi. The ship has Russian flag.[11]

On board features[edit]

On board Royal Iris there are three swimming pools, two night clubs, a discotheque, sauna, sports facilities, a casino, hairdressing salon and movie theater.[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]