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 Classic Ocean Voyages” 

With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer


Please Note: the sites of ssMaritime and Cruise-Australia are a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site and it is NOT associated with any cruise company, shipping or travel organisation! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise vacation anywhere n the world in the near future!

The Delightful Classic Style of the …

--Elegant and Intimate Luxury of the …--

MV Funchal

MV Funchal departs Lisbon on August 15 to undergo her sea trials

With her black hull and a yellow and a black top funnel just like she was in the 1960s

Classic Cruising is healthy and well in 2013/14 considering that the wonderful 1961 ex Portuguese liner that has been out of service for a number of years was purchased by a Portuguese Company who is completing the massive task rebuilding and refitting her.

Having been given updated bathrooms and light and bright spacious cabins, with her facilities greatly improved and her lounges are without a doubt just stunning, yet thankfully they retain that touch of old fashioned elegance with those touches of fine timbers, yet they are modern and light!

The MV Funchal has not just been refurbished, but she has been completely been overhauled as she has received all new electrical wiring throughout the ship. In fact everything had to be upgraded from down in the engine room to the safety equipment, which is now of the highest standards possible, but also up on the bridge there is new technology that ensures passenger and ship safety long into the future, for she had to be upgraded to a point far higher than most ships, being a classic ship in order to pass SOLAS and all her Safety Certificates! Obviously she passes with flying colours!

The MV Funchal has been superbly refitted, almost like an all new cruise ship as the photographs below will prove!

Funchal’s much beloved Porto Bar has been beautifully renewed and it has a more classic look!

All new Funchal images above were provided & copyright 2013 by Portuscale Cruises


Here we see an outside Premium Twin/Double bedded Cabin

Looking Back into SS Funchal’s History:

The MV Funchal was built as the SS Funchal in 1961, but she was first a steam ship and she was certainly a very popular liner, and she was even used as the prestigious Portuguese Presidential Yacht as she made a good number of voyages across the Atlantic making State visits to South and North America.

Here we see a very special Presidential Yacht Postcard

Postcard was kindly provided by Johan van der Zant – The Netherlands

In 1972 she was given those famed and very reliable Werkspoor diesels that just seem to go on and on! Having served as a liner but soon she commenced operating the occasional cruise, which proved to be very popular, and due to demand she received a rebuild and soon she was painted all white and she became one of the most successful cruise ships in history.

The Potamianos (CIC) Days:

Then in 1976 one of the most famous shipping magnates, Mr. George Potamianos chartered the MV Funchal to operate a series of cruises. Myself having been in the passenger shipping industry and managing the Greek, Chandris Lines and was a good a friend of Mr. Chandris, I came to know George Potamianos and knew well the Potamianos family shipping history that goes back to 1850, when they commenced the much loved and world famous Epirotiki Lines”. Thus, it stood to reason that the Funchal charter was going to be very successful and Mr. Potamianos certainly did not forget this wonderful small ship for just nine years later in 1985 he purchased her outright for his new cruise company.

The MV Funchal with the blue band and her yellow funnel that remained until 1994, thereafter

she received the white funnel with the CIC logo. She is seen here in a Norwegian Fjord in 1991

Photograph was originally provided by Classic International Cruises

Although obviously from a Greek background, Mr. Potamianos had a great love for Portuguese ships it was some ten years after he first chartered the Funchal, that in 1986 he turned to Portugal’s most beautiful and largest ever passenger line. This was the magnificent TSS Infante Dom Henrique that had suddenly come on the market and thus Mr. Potamianos decided to buy her and renamed his new SS Vasco de Gama. This ship was a huge success, but she was later sold to a company that had her under charter.

She is seen here as the cruise ship SS Vasco de Gama in Sydney

A Victor Scrivens photograph, from the Rich Turnwald collection

There is no doubt that the great George Petros Potamianos was a huge success story in the industry and he operated the great and wonderful Vasco de Gama and Funchal, and having sold the SS Vasco de Gama, he commenced to built his company with a total of five superb classic cruise ships, all of them being much loved by the cruising public! 1. The MV Funchal built in 1961 as SS Funchal. 2. The MV Athena built in 1948 as the MS Stockholm. 3. Princess Danae built in 1955 as the MS Port Melbourne. 4. Princess Daphne built in 1955 as the MS Port Sydney. 5. MV Arion built in 1965 as the MS Istra.

Having owned and operated Classic International Cruises since 1985, sadly, due to Mr. Potamianos’ passing in May 2012 and the company was taken over by his twin sons, who in the opinion of most shipping specialists; “brought the company to a tragic closure” for it was Mr. Potamianos who was trusted by the banks and financiers and certainly not his sons, who did little knowledge about the industry!

All ships had been arrested due to non-payments of fees and wages to crew, and they were sold in due course. Four of these ships are now owned by a company owned by a Mr. Rui Alegre who set up “Portuscale Cruises” who are spending countless millions on upgrading the MV Funchal and then three of the other ships they purchased. They are; the largest and the Grand Dame of the fleet the MV Athena, which has been renamed MV Azores, she is followed by Princess Danae that has been renamed the MV Lisboa and finally the intimate babe of the fleet is the MV Arion that has become the MV Porto.

MV Funchal Photo Gallery 


Her new funnel, pained in the original 1961, but with a stylised “P” for Portuscale Cruises


The Gama Lounge forward overlooking the Veranda Deck


On the starboard side is the elegant and intimate Havana and Cigar Club, the perfect place to have a brandy!


The delightful and spacious Ilha Verdi Show Lounge, for spectacular entertainment!


The Swimming Pool and Lido bar


The MV Funchal heads out to sea on August 15, 2013


The MV Arion before being repainted and renamed


Here we see the MV Porto, ex Arion, but not from her best angle!


Visit my NEW MV Funchal Feature

Portuscale Cruises - MV Funchal


For Itineraries and Information - Visit Portuscale Cruises Website: ENTER HERE.


Bookings & Enquiries Email:


MV Funchal’s Interesting History – located on

SS/MV Funchal



Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960


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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me in order that due credit may be given.

This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated! is owned and Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved.