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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise’n’Ship reviewer, Author and Lecturer

With over 53 Years in the Passenger Shipping Industry!


SS Funchal was built for the Lisbon-Azores-Madeira service and was operated by Empresa Insulana de Navegacao of Lisboa.


All Photographs (except those marked otherwise) are by, or from the author’s private collection


Amazingly after this superbly Danish built liner departed on her maiden voyage in 1961, the greatly loved and cherished SS Funchal is one of a very few superb Classic ex Liners that continues to operate today as a very successful cruise ship. This delightful 10,000 ton Portuguese ship has become a favourite ship for countless of thousands around the world as passengers return again and again to cruise on this intimate yacht-like ship, and in 2013 she had received a massive rebuilding and a refit to commence a new life with Portuscale Cruises of Lisbon! She will feature the very latest and modern instrumentation and equipment and is certificated to continue sailing for up to another twenty years!

The new Portuscale Cruises Funchal is seen departing Lisbon for her deep-sea trials on August 15, 2013

Photograph by & © Portuscale Cruises

Although over a good half a century old, throughout her days she has received many refits, partial rebuilds, given brand new engines and she has been meticulously maintained and she is without a doubt as up to date as any modern cruise ship built today, including when it comes to safety and that includes her fire and navigational equipment.

However, in 2013 the Funchal was sold to a new company and she received one of the most comprehensive multi million Euro refits that included engine works, and so much more! Details regarding this are located at the bottom of the page. All these modifications has hade her into a superbly beautiful ship and has brought her up to the very latest SOLAS regulations, and she will pass the most stringent safety regulations, which will see her sail long into the future and thus the MV Funchal will continue to strike a fine pose as she enters a harbour somewhere around the world! But let us now go back into history!

Building SS Funchal the Liner:

A sleek looking Funchal is seen at full speed sea

This fine ship was designed in Portugal and originally it had been hoped by the Portuguese that this ship would be built in Portugal, however in due course the contract was given to the Danish Shipyard – “Helsingør Skibsvog” or “Elsinore Shipyards” in Helsingør Denmark for the main reason that they offered to build her for around £2 million (UK Pounds) which was excellent value for the time and this was obviously far better than the Portuguese were able to offer at the time.

Her keel was laid down in July 1960 and she was built up to the highest of maritime standards possible, being so typical of the Danes! However, the entire project came under the strict guidance of the Portuguese naval engineer Rogério d'Oliveira!

When ready, she was launched on February 10, 1961 and was moved to her fitting out berth for completion. Considering she was driven by two Parsons Steam Turbines, which were operated at with high and a low-pressure units and were double reduction geared to her twin screws. During her deep sea trials she managed a remarkable top speed of 23 knots, although the service speed was intended to be just 20 knots, thus she would have a good reserve. However, her boilers did become somewhat of a problem a little later and eventually she was re-engined and became a motor-ship. However, it was interesting that the Funchal was the largest ship to be built at Helsingør and the biggest passenger ship built in Denmark since World War II.

She has a beautiful long and sleek steel riveted hull with a fine raked bow, and her low slung her upper deckhouses were mostly constructed of welded aluminium construction giving her those clean long elegant lines. Like most passenger liners of her days she carried a reasonable amount of cargo, which she did in her three holds, two forward one aft. She could carry cars, fruit, mail and general cargo. In all she had four refrigerated compartments.

Due to her long streamlined design she always tended to look larger than her actual size, and it was said that the Funchal “must surely rank as one of the most attractive small liners built in the post-War period. This was a statement by Lloyds of London. In addition, her accommodations and lounges received great praise!

On Board Comforts:

SS Funchal was designed to accommodate 400 passengers in three classes. 80 First Class, 156 passengers in Tourist A, and 164 passengers Tourist B. All First Class and Tourist A public rooms were located on Promenade Deck, and the Tourist B lounge was down aft on B Deck.

The First Class lounge is located far forward, just ahead of the Library, Writing and Card rooms, which flank the main foyer, with the Smoke Room located just aft. These venues were superbly finished with the lavish use of fine woods in their décor such as rich rosewood in the Main lounge and elegant teak in the Smoke room. In the lobby the stairwell was a feature by itself as it was a magnificent metal, glass, and rosewood spiral staircase. Amidships on Promenade Deck there were eight First Class cabins that separate the First Class public venues from the Tourist A lounges.

She had a magnificent polished metal and glass spiral staircase that was held up by a fine polished timber column rising through four decks. The photograph of this fine structure is seen further down the page.

 The Pursers Office forward on A Deck with the spiral stairwell just aft

Tourist A Main lounge and the Smoke Room, both aft on Promenade Deck were also very attractive rooms and these venues could be converted into either a chapel or a cinema.

On A Deck forward is the First Class Dinning Room features superb oak panelling and this room was followed by the Galley and the large Tourist Dinning Room, which was partitioned into two sections, having 160 seats on each side with Tourist A passengers dinning on the portside and Tourist B on the starboard side. Further aft on this deck was the very pleasant Tourist B Main Lounge.

Both First Class and Tourist A had single, two and three berth cabins. All First Class accommodation had private facilities. In addition First Class featured four double bedded suites as well as two single suites, whilst Tourist A and B accommodations had shared bathrooms (between two cabins) or communal bathrooms. Tourist B cabins had from two to six berth cabins. Funchal was fully air-conditioned and was equipped with Denny-Brown stabilizers for the passengers comfort.

Her Maiden Voyage and an encounter with the SS Lima:

Funchal is seen arriving in Lisbon on October 19, 1961

The beautifully designed 9,824-ton SS Funchal was finally delivered to her owners in Lisbon on October 19, 1961, where she was stocked and manned and made ready for her maiden voyage to Madeira and St Michael’s Island, departing Lisbon on November 4, 1961. Whilst in Madeira during this voyage she met the ship she was built to replace the SS Lima.

The Funchal and SS Lima aft both busy getting ready for departure in Madeira


SS Lima

SS Lima: The 4,056 ton ship was built in 1907 by Furness Withy & Co Hartlepool UK, for the North German Lloyd, but she was taken over by Portugal due to WW1 in 1916 and was operated on the Lisbon to Madeira service ever since with 222 passengers in three classes. But being 54 years old, and for ships built in 1907, that was old in those days, she needed to be replaced urgently and the SS Funchal was the perfect ship for the job! However, SS Lima did continue to operate on the Madeira se4rvice, but mainly as a cargo ship, although occasionally she did carry passengers whenever it became necessary. She was finally withdrawn from service seven years later at the good age of 61 years in 1968 and she departed on June 9, 1968 for a special, although short “Farewell Lima Cruise” from Lisbon, and sailed to the Berlengas Islands being a group of small islands around 15 kilometres off the Portuguese coast, west of the town of Peniche. This was officially her 550th voyage!

The Funchal seen as built

As she continued her services, she was thought of by some that she was just a small liner, however very soon she achieved a reputation for sheer excellence, as she became famed for the high standard of excellence and that famed Portuguese service! SS Funchal continued her services to Madeira and other relevant destinations when in 1966 “Empresa Insulana purchased the ex Zim Lines SS Israel, which they refitted and renamed SS Angra Do Heroismo and she entered the same service as the SS Funchal.

SS Angra Do Heroismo is seen here in 1967

For information: The Angra Do Heroismo was built as the passenger/cargo liner SS Israel by Deutsche Werft in Hamburg in 1955. She was broken up at Castellon on April 14, 1974. Her full story can be found at:

Soon Funchal would extend her voyages to Tenerife and the Canary Islands and she would call into St Michael’s Island around every third voyage. This continued until 1969 when she commenced to operate more and more cruises and even undertook several cruises in October and November that year from Southampton to these popular Atlantic Islands. Her cruise success continued and this would be the future of this fine ship.

However, by this time the Funchal had already been suffering various problems with her boilers as far back as 1969 and again in 1969 although these had been fixed each time, but an eventual solution had to be found in due course.

SS Funchal the “Presidential Yacht”:

On various occasions the Funchal would be chartered by the State in order for her to serve as the Presidential Yacht such as one she undertook in February 1968 when the President visited the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde Islands, Guiney and Brazil.

SS Funchal postcard stamped in Guiney from the Presidential voyage inn 1968

Postcard kindly provided by Johan van der Zant (NL)  

In 1972 President Thomas undertook a voyage in order to visit Rio de Janeiro where he was to participate in the 150th.anniversary celebrations of Brazil’s independence from Portugal and this was obvious a somewhat touchy visit for the President of a nation that was once the nation’s conqueror! Also on board Funchal was a very special item being the Urn that contained the ashes of King Perdro of Portugal who was the very first Emperor of Brazil.

However during the voyage the Funchal again suffered boiler problems, which seemed a repeat of a voyage that occurred fifty earlier, when another Portuguese liner took the then President to Rio for the centenary celebrations and that ship also broke down at sea and although she was fixed she arrived several days too late for the celebrations. However, this time certain repairs were made but Funchal limped in and arrived just on time and further repairs were made whilst she was in port. However, it had become obvious that upon her return to Lisbon action would have to be taken!

SS Funchal Dimensions - 1961 to 1972:

Builder:                                            Helsingør Skibsvog (Elsinore Shipyards) Denmark.

Launched:                                         February 10, 1961.

Maiden Voyage:                                 November 4, 1961.

Tonnage:                                          9,824 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

Length:                                            501ft - 153,51m.

Breadth:                                           63ft - 19,05m.

Draught:                                           20.3ft - 6,38m.

Engines:                                           Two Steam Parsons D.R. Geared Turbines - 12,250 S.H.P.

Propellers:                                        Two.

Service speed:                                   20 knots (max).


The way many love to recall the SS Funchal for this liner was about to be transformed into a fulltime cruise ship

MS Funchal the Cruise Ship:

As Funchal returned from her Presidential voyage to Rio in 1972, with the repairs that had been undertaken she managed to make several cruises out of Lisbon, but she was then sent to Amsterdam in The Netherlands where her old steam turbines were removed and was given two brand new ultra reliable “Werkspoor” 9-Cylinder Diesel Engines developing 2 x 5,000 BHP. Although these would provide her with a slower speed, but as her future now was as an attractive one class cruise ship and thus there was no need for speed, as it was in the days for an express service of her liners days. Her delightful exterior profile thankfully remained almost unchanged, although a new deck section was added topside located forward of her funnel and her aft decks were slightly extended. Upon completion she reregistered as being 9,563-tons.

MS Funchal seen in 1974 as cruise ship with a dark blue hull, just before being painted all white

Note the new topside deck forward of the funnel

At first she commenced sailing, first with a dark hull as seen above, but it was decided very quickly to have her painted all white, but her traditional black topped and yellow funnel remained, however this was soon to change due to the company’s financial problems and a merger that would take place.

One more look at the Funchal with her black hull, sailing at full speed ahead!

With her refit took a good eight months and she was finally ready for her sea trails late in May 1973 and she managed a maximum of 18 knots, with a service speed of 16 knots. She was delivered and in June she undertook a number of cruise from Zeebrugge (Belgium) and Dover (UK) mostly to her popular destinations of Madeira, Tenerife and Cape Verde Islands, etc. After having been painted with her all white livery, she had blue boot topping and a blue ribbon around the hull, her funnel was yellow and a black top.

Funchal the cruise ship is seen here having been painted all white, with her yellow and black topped funnel

In December 1973 the Funchal headed for Rio de Janeiro where she would operate a series of cruises along the South American coast, however, by now her owners; “Empresa Insulana” was already beginning to suffer severe financial problems and by February 1974 they merged with Cia. Colonial to form a new company Cia Portuguesa de Transportes Maritimos (CPTM). In order to fall in line with the company livery her funnel livery was changed to a yellow funnel with green and white bands being the same as their other Portuguese liners turned cruise ships, such as the Turbine steam ships of the company TSS Vera Cruz, Santa Maria and Infante Dom Henrique. All these ships are features on ssMaritime, see our main index, a link is at the bottom of the page.

MS Funchal is seen in 1974 with her new livery CPTM livery

Mr. George Petros Potamianos and the MV Funchal:

It would be in 1976 that one of the most famous Greek shipping magnates, Mr. George Potamianos chartered the MV Funchal to operate a series of cruises. Myself knowing the amazing history of the Potamianos family personally, they go back into shipping history 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 indeed! There was no doubt that Mr. Potamianos did not forget this now much loved small ship, for in 1985 he decided buy her outright for his company “Great Warwick Inc” and “Arcalia Shipping Company” But here are the events of how the Funchal came into his hands.

In 1985 Cia Portuguesa de Transportes Maritimos (CPTM) Funchal’s original Portuguese owners were liquidated and the MV Funchal was passed into the hands of “Great Warwick Inc” of Panama, a company which was a joint venture between the now Lisbon based Potamianos family and also the Swedish Fritidskryss family.

The Funchal was re registered in Panama, but continued to be manned by Portuguese, as well as some Swedish crew. She was placed in the hands under the management of “Arcalia Shipping Company” and operated by “Classic International Cruises”, companies all part of the families! She was given a new funnel livery, all yellow but now with a single thick blue band and a black top she soon she headed off on her new cruise duties.

Having received a refit making her ready for this new venture, it was obvious that once again that the Funchal would prove to be a successful marriage for Mr. Potamianos and his beloved ship! The truth is, the MV Funchal did so well she grew from strength to strength, gaining popularity where ever she went!

Funchal is seen here in 1986

During the summer months the Funchal cruised around European ports and she was based in Harwich England, whilst during the winter months she would cruise out of Brazilian ports. However, the company ensured that she was kept fully updated and thus she was given regular refits ensuring that she would meet new market needs.

In order to make her more suitable for certain ports where it was necessary for her to anchor, thus it was decided during yet another refit in 1989/90 to add two large fully enclosed tenders, but these were rather awkwardly placed, located far forward on promenade deck and thus they certainly did nothing to enhance her looks. But they were very effective and considering they had a large capacity and the ship having low passenger numbers, all passengers could be be taken ashore rapidly!

Funchal is seen here in 1990 with her large glass topped tenders located on her forward deck

By 1993 Funchal’s Azores deck aft had been extended far aft providing a new spacious Lido Deck as well as ample deck space for sun soaking, whilst Boat deck up the deck had also been extended aft somewhat.

Funchal is seen here in 1993 with her extended lower aft deck and still with her forward tenders

By 1996 the Swedish partners had decided to drop out of the Portuguese shipping side and return to Sweden, and this left the Potamianos family to continue to operate this superbly successful company, which they did with great finesse! In fact Mr. George Potamianos did this so well the company eventually grew having a total of five superb ex classic ex liners/ships made up of the MV Athena, ex MS Stockholm (1948), MV Princess Daphne & Princess Danae, ex MS Port Sydney & Port Melbourne (1955), MV Funchal, ex SS Funchal (1961) and the MV Arion, ex MS Istra (1965). All these ships were superbly managed and operated by “Classic International Cruises.”

In 1997 the MV Funchal received a major refit in order for her to comply with the 1997 SOLAS regulations, which meant the removal of much of her beautiful timbers and other measures that were required. One of the things that had to be done was the alteration that had to be done was (and I cried) to her magnificent spiral staircase that now had to be partially enclosed. But I must say, it was tastefully done with veneers that were sort of similar to the original timbers and they were separated with mirror panels and it still looked rather grand! She was thankfully reregistered in Madeira, Portugal once again!

The imposing polished metal spiral staircase was held up by a fine polished timber column rising trough four decks!

It is seen here on A Deck looking aft towards the First Class Dining Room. It was like this from 1961 to 1997


The stairwell seen enclosed after Funchal’s 1997 refit, nice, but just not the same!

During Funchal refit she also received the official “Classic International Cruises.” Livery being a white with a black top funnel and her CIC logo, being a globe that features the famed Portuguese *Caravelle” and topped by Lisbon’s Belem Tower.

*The “Caravelle” class vessel was a square-rigged 50-ton timber design vessel built quite high above the waterline, with two masts, a combination of triangle-shaped lateen and square sails, and a deep hull able to carry cargo. Did you know that Columbus’ “Santa Maria” was a Caravelle built in Sagres in Portugal!

Thankfully it was also realised that four lifeboats had to be removed amidships and replaced by suitable tenders making for easier operations when the ship was at anchor.

Close-up of her traditional shapely funnel with her new “Classic International Cruises” livery and one of her new tenders can also be seen

Photographer is unknown – *Please see photo notes at the bottom of page

In 2003 Classic International Cruises realised that there was a great need in for a cruise ship during the summer season to be based in Fremantle (Perth) the capital of Western Australia and an office opened in Australia. In 2004 the Funchal made her repositioning voyage from Europe to Fremantle and these voyages to and from the UK/Europe and Australia would prove to be very successful! And she would then cruise from Fremantle on 1. Mini cruises, 2. Australian coastal cruises, 3. Extended Asian cruises. For the rest of the year, she would operate cruises from the UK as well as cruises under charter agreement under various charter and travel companies, all of which were most successful! She continued the Australian service for five years as there was a need for a larger ship with a greater capacity, and the MV Athena, ex Italia Prima, Stockholm 1948, took over from her during the Australian summer of 2008. I was on board Funchal in 2008, whilst she was bound for the UK.

MV Funchal proved to be a successful ship in every possible way for CIC and had it not been for the tragic passing of my dear friend Mr. George Potamianos on May 29, 2012.

I was to meet dear George on board the MV Athena whilst we were in Lisbon on Monday May 21, but sadly I had been told by Captain Pinto that he had already gone to hospital being very ill. One of his twin sons, Alexandros or Emilios was going to come aboard to see me, but on the day considering with their Father being so ill, the whole family was at his bedside and two of of the company directors came to see me. I have been most fortunate to have a friend, speak and corresponded with this remarkable man, who was such an enthusiast of classic passenger ships and a solid believer that certain classic ships could continue sailing as the “cruise industry at large is slowly being filled by those hideous mega monster ships.

When Mr. Potamianos passed away, Alexandros or Emilios Potamianos took over the company and I instantly knew that it was the end of Classic International Cruises, for these spoiled rotten playboys, who loved to live the highlife, had little to no knowledge of the shipping industry! And I was proved right for with five months their ships were under arrests for non payment of fees and wages of their crew. The big problem was this. Dear George was a giant in the shipping industry and banks and financiers knew that no matter what, he could be trusted and indeed he never ever failed! But these boys, their reputation was the complete opposite and thus no one would back them and the company just fell into a heap! It was that bad that one of the boys even deserted the sinking ship!

Thus, the beautiful MV Funchal was owned by of “Great Warwick Inc”  Arcalia Shipping Company” until towards the end of 2012, but she was purchased by new owners. But more on that later!

MV Funchal the CIC Cruise Ship - Mini Photo Album:

The ever-delightful Classic International - MV Funchal is seen departing Sydney's Darling Harbour Australia on March 4, 2008

Photographer is unknown – *Please see photo notes at the bottom of page


All the Interior and exterior images below are by the author, Reuben Goossens

Taken whilst on board in March 2008


The Gama lounge located far forward on Promenade Deck


Gama Lounge looking aft


Promenade Deck starboard side looking forward


Navigators (Boat) Deck port side looking aft


Lisboa Restaurant looking to port & aft


Promenade Deck aft, Pool and Lido Bar, the Buffet is up on Navigators Deck


The Buffet on Navigators Deck

As I already indicated, the Funchal was a massive success in Australia and she made the company operating her one of the most popular cruise companies, and for this very reason well over 58% of the passengers on most cruises were repeat clientele, which is a great achievement. As the author has sailed with the company I can testify that they and these wonderful classic ships offered that something that no other cruise ship could possibly offer and that is an intimate and personalised service and an atmosphere that can only be found on a real ship that has a maritime heritage, just like the Funchal and her running mates, for Classic International Cruises were famed for operating ex classic liners that were lovingly refurbished and rebuilt into excelent cruise ships!

In addition what is so amazing is that their ships are maintained so much better than any ship I have ever been on, Look at any of these photographs, or those I have on board the Athena, go on board any of these ships and just try and find a spot of rust, and I know that you will not find any, for their cleanliness and maintenance is supreme, as is their never ending upgrading of safety and navigation equipment. These ships are of the very highest standard!

Please note: In relation to the ships maintenance, I am only speaking of the time they were with “Classic International Cruises,” for I cannot speak for any future company, as obviously I have not sailed with them!

Funchal seen departing Singapore March 14, 2008

Photograph by © 2008 Reuben Goossens 

Considering the massive popularity of the Funchal her owners decided after she had departed Fremantle and was on her voyage back to Europe in March 2008 (I was on board to Singapore) that as from the summer of that year they would spoil Australian’s by sending their flagship, the larger MV Athena to take over Funchal’s Australian duties. However, as the Funchal was due for some extensive work some of which was done in 2009, but most would be done later and she continued cruising around the UK and Europe and her popularity continued!

Making Funchal the Enduring Ship:

2010 Refit: During 2010 the Funchal was given an extensive refit, which saw some new cabins installed that replaced some of her older cabins, there were also cabin removed up on Promenade Deck and a new Club lounge added, as well as relocating the Library, Internet and Card rooms. Down one deck the previous Club Lounge was replaced with cabins. Previously in 2009, the forward derricks and hold on Promenade Deck had been removed and the deck space, now called Veranda Deck is now open to passengers and is accessible from forward via two stairs from Boat Deck.

A fine view of the sleek and modern MV Funchal in Lisbon with her forward derricks removed in 2009


SS Funchal Dimensions - 1983 to 2011:

Builder:     Helsingør Skibsvog (Elsinore Shipyards) Denmark.

Launched:     February 10, 1961.

Maiden Voyage:     November 4, 1961.

Tonnage:     9,563 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

Length:                                       501ft - 153,51m.

Breadth:                                      63ft - 19,05m.

Draught:     20.3ft - 6,38m.

Engines:     Werkspoor” 9-Cylinder Diesel Engines.

Propellers:                                   Two.

Bow Thrusters:                             Two.

Passenger Decks:                          6.

Passengers:                                 465.

Lifts:                                           3.

Service speed:                             16 knots cruising speed.

                                                  Fully stabilized and Air-Conditioned.

The End of one Era and a New Beginning:

On November 4, 2011 the Funchal had completed 50 years of excellent service and better still she has always served under the same name, but under just two owners, her original owner being “Empresa Insulana De Navegacao”, although there was a merging and a name change to “Cia Portuguesa de Transportes Maritimos,” and she was then purchased by her new owner; “Great Warwick Inc”, managed by “Arcalia Shipping Company” and operated by “Classic International Cruises,” being the Potamianos Group of companies!

Later in 2011 it was decided that the Funchal would return to Lisbon and commence a massive refit as well as an internal rebuild in order to give her at least a further ten to a maximum twenty years of service. Although by April 2012 I discovered that all work on board had sadly stopped with less that 10% of the work completed, then as I have already said my dear friend and shipping magnate Mr. George Petros Potamianos passed away, which very much meant the end of a wonderful and a great empire that goes back to 1950, and his sons were simply incapable to continue the business as the financiers and bakers had no confidence in them whatsoever, thus the company was liquidated in December 2012.

The Funchal was facing the threat of being sold to Indian breakers, but as she was the pride of Portugal there was an ongoing move to retain her at all costs in the country that had a long and a very proud maritime history! And she was still a very good and a worthwhile ship in many more ways than one, for she was built to last, by her excellent Danish builders!

It was early 2013 that the Portuguese hotel and resort entrepreneur Mr. Rui Alegre purchased the MV Funchal as well as three of the other ships the MV Princess Danae renamed Lisboa, MV Arion renamed Porto and MV Athena renamed Azores to operate in the new “Portuscale Cruises” fleet.

Portuscale Cruises MV Funchal:

2013 Refit: With the end of CIC, Portuscale Cruises took over the massive task of completely restoring the pride of the fleet, being the MV Funchal and the make her ready to comply with the extremely stringent SOLAS regulations. Thus this mammoth internal rebuilding program and refit had to be done before she could return to cruise duties. Work undertaken means that the many of her cabins, except for those already replaced earlier in 2010, and all crew cabins were rebuilt, all cabins have flat screen TV’s and every possible facility and that does include crew cabins that will have every possible luxury including private, or at least a share bathroom between two cabins.

Lounges also have some delightful changes. The ship will be lighter as some of its darker timber work had to be removed due to the very stringent fire regulations, but as the new images that I have been provided have shown, her new owners have ensured that her classic feel will live on as much as possible for that is one of her features, yet she will feel brighter and thankfully will be able to sail on long into the future! And that is so much better than for her broken up!

The elegant Porto Bar has that beautiful timbered maritime feel!

Photograph by & © Portuscale Cruises

The other wonderful thing is that her new owners Portuscale Cruises desired to see this wonderful Portuguese ship to be restored to her original external self, that is with her black hull as built and with her red boot topping with a fine white ribbon separating the red and black, as well as her crowning glory, a yellow and black topped traditional funnel, but now with a stylised “P” logo! Therefore externally, she will look very much like she did when she was originally built, minus her forward and aft king posts! But the end result is that she looks far sleeker and better than ever!

A fine view of her yellow & black funnel with the “P” logo & two of her tenders

Photograph by & © Portuscale Cruises

In addition to the above, engine work has been undertaken and she has been fitted with new bow thrusters, new electrical wiring, etc. This has been a multi million Euro refits that included fitting an amazing 300 Kms of electrical cables, as well as some 3 Kms of pipes and conducts. Over 500 tons of Steel was replaced on board the ship as well as some 15.000m2 of new ceilings and carpets and then there is a great deal of new furnishings throughout the ship, not to forget her brand new bow thrusters, many cabins are more spacious and all cabins have updated bathrooms, etc., and her interiors have been carefully restyled to enhance her heritage and thus in so many ways honouring her classic days, yet she is delightfully modern!

MV Funchal seen during her deep-sea trails on August 15, 2013

Photograph by & © Portuscale Cruises

Thus this has been one of the most major works has ever been taken on a classic ship and thus the delightful Funchal that sailed from Australian waters from 2004 to 2008, becoming one of the most popular cruise ships ever to sail from our shores will sail on for at least another ten to twenty years into the future!

Amazingly late in 2008 I sailed on a ship that was built in two years after the Titanic sank, for this ship was built in 1914, and believe it or not, she is still afloat and she will be 100 next year, and she is in perfect condition. She served as a luxury cruise ship around the world including as the famous Costa Line Franca C but she is currently the MV Doulos and is located in Singapore. The author is her official historian and has a history with the ship since the 1970s!

MV Funchal is a fine classic yacht-like ship and a delight to sail on. How fortunate we are that we still have an opportunity to sail on a true Classic Ship like her today and now thanks to this massive rebuilding program and refit we will be able to sail on this remarkable over 50 year old ship for many years to come and when you step on board the very first thing you will feel is that you are on a real ship and not on some big hideous square floating box, like those modern cruise monsters of today. Thus take the opportunity and go Classic Cruising as soon as possible for Portuscale Cruises has four of the best Classic Cruise Ships in the world, staring with the evergreen – MV Funchal!

With her black hull restored she once again looks like an elegant small Liner, yet she is a true Cruise Ship!

Photograph by & © Portuscale Cruises


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

Bookings & Enquiries Email:


SS/MV Funchal – INDEX: Updated August 2013.

Page One …                SS Funchal - Her History from her building in 1960 to this day! (This page)

Page Two …               Portuscale - MV Funchal – A NEW start for a fine ship!

Page Three …             Deck Plan – Her new Deck Plan.

Page Four …               MV Funchal – My 2008 CIC Ship Review.


Please Note: Page 4 is located on the author “cruise” pages

Pages are also available on the following three Portuguese liners:

TS Santa Maria / TS Vera Cruz and the delightful TS Infante Dom Henrique


“Classic Ocean Voyages”

Featuring this Superb Classic cruise ship and others!




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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, my email address is 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!



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