Cruise and and Maritime Voyages’ Astoria (the renamed Azores) is set to leave Greece for the UK today after her winter lay up in Piraeus.
The 16, 144 ton, 550 passenger Astoria began life in 1948 as the Swedish American liner Stockholm, and became world famous in 1956 after being involved in a collision off Nantucket with the Italian liner, Andrea Doria. The latter subsequently foundered with the loss of fifty six lives. Three people were killed on the then Stockholm.
Back to the present; prior to going on charter to a French company, the popular Astoria will operate some five ex-UK sailings to and from Bristol’s dedicated cruise port of Avonmouth.
These begin on March 21st, with a seven night sailing to Scotland and Ireland. On March 28th, Astoria embarks on a fifteen night swing out to the islands of the Azores, as well as Madeira. This cusp of spring cruise is particularly attractive.
April 12th will see the ship embark on a nine night cruise around the British Isles, returning to Bristol on the 21st to sail on another nine night cruise, this one a Scottish Islands and Faeroes adventure.
The final spring sailing takes the form of yet another nine night cruise, this one taking in the magnificent Norwegian fjords. On this particular cruise, the relatively small size of Astoria enables her to get ‘up close and personal’ to the stunning natural scenery in a way that no big ship can.
Astoria will inevitably be the centre of much attention this year, it being the sixtieth anniversary of that fateful, fog shrouded collision off Nantucket. As such, this handful of 2016 cruises represents a unique opportunity to voyage in a small, intimately scaled time capsule with a storied past, and a whole host of modern comforts.
Definitely worthy of consideration, methinks.