Cruise and Maritime Voyages has formally announced that the Astoria, which began life in 1948 as the Swedish built Stockholm, will be leaving the fleet at the end of a 2017 charter to a French company.
The ship- the oldest surviving cruise ship in the world- will operate a short season of cruises for CMV between March and the end of April, 2017 before embarking on her French charter. No future buyer has been announced.
The loss of Astoria from the CMV portfolio is not so surprising, given that a new flagship- the 63, 786 ton, 1400 passenger Columbus– is scheduled to enter service from Tilbury next June,
Though much speculation is already placing Astoria as being on a final, one way course to the scrapyard, this might not necessarily be the case. With the exception of her original, riveted hull, the entire ship was rebuilt over 1993-1994. Though technically sixty eight years old, almost everything on board is actually of 1994 vintage, and the ship is in astonishingly good condition. It is just possible that she might be picked up by another company.
In any event, this extraordinary ship has had a career that baffles the imagination. It is now just a little short of the sixtieth anniversary of the loss of the Andrea Doria on July 25th, 1956, after the as was then Stockholm rammed the Italian liner in thick fog off Nantucket.
As the last surviving, in service vessel of the original Swedish American Line, the Stockholm holds a special place in the hearts of maritime historians and ship lovers alike. It is pretty certain that her few remaining cruises will sell out quite quickly.