Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cruise ferry from Lisbon to Southampton

The port of Lisbon was served by cruise ferries on a regular basis between June 1966 and October 1975, four differenr passenger ships with ro-ro facilities being used on services from Southampton to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Algecicas, Tangiers and Casablanca. In 1964 and 1965 two ships were ordered for a passenger cruise ferry service from Southampton to Lisbon in cross trade: Somerfin Lines of Israel ordered the NILI but when delivered she was chartered to Finnlines and never run to Lisbon excpet on positioning cruises around Europe. 
Then Sunward Kloster Ferries operated briefly 19 round voyages with the magnificent SUNWARD, between June and November 1966, when it was decided to movethe ship to Miami originating the following December 19 the start of NCL - Norwegian Caribbean Lines. In 1968 Normandy Ferries started to operate between Southampton and Lisbon with the DRAGON and her French registeed sister LEOPARD and this must have been a positive move because it led to the formation of another company on the P&O Group universe (managed at first by the General Steam Ship Company), the Southern Ferries that placed an order in France for the superb cruise ferry EAGLE. Introduced in My 1971 she served Lisbon until her surprise demise in October 1975 when Paquet Cruises moved in and made an offer for the ship. Soon she joinned the Paquet fleet then comprising the RENAISSANCE, the MERMOZ, the MASSALIA and now the former EAGLE as AZUR.
Two Portuguese shipowners also saw an interest in cruise ferry service Lisbon to UK: Insulana Cruises m.s. FUNCHAL catered for this tourist trade between June 1973 and August 1974 with the an option for passengers to take their cars on a Lo-Lo loading basis and sail onboard FUNCHAL from Zeebregge and Dover to Lisbon leaving everyother Saturday and arriving Lisbon the following Monday reterning North on Thursdays to arrive back in Zeegregge early morning on Saturday and Dover later tat afternoon. Another Portuguese important shipping concern, the Sociedade Geral developed plans for a new cruise ferry servce from Amsterdam to Lisbon and at some point they were very close to purchase a cruise ferry, but n the end this never materialized and by 1974-75 the revolution in Portugal killed all cruise ferry tourist traffic and almost all cruise traffic to Portugal for several years.
Texto e imagens /Text and images copyright L.M.Correia. Favor não piratear. Respeite o meu trabalho / No piracy, please. For other posts and images, check our archive at the right column of the main page. Click on the photos to see them enlarged. Thanks for your visit and comments. Luís Miguel Correia 
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