FUNCHAL and PORTO are two Portuguese classic small cruise ships that nobody seems to be interested in. Following extensive refits in 2013 after their purchase by Portuscale Cruises, only FUNCHAL cruised on two short seasons. PORTO never cruised under her present name. She is in her fourth year of lay up in Lisbon. FUNCHAL saw her final passengers disembark on 2nd January 2015. The Portuscale company went bankrupt in mid 2015 and the ships have been under receivership protection since then. Both have been on the sales lists, the asking prices getting smaller and smaller until the present situation on the verge of scrapping value. But so far nobody wants them, no serious offers acceptable by the sellers.
As time goes by, on the Lisbon waterfront, not in Casablanca, FUNCHAL and PORTO show the sad beauty of slow decay. Nobody cares. FUNCHAL and PORTO are ships from another time, a time of proud true national flagships long lost. FUNCHAL was one of the most beautiful passenger ships purpose built for Portuguese interests, while PORTO was built in Yogoslavia in 1964-1965 as their ISTRA, a small Mediterranean liner used mostly for international cruising with her sister DALMACIJA. Both are survivers from another time when ships were the most beautiful creatures on the seas.
Who wants FUNCHAL and PORTO? They are not going to continue on this limbo between lay up and the lack of perspectives. Both should be kept in service for a few more years. There are no others like the sad Matinha laid up passenger ships...
Original photographs by Luís Miguel Correia taken on 31st May 2017
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