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The CMV Astoria stops sailing after 72 years in service. He was the protagonist of shipwrecks, luxury cruise for communist leaders and hotel for refugees
A classic leaves the seas. The CMV Astoria will stop sailing at the end of this year, as the company that operates it, Cruise and Maritime Voyages, decided not to renew the contract for its use. Gone will be 72 years of history, with ten name changes and an incredible story.
The fascination for the life of this ship of 16,144 tons and with a capacity for 550 passengers is such that an expert in its history travels along the Mexican Pacific, who lectures on its random journey through the seas.
The Doria disaster
The boat was built at the request of Swedish American Line in 1944 and was named MS Stockholm . At that time it was the largest cruise ship in the Scandinavian country, and debuted on a trip from Gothenburg to New York in 1948.
MS Stockholm collided with Andrea Doria in the North Atlantic and would cause one of the greatest naval disasters in peacetime.
Eight years later he would be the protagonist of one of the greatest naval accidents of the twentieth century in peacetime. On July 25, 1956, at the height of Nantucket Island , in Massachusetts, the dense fog prevented seeing that it was on the same route as Andrea Doria.
Despite the last-minute maneuvers, the icebreaker helmet of the MS Stockholm hit the Doria fully and caused serious damage. The Swedish cruise was also not in good condition, with its bow shattered, but it was able to rescue 500 passengers and another 753 were rescued by the SS Isle de France , which was navigating the area.
The Doria sank in the North Atlantic, and the crash had to lament 51 deaths, between 46 of the Italian ship and five of the Swedish.
Luxury cruise for hierarchs of the GDR
Reconstructed, in 1960 it was sold to the East German government that changed its name to Völkerfreundshaft , that is, ‘friendship between nations’.
It was used as a luxury cruise for the leaders of the Communist Party of the GDR , with trips through Cuba or the Baltic countries. But to avoid defections, politicians could not travel with their families. However, more than one left the ship while sailing in western waters.
Hotel for refugees
In 1985, now called Volker , he was to be retired from service, but the Norwegian government bought it to solve a crisis with the arrival of refugees from Pakistan, Iran and Syria.
During the 1960s the GDR government used the ship as a cruise ship for senior government officials and the leaders of the Communist Party.
Re-baptized as Fridtjof Nansen , in honor of the Norwegian explorer, he was stationed in the port of Oslo converted into a temporary hotel for immigrants.
The new life as a cruise
In 1994 the ship went through a profound renovation process of 140 million euros to be re-adapted as a cruise. During the following years, changes in name and ownership would follow, such as Italy I, Italy Prima, Valtur Prima and Caribe.
In 2008, called as MS Athena , he suffered the attack of pirates while sailing on the Gulf of Aden, near the coast of Somalia.
But the crew scared off the robbers with high pressure hoses and no further incidents had to be regretted.
In 2015, it was transferred to Cruise and Maritime Voyages , which will continue operating it until the end of the year. After navigating the Sea of Cortez, you will go to the ports of England, to set sail for Iceland, Scotland, Norway and the Baltic countries.
Advantages and disadvantages of sailing in a classic
Sailing on a cruise ship over 70 years old has its pros and cons, describes the Arizona Republic .
The boat does not have the latest generation attractions of the big shipping companies, the TV has few channels and as it still uses the original stabilizers, it has a little recommended movement for those who get dizzy while sailing.
But on the other hand, the bathrooms of the largest cabins have a bathtub, the floor of the roofs are covered in teak, and there are several historical details that catch those passionate about the retro touch, such as tea porcelain that preserves anagrams from when it was called Azores, the original bell with the name MS Stockholm and the lamps are made of Murano glass.
Your trips are for adults only. It is a classic that is about to retire, so his last trips are designed for the public who can enjoy it.