The sad news reached us recently of the death on May 29, 2012, of Classic International Cruises founder George Potamianos, a cousin of the Greek-based Potamianos family that was involved in Potamianos Lines and Epirotiki Cruises. George had his start with Epirotiki Lines in the early 1970s and had then been involved with cruising in Portugal since 1976. His sons will take over the business.
Meanwhile, Classic International has announced that it will be chartering the 16,144-ton Athena (ship info) to newcomer Ambiente Kreuzfahrten of Berlin for five cruises in August and September of 2013. This will be in addition to the 16,531-ton Princess Danae, which has been on charter from Classic International since April under a three-year agreement.
Classic International has this year scheduled Athena’s annual voyage from Europe to Australia cruise from Marseilles, with departure scheduled for November 12 and arrival in Fremantle a week before Christmas. Athena leaves Europe for Fremantle every winter for the peak Australian summer cruising season.
Classic International operates five classic cruise ships in various charter markets as well as operating for its own account. Its first cruises were with the 9,563-ton Funchal, which cruised from Sweden for Stena Line in 1977 and for what is now Classic International from 1978 to 1985, when Potamianos bought the ship. Funchal is now in Lisbon undergoing a substantial rebuild to bring her up to the latest Safety of Life at Sea standards. No date has yet been announced for her return to service.
Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England.