Black Sea Cruises, a new Russian cruise operator, will start to offer six night cruises in the Black Sea region in June, using a 14,717 gross ton vessel that last sailed for an Israeli company.
The Knyaz Vladimir, built in 1971 in France as the Eagle for P&O Ferries’ service from the UK to Spain and Morocco, will sail from Sochi to Novorossyisk, Yalta, Sevastopol in the Crimea and back to Sochi from 11 June.
The itinerary covers one day calls at the Novorossiysk and Sevastopol seaports, a two day stop in Yalta. “As a matter of convenience the passengers will be offered to start and finish their cruise in the cities of Novorossiysk, Yalta, Sevastopol," Rosmorport, the state owned port operator that owns Black Sea Cruises said in a statement.
The company has appointed Infloflot as general ticket sales agent in accordance with the Order of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Black Sea Cruises added. Tickets would be available at the general sales agent, travel agencies around the country and online, the company stated.
Knyaz Vladimir – “Knyaz”s is Russian for Prince – has had a long and colourful career. Its initial service under the British flag only lasted until 1975, when the ship was sold to Croisieres de Paquet in France and renamed Azur. The former overnight ferry now assumed the role of a cruise ship. After 12 years in French ownership, the vessel was acquired by the Chandris group in Greece, which also employed it as a cruise ship, without a change of name.
In 1994, the ship changed hands again, when it was bought by Festival Cruises, another Greek company that was building up the nascent European source market. It was renamed The Azur at this point. However, Festival collapsed and in 2004 the ship was acquired by Mano Maritime in Israel and renamed Royal Iris.