Classic International Cruises
In 1985, Arcalia Shipping was formed by George Potamianos, a cousin of the family who founded Epirotiki Lines in Greece, later part of Royal Olympic Cruises. Potamianos became involved in Portugese passengershipping when he started chartering vessels for the Portugese market from 1976 onwards. This chartering of vessesl tasted for more, so in 1985 he bought a ship, the 1960-built Funchal, a ship that has always sailed under the Portugese flag. Potamianos had a special affection for older cruiseships bacause of their history and intimate atmosphere, and the goal of the company was to operate a fleet of those vintage ships in contradiction to the modern megaliners of today.
Untill 1996, the company, that was restyled as Classic International cruises later on, sailed with only this beautifull former Portugese liner. In 1994, the company bought its second ship, the Princess Danae. This ship had been built as a freightliner for Port Line under the name of Port Melbourne, the thirth time Port Line had used that name. Between 1972 and 1977, the ship was re-built as a cruiseliner to a classic profile, sailing for several companies includies Costa Cruises before 1996. Business seemed to do well, because three years later a thirth ship was bought and the dream of George Potamianos started to become a reality. This time, the 1965-built former Yugoslavian liner Istra was bought and brought into service as Arion. Classic International Cruises also started to charter out its vessels to other operators, in which the ships never lost their names or the distinctive logo of the sailing ship at their funnels.
In 2005, a fourth ship entered the fleet and this time CIC took it even a step further. More classic than the oldest large passengership in the world was impossible of course, so the company chartered the 1946-built Caribe of the defunct Festival Cruises. The charter was for ten years, in which the ship, that was re-named Athena, would also be sailing cruises for other operators. She became the flagship of CIC and had a long history, being built as the Stockholm for Swedish American Line as the first Scandinavian passengerliner built after the second worldwar.
The fleet of CIC was still more extended in 2008, when the 1955-built sistership to Princess Danae, Ocean Monarch was bought. In 2008, she sailed under this name for CIC, but at the end of the year she was re-named in the style of her sister, becoming the Princess Daphne.
At may 29th, 2012, a major blow for the company came when George Potamianos passed away. He was succeeded by his two sons, Alexandros and Emilios and they kept running the company in the same style as their father had done. But finances were another thing, as also the worlds financial crisis of these years took its toll. Although the charters brought in some money, the company faced hard times. When in 2010 Funchal was recieving a large make-over, the costs became too high and the company collapsed at the end of the summer of 2012. The ships were laid-up and although the Potamianos brothers hoped that this would be temporarily and the company would be able to re-start its services, this did not work out. The bank indicated that it was not going to spent money on any future operation and this caused the end of this great shippingline. Under itás ownership, the company had probably saved several older liners and gave the public the opportunity to not only sail on modern floating resorts, preserving some of the golden age of cruising. Of course, many believed that the ships would be sold for scrap, so when a Portugese buisinessman named Rui Alegre stepped in and stated that he had bought all ships except Princess Daphne, this recieved sceptism. But Alegre did seem to be honest and re-building of Funchal, that was still not finished due to the problems, took up speed again. His company was styled Portuscale Cruises and would be based in Lisbon. Although he seems to have a rough start, it seems the ships are safe with him for now. Meanwhile, the Potamianos brothers are still the owners of the Princess Daphne and are hoping that they can re-start cruise operations under a different name in the near future.