This little ship was built as yardnumber 163 in 1979 at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft at Kiel in Western Germany for a consortium of German investors, in which Peter Deilmann held just a small share. But she was the ship that started the ocean-cruise operations for Deilmann on a charter basis.
The FTI Berlin seen during her first call at the port of IJmuiden at the 3th of july, 2013. Due to the very bad weather at the moment, the picture is not up to the standard I wished it would be.
The keel of the ship was laid at the 4th of september 1979 and by that, she nowadays is the oldest cruiseship that still sails under the German flag. At the 12th of january 1980, just after 4 months, she was launched and delivered to the company under the name of Berlin at the 27th of june of that same year. The ship measured 122,5 meters in lenght, 17,5 meters in width and her draft was 4,82 meters. Het tonnage measurement was 7812. On her, 330 passengers could take a cruise, and although she aimed for the German market, her cruises took her to all corners of the world. The number of passengers that could be carried as a maximum was based on the exact load of a Boeing jumbo-jer, with a few spaces left over.
Berlin was quite a luxury ship, being awarded with four stars. She sailed for Deilmann untill the end of 1982, when she was chartered out to the Singapore-based Blue Funnel Cruises, a part of the Straits Steamship Company. This company was searching for a replacement ship for their Centaur, that had been chartered to the St. Helena Shipping Company, the only company in the world that is still sailing ships under the RMS title. St.Helena Shipping Company sails the route between the South of England to South Africa via the small island of St. Helena, that had been left without a shippingline since the Union Castle Line ended its commercial sailings between England and South Africa in 1977.
For Blue Funnel, Berlin was renamed Princess Mashuri and she started two-week cruises in the Far East from Singapore, that took her around Australia. But this business was already in sharp decline and the operations ended in 1984, one year before the charter should be officially ended. The ship returned to her original owners, sailing again for Deilmann under her original name.
In 1986, Berlin was lenghtened at the Nobiskrug-wharf at Rendsburg, Germany up to a lenght of 139,9 meters. Her tonnage increased to 9570 and of course also her passengernumber increased, now 420 passengers could be sailing her in one go. Just after the rebuilding, the ship started her television carreer as the 'Traumschiff', a series that was the German equivalent of the highly popular American 'Love Boat'-series, starring the ships of Princess Cruises. 'Traumschiff' means Dreamship in English. In 1998, Berlin ended her role as the main ship in the series, the role was now taken over by the companies newest ship Deutschland.
In 2004, the ship ended her services for Deilmann. This was done due to severe financial proplems the company faced. The Berlin was laid up and later sold to the Saga Group, and she was to be delivered to Saga in 2005. In between, a charter was arranged involving the Russian-based company Metropolis-Tur, who used her for European cruises under the name of Orange Melody in the 2004-2005 season. The ships intended name for Saga was Saga Opal, a name well chosen for the company, that names its ships after gemstones. But instead of this sceme, the ship opened up a new part for the Saga Group. The Spirit of Adventure brand was opened for her, a part of the Saga Group that is not only open to the people in their golden age (Social Amenities for the Golden Age is the meaning of Saga). For this brand, the ship was renamed as Spirit Of Adventure, so she took the name of the company itself. It was under this name that she encountered pirates when sailing near Madagascar in january of 2011. She was nearly entered by them, but was able to get away before the pirates entered the ship. In august of 2011, the former Deilmannship returned to a German company, when she was bought by the German travelcompany FTI Group. For them, she started sailing European cruises from may 2012 onwards under her slightly altered former name as FTI Berlin.