Phoenix Reisen is a German company based in Bonn, that was founded in 1973 by Johannes Zurnieden as a travelbureau then without cruise interests. The company entered the cruise-business in 1988 when they chartered the 1969-built Maksim Gorkiy from the Odessa-based Black Sea Shipping Company. The charter would be a very lenghty one, it was signed for 20 years. Instead of being repainted in the company-colours, the ship kept sailing in her BLASCO livery, including the Sovjet Union's symbol of the hammer and chisel at her funnel. When in 1993 a second ship was chartered, the 1957-built Albatros (I), Phoenix Reisen applied their house colours to this ship. She recieved a turquoise funnel with a white, flying albatros as the logo, and also a tuquoise-coloured band at the hull. Still, Maxim Gorkiy kept her own colours and was not repainted.
Amadea's version of the Phoenix funnel in 2011.
The Albatros, that had been built as the Cunard-liner Sylvania as one of the last ships in transatlantic service between England and Canada, suffered severe mechanical issues in 2003 and Phoenix Reisen decided to back out of the charter prematurely. The ship was sold for scrap and replaced by another ship quickly, which was also named Albatros. This ship had been built as one of the original Royal Viking Line trio of ships in 1973 under the name of Royal Viking Sea. A thirth ship was added to the Phoenix fleet just one year later, when they chartered the small expedition-like Saga Pearl, that was owned by V-ships and had before sailed as Swan Hellenic's Minerva. For Phoenix Reisen, the ship was renamed Alexander von Humboldt and she sailed for the company only for a brief period, in which the Phoenix housecolours were only applied partially. She did recieve the turquoise colour on the funnel, but she never got the albatros or turquoise band on the hull. She again left the Phoenix fleet in 2008, when she was again chartered to the newly restarted Swan Hellenic Cruises, which had been without a ship for one-and-a-half years after it was closed down by its new owner Carnival Corporation.
Next to the seagoing fleet, Phoenix Reisen also operates several rivercruiseships, shown here is Alina, that entered service in te spring of 2011 and has space for 216 passengers. She mostly operates in Holland, Belgium and along the Rhine river in Germany. At the moment, the company sells cruises aboard 50 rivercruiseships, of which several use the colours of Phoenix Reisen itself. All of those ships are chartered, just like the seafleet. Phoenix is not a ship-owning company.
Club Cruise was the company that provided a replacement ship, that was also named Alexander von Humboldt, althought the first ship was still sailing at the time. Not officially renamed, the new ship was marketed as Alexander von Humboldt II untill the former one left the fleet.
In 2008, the first Phoenix ship left the fleet when the Maxim Gorkiy was sold for scrap. She had recieved the funnelcolours of Phoenix recently, including the albatros. Still a steamship, the costs to operate the ship were high and she would have a costly rebuilding to keep her up to the new safety standards. It was sad to see her go, but she had served the German market well and proud and simply became too much outdated in the growth that the German market faced with newer, more modern ships. Also Phoenix Reisen knew that they would have to add newer, more up-market ships and so they had already introduced the 1991-built and almost 30.000-ton Amadea in 2006. This ship was the former Japanese cruiseliner Asuka, owned by NYK Lines. She was replaced by a larger vesel for the Japanese market, the former Crystal Harmony , part of Crystal Cruises, a company that is also owned by NYK Lines.
Artania and the second Albatros fighting over space at the Amsterdam terminal in the summer of 2010.
So Phoenix Reisen had a four-ship fleet between 2006 and 2008, when this was reduced when the second Alexander von Humboldt left the fleet and Maxim Gorkiy was scrapped. To replce them, Phoenix Reisen chartered the 1946-built Athena from may 2009 onwards from Nina Shipping, a ship that left the fleet again in 2011 for her services with Classic International Cruises. Athena also never was repainted in Phoenix colours during her charter. In 2011, the company added another more modern ship to its fleet when the 1984-built 44.500-ton Artania was added. She was of course built as the Royal Princess for Princess Cruises and had been sailing for several years under the name Artemis for P&O Cruises. This brought the Phoenix fleet up to three mediumsized cruiseliners.
To keep up with her more modern fleetmates, the now 40-year old Albatros was updated and modernized in the winter of 2013. Her classic appearance wasn't changed, she was just updated inside. The costly rebuilding makes clear that this classic beauty will be around for some time more and with so many classics going off to the breakers recently, we can be glad that Phoenix is willing to invest to keep her around. Also the 30-year old Artania was re-engined in december of 2014, making clear the intentions of Phoenix Reisen.
From 2016 onwards, the fleet of the company was extended with the former Peter Deilmann ship Deutschland, then also sailing as World Odyssey for Semester At Sea. She entered service for the company under a five-year charter agreement. In 2019, the fleet will furthermore expand with the former Holland America liner Prinsendam, that will be renamed Amera when she starts sailing for her new owner.
Shown below, the name that was used twice in Phoenix Reisen history, is also that of a marvellous 1906-built tallship that sails under the German flag. This century old beauty was replaced by a 2006-built replacement, that was given a 'II' behind her name. Another picture of her is shown on the page of Minerva. These ships are all named after Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, a 1769-born naturalist and explorer from Prussia.
Other ships that have sailed or will sail for Phoenix are linked below
Athena (2009-2011) is placed as Astoria under the companypage of CMV Cruises
Amera (from 2019) is listed as Prinsendam under Holland America Line