All text and photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Paul Timmerman; photographs on this page made during ship visit in 1984.
Reception area, Azores deck
1961 in Elsinore, Denmark, Funchal served as
a liner until 1972, when she was rebuilt as a cruise
ship. Her steam engines were
replaced by fuel efficient diesels in the process. In liner service, she sailed
between Lisbon, the Azores, Madeira, the Portuguese African colonies and
the Canary Islands, carrying three classes of
passengers. Funchal was owned by a very wealthy family living on the Azores during this early
stage of her career, sailing for the company Empresa Insulana. She began sailing
in 1973 as a cruise ship and has proven to be very popular in this role. She has
developed a loyal following over the years,
and is often chartered by
Scandinavian (Swedish) Fritidskryss.
Coimbra restaurant, Azores deck
cruises take her to South America in the winter, whilst in summer, she sails to
varying destinations like the Norwegian Fjords, the Atlantic Islands, The
Mediterranean, but also past the Arctic Circle until she reaches pack-ice.
after her conversion to a full time cruise
ship, was owned by Compania
Transportes Maritimos. In 1985 she changed from Portuguese to Panamanian
registry, when she was sold again, this time to Great Warwick Inc. She sailed under mixed Swedish, Greek and Portuguese
management then, but until today
with a Portuguese crew. In 1986 she was refitted again, Funchal soldiers on
today, sailing for
after the partnership with the Swedish ended.
Gama Lounge, Promenade deck
Funchal was chartered for a cruise program in Autralian waters when she suffered engine problems on her port engine during her positioning voyage. Her passengers were flown back home and the vessel was laid up for a short period in Safaga, Egypt before repairs were carried out.
It was on one of her Australian voyages, while she was docked at Hobart, when in March 2006, several passengers suffered from respiratory illness. Seven passengers had to be taken to hospital while others were treated on board. This was probably caused by a virus on board.
But Funchal stubbornly soldiers on, and although cabins onboard Funchal are relatively small, and some cabins even share facilties, she still attracts enough passengers. They don't mind living with the fact that there are considerable differences between the different categories which reminds one of her days as a liner, when she operated as a two class vessel, even carrying deck passengers.
Click on thumbnail for larger image
Shop, Promenade deck Porto Bar, Promenade deck