Former names: Astor, Feodor Dostoevskiy
Built 1987, HDW Kiel, West Germany
Tonnage 21 000 GT
Length 176,50 m
Width 22,61 m
Draugth 5,80 m
578 passengers (650 passengers maximum)
4 Sulzer-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 15 400 kW
1 bow thrusters
Speed 16,5 knots (18 knots maximum)
The Astor is currently the only ship belonging to Transocean Cruises (previously Transocean Tours), after the company was reorganized in 2009 following insolvency. The ship in itself is utterly fascinating: built in 1987 at Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel, she was the last purpose-built ocean liner to be completed before the Queen Mary 2, although she never sailed as such.
The Astor had been ordered by Safmarine in 1985 to replace an earlier ship (also named Astor, at the time of writing sailing as Saga Cruises' Saga Pearl II. For more details see the 1st entry on the Saga Pearl II). The second Astor was to be essentially identical to the first, but slightly larger and with more powerful engines to make her better suited for the Southampton-Cape Town -route. However, before the second Astor could ever be completed, in 1986 Safmarine decided to abandon the liner service and the under-construction Astor was sold to the Marlan Corporation.
The Astor was completed in early 1987 and placed on cruises around the Caribbean. In late 1988 she was sold to the Soviet Union's Black Sea Shipping Company and renamed Feodor Dostoevskiy. For a little over a year she was chartered to Transocean Tours, before being chartered for five years to Neckermann Seereisen. At the end of that charter in 1995 the ship reverted to her original name Astor as was chartered to Aquamarin. The next year she was (again) chartered to Transocean Tours. In 2002-2008 she was joined in the Transocean fleet by her elder semi-sister, which was now named Astoria.
Today the Astor remains in service with Transocean Cruises, making cruises aimed at the German market.
The photographs below show the Astor at Helsinki South Harbour and passing though the Kustaanmiekka strait departing Helsinki on 4 September 2011. Click on the images to see them in larger size.
|Transocean Tours used a lighter, turquise shade on the hull and funnel markings, but after the company became Transocean Cruises in 2009, these were changed to a darker, more nautical shade of blue seen here.|
|In 2010 the Astor has been given additional structures on the forwards superstructure (below the bridge), which make her less good-looking, but at least make it easier to tell her apart from her near-sister Saga Pearl II.|
|And then the usual set of photos showing the ship passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait.|
|They don't make ships as sleek as this anymore, do they? Now with funnels quite to big and phallic.|
|The ramparts and sunset reflections.|
|Does it really matter what I'm writing here? Does anyone read these captions anyway?|