It is a high part of the Scandinavian cruise which is disappearing. Kristina Cruises announced the sale of Kristina Katarina to International Shipping Partners, an owner operating its cruise ships (about 12) by charter. Without its own ship, the Finnish family company officially stops the adventure began in 1985 aboard Kristina Brahe. Until 2010, this tiny vessel (56 meters long, she could welcome 90 guests) sailed along the Finnish coasts for little cruises aiming the national audience. From 1987, Brahe will be completed by a larger cruise ship, operated in the whole Europe until the Mediterranean Sea. S/S Kristina Regina, ex-Bore, is an ex-steamship formerly sailing in the Baltic sea as ferry. From this time, we regularly see the company's colors in the French ports : both Kristina Regina and then Kristina Katarina always come in the same ports, including Brest and Cherbourg in the North-West.
On 2010, to replace Regina, became too old, Kristina purchases Mano Cruises' The Iris : after a huge refit, the car-ferry becomes a cruise ship and is renamed Kristina Katarina. She is operated in the same way as Regina, even if she sails until the Azores and the Black Sea. Larger and more modern than the former, she is the own high-sea cruise ship exclusively operated for the Finnish audience : for three years, she managed to build a strong quality standing on her straight commercial place.
An ill wind is blowing across the little independent owners. While the economical crisis strengthened the price war launched by the largest corporations, the always harder safety requirements make difficult to operate old units. Indeed, the present year will be decisive for the European cruise industry : from 2015, the main part of the waterways around the Old World will be ruled by drastic regulations concerning the atmosphere wastes. The owners will have to make a choice between a munch less cheap fuel, or young and expensive technologies. In both cases, it is necessary to raise funds for a colossal investment, what is not possible for a lot of little companies. We can expect many bankrupt like Kristina's one in the following months.
Next week, as a tribute to Kristina Cruises, PassengerShips will offer you to discover the two high-sea cruise ships owned by Kristina Cruises. Tuesday, a visit aboard Kristina Regina (now floatting hostel in Turku) will be published ; on Thursday, you will be able to visit Kristina Katarina, the company's very last vessel.