MV Funchal


MV Funchal in Helsinki, June 2009
MV Funchal in Helsinki, June 2009
Name: Funchal
Namesake: Funchal
Operator: Empresa Insulana de Navegação
Port of registry: Lisbon
Builder: Helsingør Skibsværft A/S
Yard number: 353
Maiden voyage: 4 November 1961
In service: 1961
Out of service: 1974
Refit: 1972
Homeport: Lisbon
Name: Funchal
Operator: CTM - Companhia Portuguesa de Transportes Marítimos
Port of registry: Lisbon
In service: 1974
Out of service: 1985
Refit: 1972
Homeport: Lisbon
Name: Funchal
Owner: G. Warwick Co. Inc
Operator: Classic International Cruises
Port of registry:
In service: 1985
Out of service: 2011
Status: Transferred to Portuscale Cruises in 2013
Name: Funchal
Operator: Portuscale Cruises
Port of registry: Madeira,  Portugal
In service: 2013
Out of service: 2015
Refit: 2013
Status: Laid-up[1]
General characteristics
Type: Cruise liner
Tonnage: 9,563 GRT
Length: 152.6 m (501 ft)
Beam: 19.05 m (62.5 ft)
Depth: 6.18 m (20.3 ft)
Decks: 6
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Capacity: 524 passengers
Crew: 155

MV Funchal is a Portuguese passenger and cruise liner. It is the last remaining ship and symbol of the once large fleet of Portuguese liners. Since the beginning of 2013, Funchal had been owned and operated by the Portuguese cruise company Portuscale Cruises.

Construction and configuration

Funchal under construction at Helsingor on February 5, 1961

The ship was built in 1961, under the guidance of the Portuguese naval engineer Rogério d'Oliveira. Funchal is an ocean liner with a classic profile and interiors.

The ship's features include stabilisation, air-conditioning, three lifts, a main show lounge (Ilha Verde), piano bar (Porto Bar), club room, library, card room, lido bar, shop, photo shop, medical centre, excursion office, and reception with exchange facilities.

Early service

Funchal served as a Portuguese presidential yacht. The ship was once owned by one of the wealthiest families in the Azores.[citation needed]

Service with Classic International Cruises

Funchal was the first vessel to join the Classic International Cruises fleet in 1984, and under that flag successfully served the British cruise market for over 20 years, carrying thousands of passengers.

Having undergone extensive work in 2010, to comply with SOLAS 2010, Funchal went back to a Lisbon Shipyard in February 2011 for a lengthy refit, which would include changes to its power plant as well as passenger and crew cabins and public lounges. The idea was to make the ship fit for service for at least another ten years. In November 2011, she completed 50 years of service, always under the same name. However, in 2012, work stopped towards April with only 20% of the required work completed. Following Classic International Cruises' liquidation, in December 2012, the ship faced the threat of being sold for scrap.

Service with Portuscale Cruises

In early 2013 a Portuguese entrepreneur Rui Alegre purchased Funchal—as well as Princess Danae, Arion and Athena—to serve the newly-formed Portuscale Cruises. During 2013, Funchal was extensively refurbished in Lisbon's Naval Rocha shipyards, being upgraded to a 4-star vessel, at a cost of about 10 million Euros. In the refurbishment, the ship's hull was re-painted black, its original colour.

On 1 August 2013, the refurbished Funchal was re-instated, in the presence of prime-minister Passos Coelho. In late August 2013, the ship left drydock in Lisbon, Portugal and, on 27 August 2013, arrived in Gothenburg, Sweden, to restart her cruising career.

On 28 August 2013, the refurbished Funchal was not released from the harbour in Gothenburg. The cruiseship was fully loaded with passengers but was not allowed to leave. According to some Swedish press accounts, many security issues were found.[2] In a press release, the Portuscale Cruise CEO denied the existence of security issues, saying that the issues were related to the malfunctioning of two watertight doors and one sprinkler station, issues that had already been detected by the crew, who had informed the Swedish Port State Control authorities.

On 2 September 2013, with the issues resolved, and all inspections made and certifications granted, Funchal left Gothenburg harbour and restarted her cruise, heading to Scotland.[3]

Signature Living

On 5 December 2018 Funchal was sold at auction in Lisbon for 3.1 million. The buyers were named as Signature Living, a UK-based hotel group who intended to convert the ship to a party hotel to travel from Liverpool to the Mediterranean.[4][5][6] However payment was not made and ship continued laid up in Lisbon where future was uncertain. According to industry sources, the classic 1961-built Funchal will soon be towed to Liverpool as new owners Signature Living have made the final payment on the vessel. “Their plans have changed again and they will not be locating her in Ibiza as previously reported,” said a source familiar with the situation. Thus, Signature Living plan to tow the ship to Liverpool, refurbish her, and then find a permanent spot for the vessel in the UK as a hotel vessel.[7]

On 30 June 2020 Signature Living entered administration with the administrators arranging for the disposal of Funchal. She remains moored in Lisbon.[8]


  1. ^ "Paquete Funchal imobilizado na Margueira" [Steamship Funchal immobilized in Margueira]. Sergio@cruises.blogspot (in Portuguese). 22 April 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ Pavlica, Adrianna (28 August 2013). "Fartyget stoppades – ligger kvar i Göteborg" [The ship was stopped—will remain in Gothenburg]. (in Swedish). Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Portuscale Cruises - The Discoveries Continue". Portuscale Cruises. 2013. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  4. ^ Neves, Rui (5 December 2018). "Britânica Signature Living compra o paquete Funchal por 3,91 milhões". Jornal de Negocios (in Portuguese). Cofina Media SA. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Funchal Poised to Become Hotel Ship in London". Cruise Industry News. New York, USA. 7 December 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  6. ^ "It's Anchors Aweigh on the Signature Living Party Boat Hotel". Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links and further reading

  • MarineTraffic: FUNCHAL - Current position of RV Funchal, recent port calls and live map view.
  • MV Funchal ship profile - Portuscale Cruises profile for MV Funchal, showing deck plans and information about the public areas of the ship.
  • ssMaritime: SS Funchal - Early history of SS Funchal.