Got $2 million to spare? You now can own your very own cruise ship

Dec 30, 2020

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Thinking about buying a yacht in the coming year? Why not go big and get yourself your very own cruise ship?

One of the last classic cruise vessels dating to the 1960s is coming up for auction in the coming weeks in the wake of the collapse of yet another cruise-related venture — and it could sell for far less than the cost of even a mid-size yacht.

Dating to 1961, the 240-cabin Funchal has an estimated value of just $2.2 million. That’s just a quarter the price of the average second-hand yacht, according to yachting sites.

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Six decks high and 507 feet long, Funchal also is a heck of a lot bigger than the typical yacht, and it can hold more people. It’s designed to carry up to 524 passengers.

But, of course, there are downsides to owning a giant cruise vessel. For starters, you’ll have to hire a sizeable crew. Funchal normally operates with a staff of 155 people.

Currently docked in Lisbon, Funchal will be auctioned off by sealed tender on Jan. 29. London-based CW Kellock & Co, a ship auctioneer and broker, is handling the auction.

Constructed by Danish shipbuilder Helsingor Skibsvaerft, Funchal has a classic ocean liner look. It also has a storied history. It originally was built as an ocean liner for the Portuguese shipping line Empresa Insulana de Navegação, but it also was used at times as the Portuguese presidential yacht. It also once was owned by one of the wealthiest families in the Azores.

The vessel for many years served the Portuguese market. But it also had a second act in life as one of the core vessels for now-defunct Classic International Cruises.

Funchal was the very first ship in the Classic International fleet after the line’s founding in 1985. Classic International collapsed in 2012.

Related: Former Carnival, Holland America ships up for auction 

Funchal’s current owner, a division of the UK’s Signature Living Group, had planned to turn the vessel into a “floating beach club” off the coast of Ibiza — the Spanish island known for its party vibe. The idea was to make Funchal a party ship with a vibrant bar scene and on-deck entertainment from the world’s top DJs.

The 240-cabin Funchal will be sold at auction in January. (Image courtesy of CW Kellock and Co).

But the division entered into administration in April as travel around the globe shut down due to the new coronavirus.

The Funchal project was just one of a number of smaller cruise ventures that shut down this year as the coronavirus-related travel shutdown took a toll on the travel industry.

Related: Why your favorite cruise line probably isn’t going out of business

Funchal can be inspected by would-be buyers by arrangement with CW Kellock & Co.

For details about the bidding process and particulars about the ship, would-be bidders should contact CW Kellock & Co by email at kellock@eggarforrester.com.

CW Kellock & Co has not posted a pre-auction price estimate for the ship. But online sites have estimated its value at around 1.8 million euros — about $2.2 million.

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Featured image of Funchal from CW Kellock and Co

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