The owner of the world’s oldest oceangoing cruise ship denies that it is ending a 75-year career.

A spokesman for Puerto Rico-based The Roundtable LLC claims that reports by brokers this week that the 16,144-gt Astoria (built 1948) has been sold for recycling at a European Union-approved are incorrect.

This denial comes despite S&P Global’s International Ships Register recently changed the ship's status to “to be broken up”.

However, The Roundtable spokesman told TradeWinds on Wednesday that while a deal to sell the ship is currently being negotiated, the buyer has indicated that the ship will be used for further trading.

The Astoria has had what is arguably one of the most colourful careers of any ship. It began in the dark days of World War II, when Swedish American Line ordered a passenger ship at AB Gotaverken in 1944.

Built with an ice-strengthened bow for year-round transatlantic liner service, the ship, as Stockholm, sailed on its first voyage in February 1948, becoming the world’s first post-war passenger ship newbuilding.

Small in comparison with other passenger ships engaged in the transatlantic trade, the Stockholm would have had an unremarkable career had it not slammed into the flagship of the Italian government’s passenger fleet, the 29,000-gt Andrea Doria (built 1953), on a foggy night off New York in July 1956.

The Andrea Doria sank. The Stockholm survived with a crumpled bow. The collision cost the lives of 51 passengers and crew from both ships.

Swedish American Line sold the Stockholm to East Germany’s VEB Deutsche Seereederei in 1960.

Renamed Volkerfreundschaft, it was converted into a cruise ship for the Communist Party and trade union members.

Under the name Stockholm, the Astoria collided with the Italian liner Andrea Dorea in 1956. While the Italian ship sank, the badly damaged Stockholm managed to limp to New York for repairs. Photo: Unknown author/Creative Commons

The Volkerfreundschaft was sold in 1985 to Neptunus Rex Enterprises, a Panamanian-registered company that chartered it to the Norwegian government, which used it as a barracks ship in Oslo for asylum seekers.

During this time the ship was named after the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen.

Italy’s Starlauro was the next owner, acquiring it in 1989 with the intention of rebuilding it for further use as the cruise ship Sorrento.

The ship was sold to Nina di Navigazione before any work was done, and soon it was moved to a shipyard where it was completely gutted and rebuilt into the Italia Prima, a modern cruise ship capable of carrying 580 passengers.

The former Swedish transatlantic liner spent several years in an Italian shipyard being rebuilt into the cruise ship Italia Prima for Nina di Navigazione. Photo: Angelgreat/Creative Commons

Nina mostly put the Italia Prima out on charter to other cruise operators, as did next owner Classic International Cruises, for which it sailed as Athena.

Next, the ship was sold to Portuguese start-up Portuscale Cruises, which renamed it Azores and put it out under charter.

UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) was one of those charterers. It renamed the ship Astoria and continued to charter it from mortgage holder Montepio Bank after Portuscale collapsed in 2015.

CMV entered administration in 2020, leading to the Astoria being seized by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

Montepio stepped in to reclaim the vessel, moving it to Rotterdam, where attempts were made to find a buyer.

The Roundtable, a company affiliated with crypto currency billionaire Brock Pierce, acquired the Astoria in mid-2021 with the intention of using it as a cruise ship.

The company later backtracked on these plans, and put the ship back on the sales market.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent the ship from being sold for scrap,” The Roundtable spokesman said.

This article has been updated to include comments from The Roundtable