South America’s first local year-round operation is set to start next year as Pampa Cruises will start cruise service in January.
The Argentina-based cruise line has acquired the 1974-built Salamis Filoxenia, which will arrive in South America later this month.
“The Salamis Filoxenia, ex-Van Gogh, has just drydocked in Greece and will be renamed Arrecife and will be our vessel,” said Milton Sanches, director of operations and sales in Brazil.
Sanches is a veteran of the local cruise industry, having chartered ships before under his own brand, BCR, and having worked for various cruise lines and local operators such as Pullmantur and CVC.
Previous plans to charter the Delphin on a five-year deal were put on hold as the ship is currently laid up in Croatia.
“We are planning our first cruise for January 23,” Sanches told Cruise Industry News.
The Arrecife will sail 33 cruises from Recife from January to June, ranging from three to six nights, calling on Fernando de Noronha island. Other port stops include Cabedelo, Natal and Maceió. All scheduled port calls are relatively unique when compared to itineraries run by other operators in South America.
Repositioning cruises are set for June, departing from Recife and Santos as the vessel moves to Buenos Aires for her summer program.
Launched in 1975 as the Gruziya, the Arrecife was originally a cruise ferry. In the 1980s the ship was converted to full-time cruising and was last refurbished in 2002. The 800-guest vessel was sold to the Cyprus-based Salamis Cruise Line in 2009. According to Pampa, the vessel is registered in the Bahamas and classified by Lloyd’s Register.