Russia and the Russian Ministry of Transport are looking at plans to create a new Russian cruise line to operate in the Black Sea.
In co-operation with Sovfracht and Rosmorport, the new cruise line would be established to bring back passenger traffic to the Black Sea area and to raise the economic profile and tourist profile of the area. With the geopolitical events within the Black Sea area over recent years, buisness and commerce have been hit in the Black Sea ports and the creation of a new cruise line could create a boost to these ports.
The ship they are planning to use would be the Roy Star formerly Royal Iris. The 1971 built, 9159grt Panaman registered ship was orginally built for Southern Ferries as MV Eagle and was to be used for the Southampton-Lisbon-Tangier service. However this was shortlived before being sold to Paguet Cruises in 1975 where she would serve for subsidary company Nouvelle Cie. de Paquebots as a cruise/ferry and was renamed Azur. However, when ferry services were dropped, they converted the ship into a full time cruise ship with extra cabins built into the car decks within the hull and a swimming pool added on her stern. Since then, she has subsequently had spells with Chandris Lines, Festival Cruises and more recently with Mano Maritime until they ceased operations.
Reports suggest that they plan to sail year round from Sochi with ports of calls to include Yalta, Sevastopol and Istanbul.