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christopher middleton - Answered a Question by Gillian Gadsby (25 Jan 09 17:36)

French-operated cruise company CroisiEurope, the MS Camargue (built in 1995, renovated in 2006 with 73 cabins), MS Van Gogh (built in 1999 with 76 cabins) and MS Mistral (built in 1999 with 78 cabins). Public areas include a lounge, viewing deck and one sitting restaurant and the cabins have private facilities, safe, satellite TV, air-conditioning and picture windows. looks like she is now doing river cruises in France.

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Gadsby - replied to christopher middleton (25 Jan 09 18:09)

Thanks, my parents have studied this vessel on CroisiEurope website , they're sure it's not the original VanGogh, it's much smaller+suited for rivercruising only, rather odd another vessel being called by the same name, but good of you to reply, thanksagain.

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christopher middleton - replied to Gadsby (26 Jan 09 11:41)

Looks like i have goofed 2 van gogh's , the one with the one ear is the real one.

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James - Answered a Question by Gillian Gadsby (25 Jan 09 23:39)

Hi, apologies to Messrs Middleton but he has the wrong VG.............I know a little about the history of the Van Gogh as she used to be a frequent visitor to our local port of Falmouth. I have seen her many times in, entering or leaving port and I have been on her myself a couple of times, in between her Mediterranean and Caribbean Cruises, she used to do 2-4 day cruises around the United Kingdom. She was not in the same league as most of well-known cruise ships, but still very pleasant for the odd weekend. The Van Gogh had a colourful life, and I can take you as far as the end of summer 2008.......... The Van Gogh started her life in 1975 as the soviet passenger ship Gruziya, with the Black Sea Shipping Co in the eastern Mediterranean and Back Sea. In 1992 under Odessa America Cruises finds Gruziya, sailing from Montreal, Florida Mississippi, & St Petersburg...........May 1994 Gruziya, is chartered by the US Military, for US personnel in the exercise of their duties. .......1995 New UK owners Blasco United Kingdom, Gruziya, rename her Odessa Sky, Sold again in August 1988 to Dutch Gerard van Leest, Cruise Club, and renamed Club 1 March 1999. .............December 1999, Nouvelles Frontieres charter Club 1for Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises, and some 9 months later Club 1 becomes Van Gogh and 2002 chartered to Travelscope..................December 2007, go into administration, Cruise Club take over the planned January 2008 Cruise, intending to carry on with her cruises, formed a subsidiary company , Van Gogh Cruises. Alias things were not good for this brave little ship, unable to obtain ABTA membership Van Gogh Cruises ceased operating in April 2008. Van Gogh is chartered to Russian based Metropolis Tur as far as I can ascertain she is still with MT ( I don’t speak or read Russian so can’t understand their website.............your parents will find some interesting photos on www.simplonpc.co.uk/Gruziya.html, there are some interesting links from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mv_Van_Gogh and if your Russian is good www.mkruiz.ru/ship/vangogh/index.htm...........Hope this helps .

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Gillian Gadsby - replied to James (26 Jan 09 11:43)

Thankyou, all really interesting , my parents had a wonderful time on this particular cruise and have fond memories of her and her crew and their fellow passengers , it made the news because of the circumstances of Travelscope at that time, it was their cruise of a lifetime, and my dad (80 next month) was interested to find out the final chapters of this as you say "brave little ship", will show them your reply, and will look at Russian website etc etc in due course. Thanks so much, regards, Gill.

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Neal - Answered a Question by Gillian Gadsby (25 Jan 09 23:51)

She's apparently available if you want to buy her! You're quite right, this is not the river cruiser of the same name, but a 460-passenger ocean cruiser. When Travelscope went belly-up, she was bought by the Dutch firm Cruise Club, and operated as a single-vessel subsidiary by a former director of Travelscope, under the name of Van Goch Cruise Line Ltd. Couldn't get ABTA bonding. Cos ABTA weren't daft - on 1st April 08 impounded in Madeira, due to a debt. VGCC then went same way as Travelsphere. Cruise Club, quite a large fleet by all accounts, folded completely later last year. As I understand, all the ships are up for sale, incl Van Goch, which at the end of December was at Piraeus - again impounded over debts. I don't have any inside-knowledge - just bored & surfed the net. Dial up www.irishseashipping.com, click on "contents", then on "news bulletins & viewpoint", then on " News 2008", then on" April ", then scroll down to 2nd April. Do the same with December, scrolling down to December 17th. And probably elsewhere. Like I said, I was bored!!!! Chris.

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Gillian Gadsby - replied to Neal (26 Jan 09 11:32)

Thanks verymuch,I know my parents will be really interested in your reply, welldone , glad you found some info+pleased your boredom led to you unearthing some info, I will look at what you suggest +show my parents in due course, regards, Gill.

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James - replied to Neal (26 Jan 09 11:58)

Thanks for bringing us up to December 2008, Chris, this poor ship has a history of being arrested, owner debt,and even crew mutiny I believe there were 5 ships under Cruise Club, Travelscope chartered VG and sister ship Athena both used to visit Falmouth frequently. Many land locked used to visit Pendennis Point Falmouth to wave them in and out, especially on Sundays!

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Neal - replied to James (26 Jan 09 13:36)

Don't know the ship, but from photos she's a fine looking little cruiser. Great shame. But apparently she's being maintained by the port authorities rather than being left to rot, so mebbe she'll return some day. Chris.

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S - Answered a Question by Gillian Gadsby (08 Oct 09 02:58)

I worked on the Van Gogh back in 2005, when Travelscope were apparently "operating" the Van Gogh. The vessel was actually owned by a Dutch company called 'Club Cruise' along with about 6 other ships, including the other ship offered by Travelscope, the Athena. As James states (albeit longwindedly) it started off as a Russian car ferry back in 1975. In fact some of the inner watertight doors were still showing "Car Deck Aft" on them, and a lot of service doors in the crew-only corridors still had Russian writing on. Most of the ship's crew however were Ukrainian, with a lot of Indonesian waiters and bar staff. Travelscope advertised the main cruise, a 'round-the-world in three months' cruise at a price which was in fact, commercial suicide. I think most passengers paid about Ł3000 for the full trip. Travelscope were actually making a loss at this price, but hoped that the uniqueness of the cruise, would provide lots of publicity and drag in extra passengers next time. It wasn't a world cruise where you flew out to meet it, and flew home two weeks later from somewhere a bit further along the route - It was sold as a full duration world cruise. The Entertainments team were provided by Excellent Entertainment (AKA, 'The Agency', run by Marc Sorrentino in London). An American company called Hire Notes were also sub-contracted to provide the lead male vocal Jeff Hutson. When the port authorities of Madeira tried to bill Travelscope for berthing fees, Travelscope had gone into receivership, and Club Cruise were operating the ship themeselves. The Madeira port authorities did not care who owned the vessel, just about the thousands of dollars owed to them in berthing fees, and so the ship was arrested until the fees were paid. This was one of the main contributing factors of Club Cruise's demise.

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