Initially known as First European Cruises in North America, Festival Cruises operated between 1994-2004. This was a Greek cruise liner founded by George Poulides in 1992.He initially used second hand ships to build his fleet of operations. In 2004 the company was forced to declare for bankruptcy.
The cruise liner was founded in 1992. The first operations of the company started in 1994. The Festival Cruises purchased MS the Azur from another cruise liner named Chandris Cruises. In 1993 the company added one more ship when they purchased MS Starward from Norwegian Cruise Line. Later MS Starward was renamed as MS Bolero. In 1997 MS Southern Cross was purchased from Premier Cruise Line and was renamed MS Flamenco.
A fourth ship was acquired in 1999 which was a new built named MS Mistral. Chantiers de 1’ Atlantique in France delivered the ship. In 2000 Festival Cruises merged within Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O).Thus the brand name Festival Cruises came under P&O ownership.MS European Vision and MS European Stars, two new ships built as enlarged version of MS Mistral started operations in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Other shipping operators later took services of Bolero and Flamenco from Festival Cruises.
|Key people||George Poulides|
Early in 2004, Festival Cruises went bankrupt. All the ships of the company were laid up and auctioned to other shipping companies.MSC Cruises bought European Stars and European Vision; a French investor group bought Mistral and later chartered the ship to Iberojet. Mano Maritime bought The Azur, Orient Queen Shipping Company bought Bolero and Cruise Elysia bought Flamenco.
for Festival Cruises
|Tonnage||Status as of 2008|
|MS The Azur||1971||1994–2004||11,609 GRT||Since 2004 MS Royal Iris for Mano Maritime.|
|MS Bolero||1968||1995–2001||12,948 GRT||Since 2006 MS Orient Queen for Louis Cruise Lines.|
|MS Flamenco||1972||1997–2003||17,370 GRT||Since 2004 MS New Flamenco for Cruise Elysia.|
|MS Mistral||1999||1999–2004||47,276 GT||Since 2005 MS Grand Mistral for Iberocruceros.|
|MS European Vision||2001||2001–2004||58,174 GT||Since 2004 MS MSC Armonia for MSC Cruises.|
|MS European Stars||2002||2002–2004||58,625 GT||Since 2004 MS MSC Sinfonia for MSC Cruises.|