2000 - 2001  Under Greek flag

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Aegean Spirit, 12.06.2000
Aegean Spirit in Golden Sun livery.   Photo by Nelson de Barros Pereira. Available at Simplon Postcards.
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First official photo of Aegean Spirit (Symphony with retouched stack; see Ital. flag!)
27.03.2000 Ship is handed over in Genoa; renamed  AEGEAN SPIRIT
 31.03.2000 AEGEAN SPIRIT begins 3- and  4-day cruises from Athens
In the port of Iraklion a bulkhead in a fuel tank burst and forced the 542 passengers to evacuate the listing ship
- 17.02.2001
7-day Canary Islands cruise from Las Palmas  
Already on 4 May 1999 Golden Sun Cruises announced, that they would employ the ship in the 3- and 4-day Aegean cruise business in Summer 2000. This company had formed a subsidiary to operate its new acquisition, which was called Traditional Cruise Line (TCL). After her return from South Africa on 27 March 2000 she was handed over to Golden Sun Cruises in Genoa for a long-term charter with an option to buy the ship and the SYMPHONY became the AEGEAN SPIRIT. Already 4 days later she departed from Piraeus for her first cruise under her new name.
But the season began with a malheur: On 22.06.2000 all 542 passengers on board AEGEAN SPIRIT were forced to evacuate the vessel after a bulkhead in a fuel tank bust and caused the vessel to list while in the port of Iraklion (island of Crete). The cruise was called off and all passengers were brought back to Athens by ferry.

So things did not bode well for this fine seagoing veteran, which still looked like a real ship. Will she be successful in the struggle to survive against the ugly new megaliners in the years to come, on a cruise market, where competition becomes more and more fierce?

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