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Phoenix Reisen is a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships. The company first entered the cruise business in 1988 by chartering the Soviet Union-owned cruise ship SS Maxim Gorkiy.

Phoenix Reisen first begun operating cruises under its own brand in 1988 when the company chartered the West German-built cruise ship SS Maxim Gorkiy from the Soviet Union-based Black Sea Shipping Company on a 20-year charter agreement.[2][3] In 1993 a second ship joined the Phoenix Reisen fleet, when SS Albatros was chartered from V-Ships. Unlike the Maxim Gorkiy, which retained the colours of her owners in Phoenix service, the Albatros was painted in Phoenix Reisen's own colours with a turquoise funnel displaying the company logo.
Due to numerous mechanical problems, Phoenix Reisen decided to prematurely terminate the charter of the Albatros in December 2003. As a replacement Phoenix quickly chartered MS Crown in January 2004, which was renamed MS Albatros. In 2005 the company fleet expanded to include three ships for the first time when MS Alexander von Humboldt (2005) was chartered from V-Ships. A fourth ship followed in 2006 with the charter of MS Amadea, a higher-class vessel compared with the rest of the Phoenix Reisen fleet. In 2008 the first Alexander von Humboldt was replaced by a larger vessel chartered from Club Cruise, confusingly also named MS Alexander von Humboldt (before entering service the ship was marketed as Alexander von Humboldt II, but she eventually received the same name as the ship she replaced).

In late 2008 the charter of the Maxim Gorkiy ended, and due to high fuel prices combined with the high fuel consumption of the ship's steam turbines Phoenix Reisen decided not to renew the charter. In May 2009 Phoenix Reisen chartered MS Athena from Nina SpA. In April 2011, the company took delivery of MV Artania, which formerly sailed as MV Artemis for P&O Cruises.

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