Monday, August 05, 2013

Liners to Australia

GALILEO and MARCONI: Lloyd Triestino 1963 twins

"The Galileo & Marconi were the ultimate Italian liners on the Aussie run," according to Sydney-based Keith Hickey. "I had my first meal aboard in the early '60s. Italian food was then still very exotic in Australia. I had spaghetti as a starter. I remember it being hard to eat. I had to be very neat and very exact. I also remember that the menu was in Italian and in English. These ships had lots of outdoor decks with great pools. They were better than any of the other Italian rebuilds, which were second in popularity. Chandris was popular as well, but in third place. For Australians, it was noted to go to Europe in tourist class on Lloyd Triestino, but return home in first class and avoid the Italian, Greek and other Mediterranean migrants."

"The Southern Cross was the great fore-runner of modern design in big liners. She had her funnel placed far aft and that allowed for open mid ship passenger space. Engines aft was the future," remembered Keith Hickey, an Australian ocean liner enthusiast. "The Southern Cross was already big news when she was launched at Belfast in 1954. The Queen especially went there, flying over from Scotland, for the naming. Every detail was typically planned, as I remember. But there was too much low cloud and the royal flight was delayed. The launching was set for an exact time. Everything had to go as planned. But then everyone was worried about the Queen. In the end, the Queen and her entourage arrived just 15 minutes before the launching. It all went as planned. It was, in fact, the first ship launched by the Queen as Queen."
"The Southern Cross was novel for her time -- she was all-tourist class. Passengers in a single cabin were the same as those in a 6-berth. She was well ahead of her time. She even looked very modern, very contemporary. She had a light violet hull and green upper works at first. She actually looked bright, even tropical. She carried no cargo whatsoever and was a first even for that. She was the very best ship of her time for migrants and low-fare roundtrippers." She went on to several other lives. in 1973, she was sold by Britain's Shaw Savill Line to be rebuilt as the Greek cruise ship Calypso for the shortlived Ulysses Line. In 1980, she joined Western Cruise Lines and became the Azure Seas. In 1992, she changed again and for the last time to Ocean Breeze, continuing to operate for owners such as Admiral Cruises, Dolphin Cruise Lines and finally Imperial Majesty Cruise Line. She had a good, long life -- lasting 48 years until sold to scrappers in Bangladesh and then being broken-up in remote Chittagong in the fall of 2003. Yesterday's photo showed that 20,200-ton liner berthed at San Pedro, in the Port of Los Angeles, as the Azure Seas. I did a 4-night trip on her to Mexico in February 1990.
"At the Shaw Savill Line, the Northern Star of 1962 was a larger, slightly improved version of the Southern Cross of 1955. The Northern Star actually replaced the Dominion Monarch, an old veteran that dated from 1939. TheNorthern Star was named at her launch by the Queen Mother and had lots of publicity in her maiden year. But she was always a tender ship, however. She had mechanical difficulties from the start as well. It was even rumored that she was almost lost during her sea trials in the North Sea. From the beginning, she never had the popularity of the Southern Cross. She may have been bigger and an improvement in ways, but the Northern Star never had the right feel."
The 24,733-ton Northern Star was never a lucky ship -- she had constant mechanical problems, breakdowns, cancelled cruises, bad press and seemingly a continuously unhappy crew. Consequently, she had one of the shortest careers in all ocean liner history -- she lasted only 13 years! In November 1975, she was prematurely delivered to scrappers on Taiwan. No one it seemed wanted her. In early 1976, she was demolished. She is seen in the attached photo in March 1972 at Melbourne.
Texto e imagens /Text and images copyright Bill Miller. Favor não piratear. Respeite o meu trabalho / No piracy, please. For other posts and images, check our archive at the right column of the main page. Click on the photos to see them enlarged. Thanks for your visit and comments. Luís Miguel Correia
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