S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

AUSTRALIS

THE MANY LIVES OF A GREAT SHIP

 

FROM AMERICA TO  AUSTRALIS

 

1964-1978

Passengers carried 300,000       miles sailed 1,682,000

.In 1964 transatlantic passenger were jumping ship and jetting to Europe. The America lost $ 1 million; and United States Lines put the ship up for sale.
On the other side of the world passenger service from England to Australia and New Zealand was booming; In a move to attract immigrants the Australian and New Zealand Governments offered subsidize steamship ticket to encourage immigration. Using the Australian assisted passage program, an accepted immigrant could sail for as little as ₤10, or roughly $25. Their only obligation was a two year stay. For a slightly higher charge they could leave at any time.
On October 9 1965 The America left New York on her last round-trip crossing. On her return she was sold to Chandris Lines, a Greek shipping company. Renamed Australis, and sailed to Greece and for a refit. The ship’s capacity was increased from 1,046 to 2,258. Gone were the old class segregations replaced by one class, tourist. Air conditioning and a large outdoor pool provided relief in sub-tropical weather. Over the next 14 years the Australis would make sixty-two around the world voyages, transporting more than 300,000 passengers.

Many hours and days I spent on her at Southampton and at sea en route to Rotterdam or Cherbourg or Piraeus. Berths 38 and 105 Southampton Docks still echo to me with vivid scenes from her arrival and departure days – mountains of baggage, anxious passengers no doubt wondering what lay ahead Down Under, delayed arrivals and record breaking turn-rounds; the day the entire Greek Hotel staff, Master and senior officers were replaced by Italians who were simply overwhelmed by having to cope with an embarkation of 2200 passengers; the fire in the Pacific and dealing with the passengers airlifted from Suva to Gatwick; a famous (for the crew!) Northbound voyage with over 1000 nubile, single Australian and New Zealand young ladies on board…….and of course the last departure in November 1977.

  Michael Yannaghas, former member of Chandris Lines’ -and later, Celebrity Cruises’ – London management,

TO PASSENGER AND CREW STORIES

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