All text and photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Paul Timmerman; photographs on this page made during a cruise in 1988 when she sailed as Romanza for Chandris Cruises.
1954 she was sold to the
Line and was renamed Aurelia. Taken at once to a Trieste shipyard, she was much
improved. Her accommodation was upgraded, air-conditioning was installed and she
was given an outdoor pool. She could now carry 1124 passengers. Starting from
1955, she sailed on voyages from Genova via several Mediterranean ports and
through the Suez Canal to Australia. She would sail southwards with emigrants to
Australia and back taking tourists to Italy. A few years later, northern ports
such as Bremerhaven, Rotterdam and Southampton were added.
Aureliaís accommodations were improved even further and
received brand new
refit, Aurelia sailed on a round-the-world itinerary, taking her from Genoa to
Australia via Suez and then back through the Panama Canal until 1968. Then,
with declining passenger loads and with the Suez Canal closed (she had to sail
Good Hope), Cogedar sought other ways to make her profitable.
Lounge, Promenade deck
rebuilt into a cruise
ship for just under 500 passengers. Cogedar had her
cruising from Great Britain to Scandinavia and the Canaries, but this series of
cruises failed as bookings were low. Aurelia ended
being arrested for debt at
Madeira in 1970.
was sold within weeks to Chandris Cruises. Chandris started work on the small
passenger liner immediately: public rooms were redecorated, cabins were added
and some received private facilities. She emerged with a 650 passenger capacity,
leaving Venice for her first Chandris-cruise to the eastern
as the Romanza.
1991, she made cruise after cruise for Chandris, mostly in the summer season.
Occasionally she was chartered out. This period was quite uneventful for the
Romanza, apart from a mishap in 1979, when she ran aground on Dhenousa Island
(Greek Isles). First considered to be a total loss, she was nevertheless
1990, there were plans to replace her with the
Amerikanis, but this didnít happen.
However a year later she was sold to Cypriot Paradise Cruises and renamed Romantica
(not an entirely new name as Chandris
had owned a Romantica also). Next, she started making short (3 and 4 days)
cruises from Limassol to Israel and Egypt. Her competitors in this trade were
the ships from Louis Cruise Lines, a firm specializing in cruises with the same d
duration and itinerary. One of Louis ships was the former Chandris-liner Victoria, now sailing as Princesa Victoria.
Romanza sailing through the Corinth Canal
In spite of
several periods in lay up, she continued sailing until 1997.
In spite of several periods in lay up, she continued sailing until 1997.
In October of
this year, she caught fire en route from Egypt to Cyprus. All 673 passengers and
186 crew members were saved, some of them were transferred to her former
fleetmate Princesa Victoria, others were rescued from the burning ship by
British helicopters from a nearby naval base and taken aboard a frigate.
In October of this year, she caught fire en route from Egypt to Cyprus. All 673 passengers and 186 crew members were saved, some of them were transferred to her former fleetmate Princesa Victoria, others were rescued from the burning ship by British helicopters from a nearby naval base and taken aboard a frigate.
The incident caused some bad publicity for her operators Paradise Cruises as passengers complained that the fire alarm did not work and that life boats and life saving equipment had been badly maintained, resulting in lifeboats being rusted stuck.
However, as there were no casualties, nothing came of these accusations. A new company, appropiately called New Paradise Cruises was formed and her cruises were taken over by her fleetmate the Atalante, another classic dating from 1953. Atalante has left Cyprus in November 2004 for her final destination, the scrap yard. It remains to be seen if New Paradise will acquire yet another vessel to resume their programme of short cruises from Cyprus.
Ballroom, Promenade deck
Disko, Promenade deck
Disko, Promenade deck