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Former Ships Of MSC Cruises

Gian Luka • 8 minutes read • May 10th, 2017
We are all fond of

modern cruise liners

. But we often forget either about the ships that belonged to the fleet just a few years ago or about the ships that got the glory of one or another cruise company.

Today we want to talk about the former ships of the company



Ocean liners - Angelina Lauro and Achille Lauro were the first ships of the company that was called Lauro Lines at that time.
Angelina Lauro made her first cruise in 1939. Then the ship was called Oranje and was flying the flags of Netherland Line. During the Second World War, the ship was used as a hospital ship.

Achille Lauro was built in 1939, but she was launched only in 1946 because of the war.
The ship was called Willem Ruys and was flying the flag of Royal Rotterdam Lloyd.

In 1964, both ships were sold to StarLauro Company. The ships were rebuilt and got new names.
Angelina Lauro received two classes of cabins – the first and the tourist. Until 1972, the ship cruised in Australia. In 1972, the ship was converted entirely into a cruise liner. Only one class of passengers remained (by the way, the ship could accommodate 800 passengers), and the ship sailed to San Juan, Puerto Rico for Caribbean cruises.

In 1977, the ship was handed over to Costa Lines for 3 years.
A tragedy took place on March 30, 1979. The fire started on the liner during a cruise, when the ship was in the port of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Fortunately, most of the passengers and crew were on the island.
© Neil Whitmore /

They were putting out the fire on the ship for almost 4 days! They couldn’t save her...
© Neil Whitmore /
© Neil Whitmore /

Once a beautiful liner was sold for scrapping in Taiwan on July 2, 1979. However, the ship failed to reach Taiwan and sank on the way in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on September 23...

Achille Lauro accommodated almost 900 passengers. By the way, the ship was renamed in honor of the owner of MSC.
The ship was rebuilt and in 1966 began to travel between Europe and Australia via the Suez Canal.
© D. R. Walker / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

In early 1972, the ship was completely reconstructed into a cruise ship. A fire occurred on board of the ship during the reconstruction.
Moreover, in 1975 the ship collided with a cargo ship, whereupon the latter had sunk. In 1981, another fire occurred on the ship.
On October 7, 1985, the ship was captured by Palestinian terrorists when it was near Alexandria, Egypt. The invaders navigated the liner to Tartous, Syria.
© D. R. Walker / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

The terrorists demanded the release of 50 Palestinians from an Israeli prison. After they had refused to make a stop in Tartus, the terrorists killed a Jewish passenger from the U.S., Leon Klinghoffer, and his body was thrown overboard.
After that, the terrorists decided to return to Port Said. After 2 days of negotiations, the terrorists left the ship in exchange for promises of security. They went by plane from Egypt to Tunisia. On the way, the aircraft was intercepted by American F-14 Tomcats from USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. The plane landed in Sicily, and the Italian police detained the terrorists.

But... Let's go back to the destiny of the ship.
After her capture and release, the ship returned to service.
A fire occurred on the ship on November 30, 1994. The liner was near the coast of Somalia on her way to South Africa.
The crew and passengers abandoned the ship. The ship sank on December 2, 1994.
It was a beautiful ship...
© D. R. Walker / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1994, MSC acquired two ships for its fleet.
Symphony – 16,000 tons liner, built in 1951.

And Monterey – 20,000 tons liner, built in 1952.
© Michael G. Schroeder / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

Symphony was part of MSC until 2000. The liner was sold to Golden Sun Cruises and named Aegean Spirit. In 2001, the ship was forbidden to sail in the sea because of non-compliance with modern standards. Soon, the liner was sold for scrapping.

Monterey was part of MSC until 2006, and she was planned to serve longer. Although in 2006, some mechanical problems were discovered and the ship was scrapped.

Let me note that in 2006 the company already had 4 Lirica class liners and the first liner MSC Musica of Musica class.
I wonder if they met somewhere in the port...
... Monterey ...
© Ssmaritime

...and MSC Musica...
© Bahnfrend / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1995, the company's fleet was replenished by a beautiful liner - Rhapsody.
The ship was built in 1975 for Cunard and was called the Cunard Conquest. In 1977, the liner was renamed to Cunard Princess.

​Cunard Princess was cruising in Bermuda and the Caribbean.
There’s one interesting fact - from 1979 to 1980 the liner sailed flying the flag of Lauro Line (formerly called MSC).
During the Gulf War, the ship was in Bahrain. Originally she was supposed (had) to cruise but was utilized in the war as a recreational facility. In October 1991, the liner started cruising again. In 1995, the liner was sold to StarLauro (MSC) and named Rhapsody.
© Emilio / Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

The liner began to cruise in the Mediterranean.
In 2009, the ship was sold to Mano Maritime and named Golden Iris.
Moreover, the liner is still in service!

In 1997, MSC Melody, a fine 35,000 tons liner constructed in 1982, entered the fleet of the company.
Initially, the liner was called Atlantic, and she sailed flying the flags of the famous Home Lines. Since 1988, the ship belonged to Premier Cruise Line and was named StarShip Atlantic.
In 1997, the liner became part of the fleet of MSC and became known as Melody (since 2004, MSC Melody).
© Ian Barbour / Wiki / CC BY-SA 2.0

We do not know why MSC ships were so unlucky, but ...on April 25, 2009, during a cruise from Durban, South Africa to Genoa, Italy, the ship was attacked by Somali pirates. 1000 passengers and 500 crew members were on board of the liner.
At 11.25 p.m. the boat with the pirates tried to attack the ship, then they brought down fire from submachine guns on the deck bridge, and then the pirates attempted to get on board. The passengers repulsed, starting to throw tables and chairs from the decks into the pirate’s boat.
A little later, the Israeli security service of the ship began defending the liner using fire hoses and pistols. The pirates had to retreat. They were detained by a Spanish frigate 2 days later.

In 2013, MSC Melody was sold to an Indian company. The liner was supposed to become a hotel in Goa.
On June 29, 2016, the hotel-liner partially sank near Goa because of heavy rains. However, the hotel-liner was soon restored...

This is the destiny of the former MSC cruises.
Later we are going to study the history of this company separately.

I wonder if there are people among the readers who have cruised at least on one of the liners mentioned above?
Author: Gian Luka
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