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KillaFee
March 22nd, 2005, 03:57 AM
Does anyone know what became of Chandris's Brittanis? It was my first long cruise that I ever went on and is largely responsible for the addiction to cruising that I developed at a very young age!!! When we were on her, Celebrity had just taken over (or merged?) with Chandris. There was the trademarked "X" on the smokestack just like the Celebrity ships now wear. I think she had a twin sister too....ring any bells??

Auntie D Cruiser
March 22nd, 2005, 05:04 AM
Does anyone know what became of Chandris's Brittanis? It was my first long cruise that I ever went on and is largely responsible for the addiction to cruising that I developed at a very young age!!! When we were on her, Celebrity had just taken over (or merged?) with Chandris. There was the trademarked "X" on the smokestack just like the Celebrity ships now wear. I think she had a twin sister too....ring any bells??

Oh my God, how funny! I was just going through the different threads and saw this! Several years ago we took that boat out of one of the eastern Florida ports for their weekend cruise...that was MY first and last cruise experience...not because I did not like it but with kids, parents, business and life in general, we never got back on a boat again. My husband is not a cruiser at all but we are going on a cruise coming up in a few weeks (only because it's my parents 50th wedding anniversary) How well we remember the black smoke coming out of the smokestacks! I am sorry but I do not know if there was a sister ship but thought I would reminisce a bit! Hope you get your answer!

DCT61
March 22nd, 2005, 08:58 AM
BRITANIS sank off the coast of South Africa in October of 2000. She was under tow on her way to be scrapped in India.

Auntie D Cruiser
March 22nd, 2005, 09:05 AM
BRITANIS sank off the coast of South Africa in October of 2000.

Really? I just figured it was in some boat yard somewhere rotting away by now! ha ha ha What were the circumstances behind Britanis sinking? What was it doing near South Africa? Sorry if I am asking so many questions, now I am intrigued! How did you come about this information?

DCT61
March 22nd, 2005, 09:40 AM
http://members.aol.com/britanis/Britanis.htmlI saw her at anchor off Cozumel in the early 90's. Beautiful ship. Sad to see all these historic liners disappearing.

Auntie D Cruiser
March 22nd, 2005, 09:53 AM
http://members.aol.com/britanis/Britanis.htmlI saw her at anchor off Cozumel in the early 90's. Beautiful ship. Sad to see all these historic liners disappearing.

Thank you so much for this site and the history behind the Britanis. Actually sad to hear she is at the bottom of the ocean. But I guess if the fish are using it and it is becoming a reef, then that is probably a good thing. To think we were on a ship with all that history! And yes, it is sad to see these historic ships disappearing...

dougnewmanatsea
March 22nd, 2005, 04:31 PM
For a full history of BRITANIS, and a photo tour of her as she was just before she was broken up, see here (http://www.maritimematters.com/britanis.html).

As you can see from that article, she actually had two sisters, one of which made it to Chandris as ELLINIS. BRITANIS was by far the last surviving of the three sisters.

Also, on the relationship between Chandris and Celebrity. There was no merger or takeover involved - Celebrity was a new brand created by Chandris in 1989 as they wanted to move into a more upscale market. The existing Chandris brand became Fantasy Cruises (initially the brands were Chandris Fantasy Cruises and Chandris Celebrity Cruises, but "Chandris" was soon dropped) and was slowly phased out. The last Fantasy ship to be retired was AMERIKANIS in 1997. In 1992, Chandris sold half of Celebrity Cruises (including Fantasy Cruises) to Overseas Shipholding Group (a large owner of bulk carriers). Celebrity operated as a joint venture between Chandris and OSG until 1997 when it was sold to Royal Caribbean. As part of the deal both Chandris and OSG received large amounts of RCI stock. OSG sold theirs but Chandris is still a major RCI shareholder and John Chandris is a member of the RCI board.

KillaFee
March 22nd, 2005, 10:04 PM
I've gotta tell you guys...I didn't think I'd even get a response. When I logged on and read everything I was jumping up and down screaming to my boyfriend to look at all the pictures saying "I went on that ship! I went on that ship!!" At first he said "why on earth were you on THAT....it's OLD!" but as I showed him the history (thank you guys so much) he thought it was pretty cool. I instantly remembered feeling history when I was on her which is something that people nowadays aren't able to experiece on megaships. To everyone that contributed a fact, thought, memory or picture: THANK YOU!

DFD1
March 23rd, 2005, 11:53 AM
KillaFee: For me, this is one of the most interesting forums on the CC web site. I come here every couple of days. It's always interesting and I always learn something.

I live in Tennessee, took my first cruist when I was still a teenager and since then have been fascinated by passenger ships.

This forum is a great resource. I'm glad you found it. DFD

nybumpkin
March 23rd, 2005, 09:00 PM
In the process this past fall of cleaning out my in-laws' house, we found two books by Alan L. Cary on early 20th century liners , containing descriptions and pictures of Lurline, Mariposa and Monterey among others. What beautiful ships!

RHefley228
March 12th, 2006, 06:24 PM
The history of the Britanis is fascinating, especially when it was a glamorous vessel on the Hawaii run, with lots of movie stars onboard, and then during the WWII years. She was the first ship I sailed on, as the photographer for STARLOG magazine, covering a floating STAR TREK convention with actors from the various shows. The ship had been chartered for the week, so it was an...interesting...group. We went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, and circled around Cuba back to Miami. On the way back, we picked up a raft full of Cuban refugees, and tried to give them some of our extra Starfleet passports to present to immigration in Miami (it seemed like a good idea at the time--rum will do that to you). I believe the next year she was sold to the government and used as a floating barracks at Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years. The funniest part of the cruise was the Captain's formal dinner, the one where you get photographed shaking hands with him. The look on his face as he had to do his "grip and grin" with Vulcans, Klingons, women painted blue, and lots of people in Starfleet uniforms was priceless. The ship's officers seemed puzzled by the whole thing; I'm not sure they had ever seen the show or movies. The crew, on the other hand, were over the moon at rubbing shoulders with Jimmy Doohan, George Takei, etc.

2ladies
March 22nd, 2006, 08:52 AM
We have just come off the Infinity and my mother was talking about how gorgeous the Mariposa was!! Coincidence, as I had not heard anyone mention this ship for years. According to her, the cabins were all done out in white leather!!

Those were the days my friends .............

Anyone on this thread know where Nickos Batistatos is? Was on the Constellation and my e-mails are being returned by RCCL

PurpleCow
March 28th, 2006, 11:40 PM
My first cruise was on the Britanis, also! It was either '89 or '90. I'd have to look at the dates on the backs of the pictures to be sure. I will never forget out waiter, Cesar. We've never had a waiter as attentive since. We had an inside stateroom. It was huge with one and a half bathrooms and two closets, one a walk in with built in drawers. The beds were built into opposite walls and there was an enormous upolstered ottoman in between and a sit down dressing table. It was easy to see how elegant she had been in her prime. I think the movie theater might have been below water level. It was very spooky going down and down and down the stairs to get there and you could hear the ship creaking. So happy to run into some former Britanis passengers.

rman738
March 31st, 2006, 08:37 PM
A group of 8 of us cruised on the Britanis in late Oct., 1993. I hadn't been on a ship in over 12 years. I don't remember a lot of details about the ship except that on one deck in the aft section of the ship they had wicker furniture set up and I never saw other people there. However, there was a large glass "hatch" which you could see into the bowels of the ship. That really amazed me. We went to Key West (bad weather, could not get in), Playa del Carmen (prior to being built up), and I believe Montego Bay. When we returned, the Captain got us into Key West so we didn't miss that port. As with every cruise that I've been on, I had more positive memories, far outweighing any negative memories. My wife and I love to cruise. We have been doing about 2 to 3 cruises per year for the past few years.
Rich M

BOYNSEA
April 2nd, 2006, 08:10 PM
Great to hear about the Britanis. I was on one of the Boston to Bermuda cruises in 80's with about 20 friends and we had a great time despite the fact of the rough weather and that they ran out of some of the licquor...I remember rumors of bankruptcy when we were aboard. I also remember 2 guys in our crowd who lucked out by getting a suite like room that had been remodeled into a cabin. It was huge and therefore many of us hung out there. Good times, good times.
Also, I am happy to see that she was built in Quincy, MA where I grew up. That would make two of my cruise experiences were aboard ships built in Quincy. The other was the Independence of the American Hawaii Cruise line.

Island Annie
April 2nd, 2006, 10:44 PM
Killafee,

My very first cruise was also on the SS Brittanis back in 1986, and was also the one that got me hooked. I met some very nice people on that cruise. Some of which have become life-long friends.

Back in January,1995 we decided it would be fun to get the group together again, so decided to have a "reunion cruise", and it was to be again on the SS Brittanis:-)

One member of our group was from New York, so he booked through his local travel agent there. Two other ladies were from Chicago, so they used their local TA. I was living in Minnesota at the time, so I used the local TA I had used the year before to book.

We would all be flying into Miami the morning of our cruise, and made plans to meet on board at the pool.

We had all kept in touch over the years via email, cards & letters, and I was SO excited to see everyone again! Oh what fun we have!!

About a week before we were to depart, my guy-friend from NY called me, and said he had just gotten a call from his TA, and She told him that the SS Brittanis had been chartered by the government to transport Haittian refugees, so would no longer be in service:-( but since we were already booked, and were paid in full, we had been upgraded to one of their newer ships. We would now be going on the Celebrity ZENITH, and had each been upgraded to a balcony stateroom:-)

My first thought was that I was sad to learn the Brittanis was no longer in service, but the fact that we had been upgraded to the Celebrity Zenith was also very exciting! And having a balcony stateroom was something I had only ever dreamed of back then. So this cruise was already off to a good start:-)

And that cruise, to this date, is still one of my fondest memories, and still a part of what keeps me coming back.

Again today, I am saddened to read that the Brittanis sank off the coast of south africa a few years back:-(

There's just "something" about those old classic ships that no one seems to be able to duplicate these days. I am just thankful that I took LOTs of photos, and still have them placed securely in an album to look back at & remenise when I feel the need.

Thanks to all for the updated info.

Annie

Island Annie
April 3rd, 2006, 09:29 AM
Also a special thank you to DCT61 & Host Doug.

Sorry I missed you guys in my first post. I got too caught up in the articles.

Am curious though how you found those articles. Can you explain?

Thanx again.

Annie

tony_b
April 5th, 2006, 07:18 PM
Hey Cool,I did Southhampton-Sydney in 1971 on this ship... also I did a round-world on what I think was the sister-ship - the SS Australis?Tony

Oaktree
April 23rd, 2006, 01:32 PM
My husband {now deceased} our daughter and son-in-law did a three night
cruise from NY to Bermuda on the Brittanis in 1983. It was much better
than we expected and so much fun. The guys enjoyed the food.

johnjen
April 24th, 2006, 11:23 PM
Here's the fate of one of Chandris Lines' ships, the ex-SS America/Australis:

http://www.flare.net/users/e9ee52a/Fuerteventura_Jan2006_031.jpg

cruisingabes
April 27th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Good to see this thread active again.

My husband and I booked a 5 day Mexican Caribbean cruise on the Britanis to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary in March 1992. Our first cruise was our honeymoon cruise aboard the newer ship of the time-the Jubilee of the Carnival line in March 1991. A blizzard struck the eastern seaboard- effectivly shutting down most of the airports from ME down to VA, so we "missed the boat". As the ship wound up sailing anyway (though only 2/3 full) we were surprised to learn that Chandris/Fantasy cruiseline would allow us to reschedule for the following week without penalty.

We flew out of NY and sailed from Miami to Key West, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. The ports were enjoyable- but the highlight of our trip was the ship herself. That sailing hooked us not only on cruising but also on finding older, more intimate ships to sail. Since, we have been lucky enough to sail on Premier, The Crown Dynasty (alltime favorite ship after Britanis) the Norway. and the Regal Empress. Relics (some gone altogether ) but enjoyable trips all.

The Britanis held a weath of priceless antiques when she sank. I recall a lovely and well preserved painting on leather that adorned her hallway into the dining room. There were wooden carvings from Africa, priceless maps mounted behind glass, and some really intricate model ships ( cutters complete w/sails and riggings ) displayed in most of the public rooms. A huge brass telescope was mounted in one of the hallways too- must have weighed a ton. There was so much brass, glass, and gleaming teak everywhere- the Library and Card Room with its ancient leather club chairs and leather bound map book alone was worth the price of the cruise just to see. The ships sleek shape and the double blue smokestacks with the white X's - just lovely. I recall reading that she sank w/all her goodies aboard as they were to be auctioned off once it reached the scrapping destination.

I have the cruise book in hand from their 1992 sailing season-her sister ship the Amerikanis was still sailing then too. Her stats are : 26,000 tons, 638 feet, bean 82 feet, draught 28 feet, cruising speed 20 knots, elec current 110DC, 3 pax elevators, Radio call sign HPEN and was registerd in Panama. Also a note- if you provide them with proof of marriage with the final payment, they would give you a complimentary tropical fruit basket, bottle of Asti Spumante, a honeymoon cake and a photo album. Now on Carnival- you even have to pay for the "special occassion" cakes.

We were re-booked into an interior room on the upper deck that could have hosted a 10 person gathering. There were 2 lower, 2 upper and a leather sofa bed between them as well as a sitting vanity and a HUGE shower that would comfortably fit about 3 people at a time. I recall tripping over the extremly high room sills several times. The decor of the rooms was actually very drab- but the rest of the ship was a real gem. I think, by looking at the location of our cabin, that it must have been a "convert" of staff quarters at one point. Very dormitory looking- functional, comfortable, large- just not much to look at. I remember the tiny casino celing had leaded stained glass windows that gleamed in the sun. I never saw a brass railing, even the footplate on the bars, that was not fingerprint free and shiny.

The open decks were a sight to behold- much wider than the modern megaliners and there were those great teak titanic-type chairs around the perimeter. There were 2 restaurants- the smaller was the "smoking" restaurant at the time. The brochure I have in my hand indeed shows the theater on the lowest deck- right in the bow of the ship. I recall the movie needed to be played really loud to drown out the sound of the waves crashing into the front of the ship. There was a teenie tiny pool too- and no hot tubs. It was also the very last ship I have been on that had skeet shooting off the front of the ship. The decks has names like the Boat deck, the Promenade, the upper and main deck. Then there was the Aruba deck, Barbados, Caracas and finally the Dorado deck. The deck plan shows not only a ships hospital, but an operating room as well. I seem to recall my husband going there for an informal tour (being in the business of medicine)- but I dont remember seeing it myself. I guess I was in the library oohh'ing and aahhh'ing!

It was the ship that launched us on extending our "once in a lifetime" honeymoon cruise into what has turned out to be nearly a cruise a year habit for us since. Our son is 4 and will be taking his 3rd cruise with us this June on the Carnival Legend. Of all the ships we have cruised on- this one brings back the feeling of sailing back into history. Our largest sailing was the Carnival Conquest and it did not hold a candle to the grand dame Britanis. I have followed her history and sad ending over the past few years. Every year when we decorate our Christmas tree and hang our pewter Britanis ornament- we fondly relive our short but memorable sailing of her in 1992.

Thanks for indulging me & my memories.

cruisin' again
April 28th, 2006, 12:45 PM
WOW! We honeymooned on the Britanis in '88!!! It was my first cruise and I got hooked as many of you did! Our cabin was not huge though! You could lie in bed, and practically wash your hair at the same time! LOL

I'm gonna go look at the pics now!

LoveDeck10
May 19th, 2006, 07:40 PM
Great to hear about the Britanis. I was on one of the Boston to Bermuda cruises in 80's with about 20 friends and we had a great time despite the fact of the rough weather and that they ran out of some of the licquor...I remember rumors of bankruptcy when we were aboard. I also remember 2 guys in our crowd who lucked out by getting a suite like room that had been remodeled into a cabin. It was huge and therefore many of us hung out there. Good times, good times.
Also, I am happy to see that she was built in Quincy, MA where I grew up. That would make two of my cruise experiences were aboard ships built in Quincy. The other was the Independence of the American Hawaii Cruise line.

Okay, I was probably on that cruise as well. Didn't have far to drive to get the ship as I lived in East Cambridge!

rman738
May 23rd, 2006, 12:46 PM
Here's the fate of one of Chandris Lines' ships, the ex-SS America/Australis:

http://www.flare.net/users/e9ee52a/Fuerteventura_Jan2006_031.jpg
The SS America (aka: Australis) was the predessor to the SS United States. The SS America was launch around 1940, 12 years prior to the SS United States. Francis Gibbs designed both ships. The SS America also saw service in WW II as a troop ship. She was re-named the USS West Point at that time. I only know this, as my father (85 years old), told me that was the ship that took him to the war against Japan. What a sorry fate the SS America had, being wrecked off Africa. I hope the SS United States, that now sits below the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia, has a much better fate.

hollym
May 24th, 2006, 05:44 PM
We have just come off the Infinity and my mother was talking about how gorgeous the Mariposa was!! Coincidence, as I had not heard anyone mention this ship for years. According to her, the cabins were all done out in white leather!!

Those were the days my friends .............

Anyone on this thread know where Nickos Batistatos is? Was on the Constellation and my e-mails are being returned by RCCL

You'll find Nickos at NCL. :D

TX Traveling Mom
May 24th, 2006, 06:16 PM
I can't believe I found this thread! We're getting ready to leave for a cruise on Sunday and have been looking back over past cruises. I found this link: http://www.rhmsamerikanis.co.uk/myweb/britanis-sinking.htm that shows pictures of the Britanis going down. We had a great 5-day trip aboard around 1993 with a group cruising with a DFW area jazz stations.

Andy99
May 24th, 2006, 06:38 PM
I almost fell off my chair when I saw this topic.

The SS Britanis was my very first cruise. I went from NY to Bermuda back in the 80s. I was such a great trip. I can still remember the staff and how friendly everyone was. The ships sure have changed alot since then. I have to dig out my old photo albums. I remember snapping tons of pictures that trip.

pantux
May 26th, 2006, 02:39 PM
Wow I was trying to remember the name of the ship that I took my first cruise on in the summer of 91 From Puerto Rico to the southern Caribean. That was it, Fantasy Cruise Lines-The Brittanis. Beautiful ship great cruise, hooked me for life. Thanks for the memories.

hollym
June 17th, 2006, 04:09 PM
You'll find Nickos at NCL. :D

Sorry everyone who wanted to know where Nicky is. Freestyle wasn't Nicky's style and he has moved on.:(

modelman
June 20th, 2006, 05:42 PM
Here are a couple of the pictures of her going down...

http://www.rhmsamerikanis.co.uk/10.psd.jpg

http://www.rhmsamerikanis.co.uk/13.psd.jpg

karmac
July 10th, 2006, 07:14 PM
Hey Cool,I did Southhampton-Sydney in 1971 on this ship... also I did a round-world on what I think was the sister-ship - the SS Australis?Tony

I also sailed on Australis in July '75 from Sydney to Southampton. 35 days of fun. I was 14 at the time and it was while on that trip that I made a promise to myself to cruise when I got older. Took me 11 years but I finally did it. It's so sad to see the pictures of her as she is now.

Karen

Caroliner
July 15th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Another time, another place, but the same ship !

Over forty years ago, July of 1963, I sailed from Honolulu to Los Angeles/Long Beach with my parents and brothers on the then-Matsonia, later Lurline..........and finally, Britannis.

Move on to January, 1988. While waiting to tender back to QE2 in Cartagena on a transcanal cruise, my mother and I sat enjoying a drink at the Colombian Navy Yacht Club. As we watched, a classically beautiful white liner with X-marked stacks approached from the sea. My mother commented on the ship, remarking on its lines and sense of presence, momentarily unaware that she had sailed on her a quarter-century previously.

I think Chandris even kept the "Waikiki" name for the dining room from the Matson days, and I still have photos from that wonderful voyage.

Personally, I think for a great ship to die at sea is somehow appropriate and comforting. The prospect of the breakup yard is so unworthy.

dougnewmanatsea
July 16th, 2006, 02:33 AM
Caroliner - welcome aboard! Always great to see a new member come aboard with a healthy interest in maritime history :) .

You are absolutely right - Chandris did indeed keep the Waikiki name for the main dining room. I am not sure if this was simply a name that was left over from the Matson days, or if it was actually given to the room by Chandris as an homage to the ship's previous existence?

Somewhere I have BRITANIS deck plans though I haven't a clue where they are right now :o .

I have always found it facsinating to compare the original, very ornate pre-war interiors of this ship (and her sisters) with the sleek, mid-century modern post-war interiors and then of course with the later Chandris refits. But basically, a great deal of the circa-1950s MONTEREY/LURLINE survived right up until the very end. This included a good deal of artwork which, sadly, went down with the ship.

She was an amazing and long-lived ship and I'm sorry I never did get to sail in her.

The last time I saw her was at Miami in February 1994, a few months before she was retired. At that time of course I did not know that she was about to end her career as a cruise ship! She was wonderfully majestic arriving in Miami early in the early morning, against the fiery backdrop of a very orange Miami sunrise. At the time I was aboard NORDIC EMPRESS and we were arriving together with BRITANIS and one of Carnival's then-new FANTASY-class ships... I think ECSTASY. I distinctly remember seeing the glow of the changing-color fiber-optic lighting through the Carnival ship's windows! The contrast between the brand-new Carnival mega-liner (for the FANTASY-class ships were mega by 1994 standards) and the modestly-sized, 62-year-old BRITANIS was of course rather stark and indeed, the new Carnival ship looked quite ugly next to the stately BRITANIS. That image of her, a faint haze of black smoke streaming from each of her perfectly proportioned funnels, will forever be etched in my mind.

She was a great ship with an exceptionally long life. May she rest in peace...

Caroliner
July 16th, 2006, 08:42 PM
Host Doug:

Thank you for the greeting !

Matsonia's Dining Room was even then named 'Waikiki' in 1963, and I gathered that it was just never changed.

My voyage was in the days when sailing from Honolulu was truly an event. As we were moving back to the mainland, my parents hosted a true 'bon voyage' party that filled our two outside cabins and the short hallway that led to them. All five of us emerged on deck covered in leis of plumeria and orchids for the actual departure.

Sailing then from the Aloha Tower was still a social and community spectacle. Hula dancers on the pier, masses of streamers, friends waving and crying, and over it all, as the ship drifted away from the dock, the heart-wrenching notes of "Aloha Oe" as the band serenaded and the crowd sang the words by heart.

Escorted by catamarans and speedboats, friends and strangers, the ship made a long slow passage along Waikiki and headed out past Diamond Head. Then, along the ship's promenades and across the open decks, hundreds of passengers, many with tears in their eyes, would step forward to the rail in ones, twos and families or groups, slowly remove a lei from their neck, and drop the flowers overboard, watching for the blossoms to drift towards shore, guaranteeing a return to Hawai'i someday. A magical experience!

dougnewmanatsea
July 16th, 2006, 11:28 PM
Matsonia's Dining Room was even then named 'Waikiki' in 1963, and I gathered that it was just never changed.
I guess that's the case... They just never changed it.

I do wonder, though, if it was left intentionally as a reminder of her previous life.

Serangel71
July 21st, 2006, 08:29 PM
Does anyone know what became of Chandris's Brittanis? It was my first long cruise that I ever went on and is largely responsible for the addiction to cruising that I developed at a very young age!!! When we were on her, Celebrity had just taken over (or merged?) with Chandris. There was the trademarked "X" on the smokestack just like the Celebrity ships now wear. I think she had a twin sister too....ring any bells??

My, this brings back memories - I was commenting on tss Festival, Song of Norway & Mardi Gras & now the Brittanis -- we loved to cruise & our oldest(13 mos) loved it. We wanted to see how they would take to cruises - did a 1 day one from PT Canaveral - they finally fell asleep on the deck. (ages 3 & 4 apprx). The next one was a short 3-4 day on Premier Cruise line(first boat they had) -- had trouble getting them off, they wanted to stay on. Next was a 5 day on Brittanis. Remember going to an island that had a sheltered cove & the boys jumped out of the water into Dad's arms -- they saw little fishes. This was like 1985-1986(??) We stopped going for a while. Kids in Scouts, etc. In 1999, my DH asked our son what he wanted for graduation -- a cruise. We went on the Sensation and we haven't stopped yet. Even did a 2 week on the old Noordam, which we call our submarine cruise as the waves were above our porthole window. Been on little & big - 1 x Voyager & 2 on Mariner of the Seas (inaugural-it went to San Juan) down to Mardi Gras. Boys are easier to get off now - miss home (cats & ice skating). Now we have grown from 4 to 5 - a fiance & she loves cruising as much as we do. Next -grandkids???:D

Thanks Doug - great topic!!!!

jmcccau11
August 16th, 2006, 12:04 PM
In 1971, I decided I wanted to cruise the Southern Carribbean. No travel agents here in Florida could come up with anything that interested me. I finally found some agency in N.Y. to book me, my husband and young child on a ship that had a wonderful itinerary, the Chandris S.S. Regina sailing out of Curacao. Well, when we walked down the pier, my heart sank. Turns out it was the former S.S. Herbert Hoover, an ex troop ship from which world war, I dont know. It had not had much in the way of refurbishing; everthing cold steel, noone spoke English, it was all Greek, people were baling out at every island. To sum it up, although the islands were beautiful, the cruise was horrible. I swore I would never cruise again, the X stood for condemned. Ten years later, I was convinced by friends to try again.
Am now headed off for my 15th cruise,this time on the Xpedition, my 5th on Celebrity, my favorite line. Things, they do change.
:D

Mr Veendam06
August 17th, 2006, 11:03 PM
Hi wow what memories we have of the Brittanis .Back in 83 & 84 we did 3 day party cruises to nowhere out of NYC .with 16 friends .When we get together today with them all .we always talk about those cruises on the Brittanis!! I also remmber the winter of 1983 she was tied in Brooklyn for the winter .I got to go on her in Feb 83 for a look around .I loved her then as i did when we cruised on her .It getting real sad to see all the old great gal's of the hight seas going away !! Long line the linners of the past .
Mr Veendam

walkerccst
August 24th, 2006, 09:47 AM
I sailed on the Brittanis in the mid 80's (cannot remember the exact year) with my sister and two girlfriends. The ship sailed from Charleston ,SC for a 3 day "cruise to nowhere". It was the first time that any of us had cruised. Needless to say, we had a blast! We shared a stateroom with four bunkbeds and one very small porthole. The bathroom, however was very large. The food was fantastic. What great memories!

MHG
September 4th, 2006, 04:30 PM
My sister and I cruised the Britanis from Jamaica to Cartagena, Panama, San Blas and Aruba. We chose the cruise because it was cheap and had an interesting itinerary. We had an inside cabin with upper and lower beds. The ship rolled so much with the waves that I got up in the middle of the night thinking that the ship had capsized! I ran out into the hall before I figured out that if the ship had capsized, I wouldn't be standing in the hall! Despite that incident, we had a great time. It would be 8 years before I went on my next cruise, but now my husband and I cruise every year.

KillaFee
September 7th, 2006, 12:05 AM
Hey everyone! I'm so happy to see that this thread is still alive and kickin'! I loved reading about your memory of the contrasting Brittanis and Carnival ship because I remember thinking the SAME EXACT THING!!! I actually still tell my boyfriend about it whenever he compares the "small"...(ahem) ships (RCI vision class and smaller) to the big mamma-jammas. I remember being 12 years old and standing on the back of the Brittanis, looking at all the other roundish, bloated, bright white ships surrounding me and thinking...hmmm...which one doesn't belong? I thought it was strange but believed that there must be a good reason that it was still around.
I remember thinking to myself, "this is what I always envisioned a cruise would be like", with all the brass, wood, sleek lines, and salty decks that turned your attention to the sea rather than inward towards crowded neon promenades. My boyfriend is older than me, so he thinks it's hilarious when I share memories about the Brittanis like I'm some old salt, but I always get the the last laugh when I remember that HIS first cruise memory was on the Voyager of the Seas. He'll just never understand, am I right?
Heheh...LaUrA

Transatlantic Tom
September 14th, 2006, 01:13 AM
I was lucky enough to sail aboard this wonderful ship - as Matson Lines' SS Lurline - in the summer of 1969. We went from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Honolulu. She was a legend in the Pacific.

My family had reservations to sail on the Lurline again in the summer of 1970, but a telephone call in the spring of '70 from our travel agent, informing us that Matson was selling the ship, ended that dream.

There used to be a story going around Hawaii in the 1970s that the people of Honolulu -who had for many decades known one Matson passenger ship or another with the name of Lurline - never quite forgave the Matson Line for selling off the last of the passenger ships of that name.

The name still lives on with a container ship in the fleet of Matson Navigation Company sailing between the West Coast and Hawaii.

Tom

newmexicoNita
September 15th, 2006, 11:40 AM
I can't remember which Chandris ship we were on, but it was the worst cruise we every had, I was with a friend, her bed was cracked down the middle, somehow we took the elevator one deck below debarkation level the last morning and we ended up in the kitchen. Pipes were leaking like crazy; I can't think of anything positive to say except cruising is always fun, no matter what. NMnita

Matsonbrat
September 21st, 2006, 01:05 AM
It was the 1931 Monterey of Matson Nav. Co. One of 4 of the great White Liners of Matson in the 1930's with her sister ships Lurline and Mariposa and the smaller 1928 Matsonia. She was 18,170 GT, 22 knots. 715 passengers in 1st and Cabin class. She and the Mariposa did the L.A/SFO to Hnl, Samoa, Fiji and N.Z/Aust. runs and the Lurline and Matsonia the Calif. to Hnl runs. While my dad was mostly Chief Steward of the Matsonia 1935-47 I see he did two months as such on the Monterey in the summer 1937 when we moved to Honolulu. He received a nice salary that was doubled by his take from the bars and slots. Also a little more from tips for extra special services to the top drawer passengers. Everyone dressed well all the time and the service and food was always as elegant as the passengers.

Withdrawal of the mail contracts and the growing air line traffic killed the last passenger ship for Matson in 1961 when my father as Dir. of Passenger Service and many of his old shipmates had to retire. Two new and smaller (one stack) ships, the Mariposa and Monterey, were sold to Am. President Lines who kept them going for some years. One of those ships had a ceremony on her stern in 1972 for the scattering of Dad's ashes in the ship channel between Koko Head, Oahu and Molokai. It was attended by about 50 members of the crew who had worked or sailed with him over the years at Matson. He had first sailed that channel in 1924 as a 20 year old Saloonsman on the S. Pacific cruise of the SS Buford. At age 14 he was on the streets alone due to a broken home and trying to be the Super. of an apt. building and going to school. Tug boat Captain at the pier in Tacoma , WA offered him coffee and pie one day and he became the tug's cabin boy. For twenty years he claimed to be years older then he was to not be too young for better positions. 30 years at sea before he got a shore job.

Old history now but what a grand era it was.

pba20493
October 1st, 2006, 04:37 AM
This ship was also my first time on the ocean. I loved it!
We were on a western carib. in I think it was August of 1896. I wasnt quite 16 yet and we left from Miami. I still remember while we were waiting to push away, a speed boat came alog side and slowed down so all the guys could see the very attractive model type with her boobs just soaking up the sunshine. Everyone was whistling and yelling. Man was that a shock for me. I remember I won almost 800 bucks playing in the casino. Remember I was only 15 at the time. That cruise got me hooked. I only wish I could have cruised more. We will be on our 3rd Carnival cruise in less than 3 weeks. Cannot wait.

Anyway, Thank You for the memories.


Tim

CGTNORMANDIE
October 1st, 2006, 10:01 AM
THANK YOU MATSONBRAT!!! What a great story...you must have some wonderful memories. I collect ocean liner memorablilia and I know how good Matson really was.

THANKS,:D

ROSS

dougnewmanatsea
October 1st, 2006, 02:15 PM
We were on a western carib. in I think it was August of 1896.
Wow, you're 126 years old ;) ?

(Sorry, couldn't resist :) !)

pba20493
October 2nd, 2006, 01:22 AM
wow, well i feel that old sometimes. 1986 it was



Tim the fossil

Groovymom
October 10th, 2006, 11:10 AM
The Brittanis was also my first cruise and have been hooked ever since. We got the cheapest room we could get and ended up with no shower in our room.Ahhhhh......We had to use the shower room. It was fun times and great memories.

mourhaan
October 18th, 2006, 01:16 AM
We loved her and cruised on her 5 times . We got engaged on her Sept. 1986.
Thanks for the Photos.

KiwiStew
December 12th, 2006, 06:50 AM
Quite amazing to read....I travelled from the UK to New Zealand in May 1974 on the Brittanis as a 4 year old boy. I remember visual snapshots to this day...I nearly died of chicken pox on the trip and remember seeing Table Top Mountain from medical quaranteen on the ship in South Africa.
So sad to see that she sank 6 years ago....very special memories and a truely beautiful ship!!!
Stew Poole - Christchurch, NZ

KillaFee
December 12th, 2006, 11:14 AM
That's quite an interesting story! The photos of her sinking really give me the chills and I get teary every time! I'm sure you're all aware, but there are a few good books out there on the Britanis. On Amazon.com if you browse around on cruise related books there are a few...some of them are under her previous names but it's still kinda neat that it's the same ship.
LAura

cruiseshipgurl
January 18th, 2007, 06:57 PM
I had actually forgotten the name of the cruise ship on which I took my second cruise.....poring through this thread "Whatever Happened To", it hit me. I also cruised on the Britanis in 1993, my husband's and my first cruise together, to Key West, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel. At the time we booked it, our travel agent told us that it was the oldest cruise liner in service. She was old, but very well taken care of. It was the tiniest cabin ever - we had either a double or a queen sized bed, an inside cabin, and the bed took up most of the room! We were one of the lucky ones, our bathroom actually had been converted electrically so that I could blow dry my hair in it. Others on our deck had to go to a "group" room with the correct outlets. I remember having to iron my clothes there too.......! We had a wonderful time, the food was GREAT, the service great. It was my husband's first cruise - he was hooked! I wondered what happened to the ship. I also think it is fitting that she sank. Better that than taken apart and sold for scrap. :o

KillaFee
January 18th, 2007, 07:34 PM
I had actually forgotten the name of the cruise ship on which I took my second cruise.....poring through this thread "Whatever Happened To", it hit me. I also cruised on the Britanis in 1993, my husband's and my first cruise together, to Key West, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel. At the time we booked it, our travel agent told us that it was the oldest cruise liner in service. She was old, but very well taken care of. It was the tiniest cabin ever - we had either a double or a queen sized bed, an inside cabin, and the bed took up most of the room! We were one of the lucky ones, our bathroom actually had been converted electrically so that I could blow dry my hair in it. Others on our deck had to go to a "group" room with the correct outlets. I remember having to iron my clothes there too.......! We had a wonderful time, the food was GREAT, the service great. It was my husband's first cruise - he was hooked! I wondered what happened to the ship. I also think it is fitting that she sank. Better that than taken apart and sold for scrap. :o

Good point! I never thought of it that way. I guess it's better to imagine her sitting at the bottom of the ocean all in one piece (as haunting as that sounds) than to be destroyed be people that are just going to make a profit off of her.

Ships R Great
February 7th, 2007, 10:00 PM
Does anyone remember an entertainment director on the Britanis, also Amerikanis and Australis, named Michael? Very handsome, dark haired, dark-eyed Greek man? If I could figure how to post a picture I would add it.

Rhodys
February 17th, 2007, 04:31 PM
My husband and I went on our first cruise on the Brittanis in 1984. It was a 4 day cruise from Providence, RI to Burmuda. We remember very rough seas, and the ship was rolling and pitching. The "comfort" bags were distributed around the ship before we even left Narragansett Bay.

Our room was very small, with bunk beds, and the shower ran either very hot or very cold! On the plus side, the crew was excellent, and the food was terrific. At the time, we were told that the Brittanis was the oldest cruise ship in the world.

On the way back to Providence , the ship went off course to pick up some injured crewmen from a commercial vessel.

It' been over 22 years since that cruise, but we still talk about it, and will never forget the Brittanis!

louallard
February 23rd, 2007, 10:47 AM
I sailed the Brittannis in the early 80's for San Juan,
I fell in love with the Greek crew!!
Met a great friend and went to Greece the next year for an unbelievable
trip.
Every now and again I look at the pictures of that great ship!
Lou

cruiselover57
March 28th, 2007, 08:13 PM
For a full history of BRITANIS, and a photo tour of her as she was just before she was broken up, see here (http://www.maritimematters.com/britanis.html).

As you can see from that article, she actually had two sisters, one of which made it to Chandris as ELLINIS. BRITANIS was by far the last surviving of the three sisters.

Also, on the relationship between Chandris and Celebrity. There was no merger or takeover involved - Celebrity was a new brand created by Chandris in 1989 as they wanted to move into a more upscale market. The existing Chandris brand became Fantasy Cruises (initially the brands were Chandris Fantasy Cruises and Chandris Celebrity Cruises, but "Chandris" was soon dropped) and was slowly phased out. The last Fantasy ship to be retired was AMERIKANIS in 1997. In 1992, Chandris sold half of Celebrity Cruises (including Fantasy Cruises) to Overseas Shipholding Group (a large owner of bulk carriers). Celebrity operated as a joint venture between Chandris and OSG until 1997 when it was sold to Royal Caribbean. As part of the deal both Chandris and OSG received large amounts of RCI stock. OSG sold theirs but Chandris is still a major RCI shareholder and John Chandris is a member of the RCI board.


Thank you for that very interesting story! I too am fascinated with the old ships from way back when. I remember seeing her in St. Thomas while on a RCCL ship and always thought "wow, now that's an old ship!" I knew she was built in 1932 and still sailing.

nolescruizer814
April 7th, 2007, 10:26 PM
My first cruise was on the Brittanis in '92. My wife(fiance at the time) was working for a cruise agency at the time, we wanted a quick get away to leave behind the stresses of planning a wedding. I only remember a few things, the food was outstanding, you had to go down the hall to a common room to use electrical appliances, and we couldn't get the ac to turn off in the cabin!!:eek: All in all we still had a really great time. It was the perfect first cruise for me.:D :)

Matsonbrat
April 10th, 2007, 12:12 AM
:) How interesting. Cool Cruiser has a post #58 that linked a web site that was originally posted by Host Doug in post #7 22 March 2005. It concerns the old Matson ships and in the post after you go to the third sub link at the bottom of the first page you will find the title page of postwar stories and a color photo there taken in the lounge of the then Lurline of Matson. The folks are dressed formal and in the backgound is a gray haired gent in a black tux at a table looking to the right of the photo with another man with his back to the camera. I was able to save it and blow it up and now can present this.


I am sure it is my father the then Dir. of Passenger Service for Matson and the ship was near his office at piers 30-32 which had been Matson's since the 20's in S.F. He was Charles Christian, Sr. Went to sea for 30 years on passenger ships until he got his first shore job in 49. He died in 1972.

It was a nice treat for me tonight.

ahl
April 10th, 2007, 12:35 PM
I enjoyed reading Matsonbrat's postings and other's reminiscences of Matson Lines in this thread. I'll mention that I remember very well sailing on Matson Mariposa on a South Pacific cruise in 1961. (I was 10 at the time.) We went on board either Lurline or Matsonia when Mariposa docked in Honolulu. The ship was larger than Mariposa and very elegant, with wooden decks and 1930's appointments.

Matsonbrat
April 11th, 2007, 11:36 PM
:) AHL has a good memory about his voyages in 1961 in post #61.

His Mariposa trip to the South Pacific was on a Mariner freighter converted in Portland, Oregon to a passenger ship in 1956. She and her new sister ship Monterey were one stackers and only 365 passengers. My father went up to the shipyard there to see that his designs for the galley and dining rooms were followed properly. He also put women on the ships after WWII as waiters and room stewards. When he was scattered at sea in 1972 in the shipping channels between Molokai and Koko Head, Oahu, the now PFL owned one stacker Monterey had it's fantail full of these women who were originals or replacements. ( I have photos of the service sent by her Master with a copy of the ship's log of the funeral .
A few years ago I went to Koko Head and had my own private memorial service as I looked across to Molokai.) AHL's Lurline trip was really the old Monterey from the 30's with her sister ships Lurline and Mariposa with about 715 passengers each. The Matsonia was a 1929 smaller ship then the other 3 of the 4 great white liners of Matson. I truly envy AHL his South Pacific trip. Imagine today going from HNL or the Mainland on a cruise ship with only a max. of 365 passengers on that voyage.

mbardsley
April 13th, 2007, 07:20 AM
The Lurline was my first cruise when i was like 9, i think it was in 1969/70, Honolulo to LA. I only remember the one night, my dad and me were about the only people in the dinning room, He was Retired Navy, the ship was all over the place. We hit 30 foot seas, and were to redevous with a US Destroyer, they had a medical emergency, and we had a surgeon on board. My dad woke me up in the middle of the night to watch them swing the poor sailor over to us via a rope system, all in high seas.

Andy99
May 11th, 2007, 04:15 PM
http://www.maritimematters.com/images/britanis-1.jpg

Andy99
May 11th, 2007, 04:15 PM
http://www.maritimematters.com/images/britanis-3.jpg

Budwheat
May 13th, 2007, 12:41 PM
OMG! Our very first cruise in 1989 - The SS Amerikanis! St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Barbados, even Palm Island (though it was shallow water). Last cruise was in Feb 07 on the X Zenith. Same heritage, and the same great service and food.

When we left San Juan for the cruise, we were ported next to the Brit!

Thanks for the memories. :D

Paddy41
August 6th, 2011, 11:35 PM
I didn't realize when I started reading this thread how old it is. Is anyone still reading it? I, too, sailed on the Britanis. It was January, 1989. We went to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and the San Blas Islands. I still remember the time on the San Blas Islands as a highlight and I have been on many cruises since.
What I am wondering is how I can get credit for that cruise? What proof would I have to have to show Celebrity? Will Royal Caribbean also accept it for points? Anybody know?

CGTNORMANDIE
August 8th, 2011, 06:18 PM
Hi Paddy,

I think you would get a better response to your question if you asked it on the Celebrity thread...here on Cruise Critics.

Homosassa
August 14th, 2011, 04:11 PM
Paddy,

We were on the Britanis in 1976 and still have a copy of the passenger directory (yes, they use to give passengers a list of everyone on board and their addresses).

We provided a photocopy of the directory cover and our name listing to RCI and we were given credit for the cruise.

master@arms
September 21st, 2011, 03:00 PM
i worked on the ss brittanis as the master-at-arms. from may 73 - jan 74. round the world trips. i also worked on the ss australis. in 1968,1970,71,72,75,76 and 77. i worked on the sister ship of the ss brittanis, the ss ellinis in 1969. cruising from NY to Bermuda and Caribbean.

kristapb
November 6th, 2011, 04:26 PM
Yes, still reading - I happened on this thread today. My husband and I sailed on the Britanis for our honeymoon, in 1981. There was a mixup, and the ship's roster showed me in a cabin with another person, with my husband not even listed. The purser said, sorry - nothing we can do - I was in tears - then he said "Just kidding!" and assigned us another cabin. Was a great cruise. Remember those reserved teak deck chairs?

kjcccc87
January 28th, 2012, 01:20 PM
I had actually forgotten the name of the cruise ship on which I took my second cruise.....poring through this thread "Whatever Happened To", it hit me. I also cruised on the Britanis in 1993, my husband's and my first cruise together, to Key West, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel. At the time we booked it, our travel agent told us that it was the oldest cruise liner in service. She was old, but very well taken care of. It was the tiniest cabin ever - we had either a double or a queen sized bed, an inside cabin, and the bed took up most of the room! We were one of the lucky ones, our bathroom actually had been converted electrically so that I could blow dry my hair in it. Others on our deck had to go to a "group" room with the correct outlets. I remember having to iron my clothes there too.......! We had a wonderful time, the food was GREAT, the service great. It was my husband's first cruise - he was hooked! I wondered what happened to the ship. I also think it is fitting that she sank. Better that than taken apart and sold for scrap. :o

Groovymom
The Brittanis was also my first cruise and have been hooked ever since. We got the cheapest room we could get and ended up with no shower in our room.Ahhhhh......We had to use the shower room. It was fun times and great memories.




We sailed on the Britanis in 1991 on our second cruise. I loved that ship.
Like Groovymom, we also had a very inexpensive cabin - but we did splurge for a private bath. Our sleeping accommodations were like this: http://www.ssmaritime.com/britanis-2.htm Unlike many of you I do not have fond memories of THAT cabin.

But the remainder of the ship was one classy lady filled with brass and teak and leather. That era is now gone and I am delighted to be able to say that I experienced some small part of it. My post Chandris cruising is fun. I have a great time. But the sophistication, the stateliness of the Britanis is missing.

Imagine my shock when 4 years later we boarded Joe Farcus's Carnival Fantasy.
;)

Ships R Great
January 28th, 2012, 05:12 PM
i worked on the ss brittanis as the master-at-arms. from may 73 - jan 74. round the world trips. i also worked on the ss australis. in 1968,1970,71,72,75,76 and 77. i worked on the sister ship of the ss brittanis, the ss ellinis in 1969. cruising from NY to Bermuda and Caribbean.

Do you by any chance remember Michael Charlambis-Entertainment Director?

chandrisellinis
February 10th, 2012, 02:18 AM
Well as you can tell from my "name" i remember it well , 1969 sydney to uk :) fantastic

Mom2MandM
February 21st, 2012, 10:40 AM
I just stumbled upon this thread. My first cruise was on the Britanis in 1985. Just me and two of my college roommates.

I guess you could say we stuck out in the crowd. After meeting the captain, we were invited to sit at the captain's table at dinner later in the week.

Since we were poor college seniors, we had an inside cabin where the beds pulled down from the wall. I think the lower berth slept two and the upper berth slept one.

A day or two into the cruise we were told we had to change cabins. That was fine with us because there was a single guy in the cabin next to us, and he was a complete jerk, making lots of noise all hours of the night. Little did we know we were being upgraded to an outside cabin with three separate berths and an actual porthole!

Boy, do I wish I could go back in time and "visit" that cruise again. We, too, went to San Blas. A photo I shot there won 1st place in the New Jersey State Fair that fall. I still have two of the hand crafted cut work pieces of art I bought while we were there.

While in San Blas, we were taken to a "deserted island." What a laugh! It was an unpopulated island just a stone's throw from San Blas. But, I can honestly say I was once on a deserted island.

I also remember all the armed soldiers in Cartegena, Colombia. We were told repeatedly that they were there for our safety. I also remember the absolutely breathtaking emeralds in the jewelry stores in Colombia. It was said that Colombia kept the best emeralds and exported stones of lesser quality.

Our walk in a duty free zone in Panama was memorable, too. Apparently we walked a little too deep into the duty free zone, and suddenly we realized we were all alone. You bet we turned around and made fast tracks back to the populated area of the zone!

What great memories!

Arubalisa
March 10th, 2012, 01:17 PM
My sister and I cruised the Britanis from Jamaica to Cartagena, Panama, San Blas and Aruba. We chose the cruise because it was cheap and had an interesting itinerary.Doing a little bit of reminiscing here today after hearing about "The Love Boat". :(

I was single and also looking for something cheap on a guaranteed share and sailed the same itinerary as you MHG. After countless cruises since the Britanis, even at 26,000 GT, she is still my favorite ship. Panama is still one of my favorite ports as well. ;)

Part of my heart sank with the Britanis, but it was so much better for the grand dame to have gone to the bottom of the sea she sailed so very many years than end up at the devil's doorstep in Alang. :mad: She had a good life and judging by this thread, there were many who loved here. R.I.P.

AirbusPat
March 21st, 2012, 01:52 PM
We did a 5 day cruise on the Brittanis in February 94 and we have fond memories of this cruise and this classic ship. We chose to sail on the Brittanis because of her history. My wife"s grandparents sailed on her to Hawaii when she belonged to Matson Lines.

We brought along some original menus from the dining room which was a hit with the staff. Of course the cabins and public rooms were nothing like the new mega ships today, but the Brittanis had a lot of character and you won't find that on "The Oasis of the Seas".

We followed the Brittanis till the end and we are glad to see she escaped the breakers. She now rests on the ocean floor gone but not forgotten.

Andy99
April 13th, 2012, 10:55 PM
She was a real Ocean Liner. Designed for transatlantic travel not just island hopping the Caribbean.

cruising cockroach
May 18th, 2012, 04:04 PM
I sailed on a couple of Chandris cruises in the mid '70s but forget the name of the ship(s). I remember a Norway cruise that started from Bruge and ended in Tilbury and a Canary cruise r/t from Southampton.

Kay71
January 4th, 2013, 09:01 AM
I found myself reminiscing about The Britanis today and I stumbled upon this thread. So glad to have found it. I cruised on her in January 1993 to Key West, Playa Del Carmen, and Cozemel with my best friend just after we turned 21. It was my very first cruise. Being young and on a budget, we were searching for an inexpensive vacation and as luck would have it we came upon the Britanis. We had a super tiny cabin with no porthole but I believe we had a bathroom. I believe we were on the outside of the ship but lower than the porthole cabins in a room with two single beds that pulled down from the wall. I have a photo of my best friend with her outstretched arms nearly touching both walls!! There were probably only about 10 other people on board in our age group and they were all in couples. We spent our days tanning or taking aerobics class, and the evenings were spent in the bar with Ray the bartender.

On one evening our aerobics instructor convinced my best friend that we should be judges in a men's sexy legs contest on Cozemel. She thought this was a splendid idea and agreed. I didn't know anything about it until the following day. Of course we weren't thinking about how all of the men would be older than our dads, but probably closer to our grandfather's age! (of course that doesn't seem nearly as old to me now!) I laugh when I think back to it. They would strut by and we'd have to feel each of their calves. Some of the wives even asked us to pose in pictures with their husbands afterwards. It was cute.

I remember the black smoke from the smokestack and how in the mornings the chairs on the deck were speckled with the soot that stuck to it with the morning dew. I also remember a guy with an eye patch on telling us how he got a large flake of soot in his eye! However what I remember most was the charm of the ship and how I find myself fascinated with her to this day. I only wish I took more photos back then. I still have a few hurricane glasses with the big X on them from our nights in the bar. They bring back many good memories every time I see them.

ellie1145
March 5th, 2013, 05:43 PM
I was so thrilled to see mention of the SS Britanis.

Mŷ husband and I sailed on her a year after we got married, in 1973. My parents gave us the two week cruise as a surprise. We didn't have a posh cabin , it was an inside with no bathroom - we had to walk down the corridor to the showers and toilets. My parents had a Lanai Suite which was beautiful. But we didn't care, we loved her, she was a stunning ship, really classy.

We visited Lisbon, Madeira, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Casablanca and Gibraltar and it was a wonderful cruise. We had tea at the Reids Palace Hotel as it was called then, overlooking the bay, it was such an experience. Both my husband and I went down with a dreadful tummy bug which meant we missed Teneriffe, so I guess even then the Noro virus was present on cruise ships.

During the cruise we had a crossing the line ceremony when King Neptune came on board, and all sorts of hilarious things happened. I remember the greasy pole which was placed across the pool and onto which brave passengers tried to cling.

Each morning bouillon was served in little cups on the promenade deck, and regular buffets were held here too, with pride of place being given to a wonderful model of the ship made out of icing sugar.

I had already sailed on Australis, my first cruise in 1966, and fell in love with cruising as well as with a handsome Greek waiter who was my first love, and who called me each time he was in Southampton, wrote to me from exotic ports, and once turned up on my doorstep so desperate was he to see me. He only had a couple of hours before he had to rush back to the ship. Those were the days!

My next cruise was on the Reina del Mar, a Union Castle ship, followed by a cruise on Ellinis, where I had two wonderful weeks with my Greek boyfriend. She was another lovely elegant ship. Sadly, after 3 years I went to train as a teacher and he was forced to go to New York to work in his brothers restaurant, so our relationship came to an end.

But my love affair with cruising has never diminished, and I still feel sad that Australis perished on a beach, and Britanis sank. What an ignominious end for thse two beautiful ships. But at least they were not ripped to pieces in India.

Britanis was chartered by the US Government in 1994 as a floating barracks for military personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She suffered minor damage from an electrical fire, was repaired at US Government expense, then laid up at Tampa, Florida in late 1996, and I wish I had seen her before her demise.