From Matson Lines SS Monterey to Chandris Lines RHMS Britanis
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that my sites have never been associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author commenced working in the Passenger Shipping Industry back in 1960 but is now very much retired and I hope that the well over 625 articles on classic liners and cruise ships that I have written will continue to inform and also bring much joy to ship enthusiasts for many more years to come!
Matson / Chandris Lines
Other names: Matsonia & Lurline
SS Lurline, ex Matsonia,
Matson Lines commenced sailing from
1 … SS Mariposa was launched July 18
1931. In 1954 she became the Homes Line cruise ship Homeric. After a major fire
in July 1973 she was declared a total loss and was scrapped in
3 … SS Lurline was launched on
Part One – SS Monterey
SS Monterey was, as seen above, the second of
a trio of successful liners. She was followed by the Lurline and joined the
Mariposa on Matson Line's Pacific services. Designed by William Francis Gibbs,
SS Monterey seen in the 1930’s
SS Monterey Photo Gallery
First Class Dinning Room
First Class Veranda Cafe
First Class Library
First Class Deluxe Suite
First Class Twin bedded Stateroom
Cabin Class Lounge
SS Monterey lighter - an item of memorabilia in my collection
SS Monterey seen at
Dimensions as Built
Tonnage: 18,017 GRT – In 1957: 18,655.
Length: 192.9 m / 632 ft – in 1957: 195.5 m after bow lengthening.
Beam: 24.2 m / 79 ft.
Propulsion: Geared Turbines.
Screw: twin – 28,000 SHP.
Speed: 22.26 knots.
Passengers: 472 First Class & 229 Cabin Class.
. In 1957 761 First Class only.
Then came World War II and she was inducted
into the US Marine Corps in 1941 to rescue refugees from China, Japan, as well
as Korea. She collected some 150 missionaries and stranded US citizens and
transported them home to
USS Monterey in Sydney Australia
She served faithfully throughout the war until
Part Two – SS Matsonia
Having been laid up since 1947, nine years
later, on February 3, 1956, Matson Line repurchased the Monterey for $2,556,000
decided that the Bethlehem Shipyards, her original builders would refit her
back as a ultra luxury Liner. However, during her long lay-up, her name had
been given to another of the companies ships a former C4 cargo vessel the SS
Free State Mariner, which Matson rebuilt for its deluxe South Pacific passenger
service. This ship and its sister would become the new SS Monterey and SS
Mariposa that operated on the
However Matson Line brought her back with an refit that was reported to have given her a brand new look, with new and exciting interiors as well as the new name the SS Matsonia. A foldout pre-maiden voyage brochure was released measuring 16 inches by 18 inches revealing her new interiors and exteriors interiors.
Here we see the Pre-Maiden voyage promotional brochure
A superb artist impression of the new and re named SS Matsonia
The ex SS Monterey was officially renamed
Matsonia by Mrs. Neal Blaisdell the wife of the mayor
Her new raked bow is shown off well in this photograph!
Photograph taken by Victor Scrivens - From the Rich Turnwald collection
Above: SS Matsonia is seen in
She departed on her official maiden voyage as
the Matsonia from the
Young Jim Woodward and family is enjoying a cruise on the Matsonia
Photograph provided by Jim Woodward
By 1961 it had become obvious that passenger
occupancy had begun to decline. Then on September 5, 1962 the Matsonia was laid
A last look at her as the Matsonia
Part Three - SS Lurline
Due to the sale of the Lurline to Chandris, this revived the Matsonia and after being laid up for twelve months, she was to be returned to service. However, to confuse the issue, she would take on her sister's name - SS Lurline, being her third name and she commenced duties in 1966.
A postcard of the renamed SS Lurline seen steaming at full speed ahead
She commenced the Hawaiian schedules including
a service to
A Lurline brochure from the late 60’s
Above and below: This is an attractive Photo Folder that comes with photographs obtained from the ships photographer
Kindly provided by 1967 passenger - Cathy Murphy - Castorani
Part Four - RHMS Britanis
She headed to
Original Chandris postcard of their new liner RHMS Britanis – In reality she did not look that good
The first brochure released
Her maiden round the world voyage departed
This photograph shows her true transformation, which was modest if compared with her sister the RHMS Ellinis
Then in May 1982 she was transferred to the
Chandris subsidiary, Fantasy Cruises and she commenced cruising between
Britanis seen at Tilbury (
Photographs of her final days cruising
A fine stern view of Britanis during her final cruising years
This gracious lady is still cruising aged 60; she is
seen here off the coast of
A delightful night time view of the Britanis
Photograph by & © Nikos-Tzerefos
It is close to the end, but she still looks grand!
Photograph by & © Nikos-Tzerefos
The past would catch up with her as she was
again chartered by the US Government 1994, but this time she was used as an
accommodation vessel for military personnel at
Part Five – Belofin - 1
Eventually the end would catch up with her,
for on January 24,
1998, Chandris sold the still immaculate Britanis to
A.G. Belofin Investments of Lichtenstein. Her new
owners were to deliver the historic liner to breakers either in Alang
AG Belofin Investments decided to rename SS Britanis as Belofin-1 and decided to take her on her final voyage under tow to the breakers. It would be a voyage that would end off the South African coast.
The stern of the renamed Belofin – 1, ex RHMS Britanis,
Photograph was taken by and is copyright © Peter Knego
Belofin-1 departed Tampa on July 3, 2000 under
tow by the Ukrainian tug Irbis and headed for an
estimated 100 day voyage to a breakers yard in India or Pakistan. Apparently
she started to take on water in her aft section not long her departure from the
East Coast of the
A photograph taken hours before the Belofin-1 sank on the 21st of October
South African Media release
May she rest in peace and may we remember the wonderful years she has given all those who have sailed on her or beheld her sheer beauty from afar or the sea on a passing ship for a good 69 years of her life!
Page Two: My Cruise on the Britanis with Francois Tremblay
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