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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 I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues to write article on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure!

 

Introduction from Part One:

The RMS Media had been sold for 740,000 pounds to “Compagnia Genovese d'Armamento S.p.A.,” or Cogedar Line in July 1961 but she continued to her planned Trans-Atlantic schedules until September 30, 1961. She was then “destored” and was officially handed over to Cogedar Line in Liverpool on October 12 and after ten days she was reregistered and renamed Flavia. Cogedar had purchased her as they were in need of a new ship, for they required a replacement for their ageing MS Flaminia that was originally built in 1921, but had been extensively rebuilt many times into an immigrant ship.

Here we see the Cunard liner, the RMS Media prior to her being rebuilt

into the ultramodern looking Cogedar liner SS Flavia

Photographer unknown - *See photo notes at bottom of page

 

Part Two

The transformation of the RMS Media

Into the ultramodern liner SS Flavia

The Flavia arrived at the “Officine A & R Navi Shipyards” at Genoa on October 21 where this beautifully and well-built passenger cargo liner would be completely rebuilt into an excellent modern passenger liner that would sail to and form Britain, Europe and Australia!

This well built passenger cargo liner received one on the most extensive rebuilding programmes ever seen on any liner to date that took around ten months. The Flavia had gained an amazing 26ft - 7.92m in length for her new superbly raked bow had been completely reshaped and lengthened. In addition she received a modern new funnel with a large aft fin being her crowning glory, combined with a shapely radar mast just aft of her Bridge. All of her previous accommodations had been scrapped and her cargo holds were completely rebuilt into passenger decks with new cabins.

The elegant SS Flavia is showing off her long sleek lines 

The completed Flavia now accommodated up to 1,224 passengers on a One-Class configuration. She offered 153 two-berth cabins, 220 four-berth cabins and five eight-berth cabins; in addition there were some 100 folding bed-settees for children. The majority of cabins had private facilities and each cabin was comfortably furnished in warm timber tones and the floor and wall colours combined with the soft furnishings were all most peaceful!

A typical four-berth cabin, be it one with a porthole or not

Her public rooms extended the full length of Riviera (Promenade) deck, which is directly below boat deck. Far forward there was the spacious two level Ballroom and the cinema located far aft. She featured two swimming pools and a glass-enclosed children’s playground with paddling pool just forward of the upper level of the main lounge. Her two dinning rooms catered for all passengers in two sittings.

The Flavia was now registered as being 15,465 GRT, and she departed Genoa on her maiden voyage for Australia on October 2, 1962 sailing via the Suez Canal across the Indian Ocean and there was no doubt, but as she steamed towards Australia she was an impressive sight, for she was a beautifully streamlined, a gleaming white perfectly balanced liner. She arrived in Fremantle on October 30, then arriving in Melbourne on November 5, and she remained there for two nights. The Flavia reached Sydney on October 9, and she departed the next day, the 10th. She sailed back to Europe and completed her voyage at Bremerhaven, which became her European homeport. The Flavia departed Bremerhaven again on December 22.

The Flavia is now a fully operating liner and will be kept busy for some time

Photographer unknown - *See photo notes at bottom of page

In 1963 the Flavia commenced her around the world service and the author sailed on her in February 1965 and was booked to Melbourne, but due to illness had to leave the ship in Auckland and a year later continued on the MS Aurelia via Sydney to Melbourne.

Flavia’s Ports of Call: Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, London (Tilbury), Curacao, the Panama Canal, Papeete, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle, Aden, Suez, Port Said, Cannes, London, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven. When the Suez Canal was closed in 1967, Flavia was diverted via Cape Town, South Africa.

Flavia also made a number of cruises out of Sydney, including one to the Far East.

A wonderful aerial photograph of the SS Flavia

A link to our Photo album is located further down the page

Sold to Costa Line:

However, the popular Flavia was withdrawn from the Round the world service in 1968, due to changes of the migrant contract. She made one final cruise out of Australia and the departed Sydney on October 18, 1968 and Melbourne on the 20th.for her return voyage to Europe. During her return voyage, she was chartered to Atlantic Cruise Line for cruising out of Miami to the West Indies. She received a rapid refit and refurbishing and she soon commenced her life as a cruise ship.

In that same year the Flavia was sold to the giant Italian shipping Company Costa Line. Costa was one of the first companies to operate full time cruising with the historic MS Franca C.

The Flavia’s accommodation was dramatically upgraded and her passenger capacity was reduced to just 850 passengers, in addition her public venues also received a beautification!

Here we see the Costa C cruise ship the SS Flavia that had just departed Miami

This photograph was taken by a Miami pilot on May 26, 1975

SS Flavia began a new and a very successful career, operating a year round, three and four day cruises from Miami to the Bahamas. She remained on this service until July 1977. Thereafter she operated a series of cruises out of South America, before returning to Europe for Mediterranean cruise duties, commencing in April 1978. Later that year in September, she returned to Miami and recommenced her previous cruise duties.

Sold to the Famed C. Y. Tung:

However, in 1982 the Flavia was ultimately withdrawn as Costa was obtaining new ships and therefore sold her to the well-known Hong Kong based C. Y. Tung Group. Her name was changed to Flavian and was due to commence cruising locally. But for some reason, this usually successful company did nothing with the ship and just laid her up for the next four years.

The Flavian was internally well maintained, but she was loosing her external elegance

Flavia’s Final Days:

The SS Flavian was again sold in 1986 to another Hong Kong shipping company, by the name of Virtue Shipping, who shortened her name even further to just, Lavia.

Tragically, this once proud Cunard liner, the magnificent and elegant looking Cogedar Liner and fine Costa Lines Cruise Ship, remained at anchor near Landau Island for another three years and received little to no maintenance or care!

Then, what we may call the inevitable occurred, for on January 7, 1989, the badly neglected SS Lavia caught fire and because she was at anchor away from the shore, it took time for the fire fighter boats to reach her, thus by then she was already almost completely gutted.

When the fires had eventually died out, her sad blackened hulk was rapidly sold to a Taiwanese ship breaker. For genuine ship lovers, it was indeed a tragic end for such a remarkable ship that had such an amazing history!

January 7, 1989 – SS Lavia ex Flavian, Flavia was gutted by fire

A Personal Thought:

As I said, I sailed on this delightful ship from Rotterdam to Auckland via the Panama, in February 1965. My memory of her as a young man was without a doubt a joyous one. She was a modern, bright, comfortable and a spacious liner. Yet, like so many fine liners, she is now gone, but the amazing memories remain!

A Special Request!

I received an email from Alan Wardle who lives in the United Kingdom and he sailed on the SS Flavia in 1967om Adelaide to Southampton and he is collating information and would like to create a basic list if other passengers are willing to contact him with some possible information and contact details. In fact he was just 14 years of age when he sailed and he would be delighted if he would meet someone he actually travelled with. The chances of that are low, but who knows, I have seen many things happen through my pages!

Alan is happy to receive e-mails from people who may also wish to connect to other people who sailed on the SS Flavia.

Contact him at: al.wardle@hotmail.co.uk.

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, Author & Lecture

Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960!

 

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RMS Media & the RMS Parthia Remuera & Aramac - INDEX:

Part One: RMS Media & Parthia

Part One – B: RMS Parthia a comprehensive page covering RMS Parthia, Remuera & Aramac exclusively!

. The above page, may feature some of the same photographs as “Page One”

Part One – C: Malcolm Walker sails on SS Remuera’s final voyage to the UK, before becoming the Aramac

Cogedar’s SS Flavia

Part Two: SS Flavia

Part Three: Flavia Photo Album

Part Four: Passenger Photographs & Menus

Part Five: Flavia Cabin Plan

Other Cogedar Ships featured on ssMaritime:

1: MS Flaminia

2: MS Aurelia

Special thank you: I have received a number of images from supporters of ssmaritime that are featured on this page and I am most grateful for these, especially Rick Danley from the USA who supplied all the brochure images on this page. There are other photographs on this page that have been provided by supporters but details of the photographers/owners are not known. If you are the photographer and wish to receive a full credit, please see the photo notes at the bottom of the page and email me.

Please Note: Do NOT email me for passenger lists, sailing schedules, etc, for I do NOT have them AND I WILL NOT AWNSER YOU! I have received thousands over the years and the keep coming, but NO MORE! Thus do not even think about it!

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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.

This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

 

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