With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian


Cogedar Line

SS Flavia

Ex Cunard Liner RMS Media - Later renamed: Flavian, Lavia


This Postcard shows her prior to her being rebuilt as the Flavia

Postcard from the author’s private collection


Part Two

RMS Media is transformed into the …

Ultramodern liner … SS Flavia

The RMS Media was sold for 740,000 pounds to “Compagnia Genovese d'Armamento S.p.A.,” or Cogedar Line in July 1961, but she continued to sail for Cunard until September 30 that year and having been destored she was officially handed over in Liverpool on October 12 to Cogedar Line. 

RMS Media was transformed as the ultra modern Passenger (Migrant) Liner SS Flavia in 1962/63
Postcard from the author’s private collection

Medina arrived in Genoa on October 21 and after being registered ten days later, the Media was officially renamed Flavia. Cogedar purchased her with the intention of using her as a replacement for their ageing MS Flaminia.

This well built passenger cargo liner received one on the most extensive rebuilding programmes ever seen on any liner to date. For nine months, she was completely transformed into a sleek liner by Officine A & R Navi in Genoa. The Flavia gained an amazing 26ft in length as her bow was completly reshaped and lengthened. She received a sleek new funnel with a large fin, which was her crowning glory. All her old accommodation was scrapped and her cargo holds were transformed into extra passenger decks.

Flavia showing her sleek lines 

When completed the Flavia could accommodate up to 1,224 tourist class passengers in 153 two-berth cabins, 220 four-berth cabins and five eight-berth cabins, plus 100 folding bed-settee for children. The vast majority of cabins had private facilities and were comfortably furnished in warm timber tones. Her public rooms extended the full length of Riviera (Promenade) deck, which is directly below boat deck. Forward was the two deck high Ballroom with the cinema located far aft. She featured two swimming pools and a glass enclosed children’s playground with paddling pool forward of the upper level of the main lounge. Her two dinning rooms catered for all passengers in two sittings.

Flavia, now registered at being 15,465 GRT, departed Genoa on her maiden voyage to Australia on October 2, 1962. As she steamed towards Sydney, she was an impressive sight, a beautifully streamlined, a gleaming white passenger liner. Sailing via the Suez, she arrived in Fremantle on October 30, Melbourne November 5, and remained there for two nights, reaching Sydney on October 9, departing the next day. She returned to Bremerhaven, which became her European turnaround point. Flavia departed Bremerhaven on December 22. It would be in 1963 that the Flavia began operating her around the world service.

Flavia in Southampton. Right is Sitmar Lines Castle Felice.

Smoking funnels in the background is RMS Queen Mary

Photograph displayed courtesy of the Seapix collection, NZ - all rights reserved

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 South Africa.

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

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

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 18 October 1968 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 commenced her life as a cruise ship.

In that same year 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. Flavia’s accommodation was vastly upgraded and capacity was reduced to only 850 passengers.

A Costa C postcard of the cruise ship SS Flavia

Flavia began a successful career, operating 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 cruise 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.

In 1982 the Flavia was withdrawn and sold to Hong Kong based C.Y. Tung Group. Her name was changed to Flavian and was to commence cruising locally. Instead, she was laid up for four years and was sold in 1986 to another Hong Kong shipping company, Virtue Shipping, who changed her name to Lavia. This once proud Cunard liner, the fine Cogedar Liner and Costa Lines Cruise Ship, was laid up and remained at anchor near Landau Island.

As the Flavian she was poorly maintained, loosing her external elegance

On January 7, 1989, the sleek, but the badly neglected SS Lavia caught Fire. She was completely gutted and her hulk was sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers. A sad end for such a remarkable ship with a remarkable history!

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

Personally, I sailed on this delightful ship from Rotterdam to Auckland via the Panama, in February 1964. My memory of her as a young man was a joyous one. She was a modern, bright, comfortable and a spacious liner. Yet, like so many fine liners, she is gone, but the memories remain!

SS Medina / Flavia INDEX

Part One: RMS Media & Parthia

Part Two: SS Flavia

Part Three: Flavia Photo Album

Part Four: Passenger Photographs & Menus

Part Five: Flavia Cabin Plan

Part Six: Flavia Brochure images - NEW

Other Cogedar Ships featured on ssMaritime

1: MS Flaminia

2: MS Aurelia


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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 only), in order that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!

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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