With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian



SS Southern Cross

Calypso, Azure Seas, OceanBreeze



An early Shaw Savill postcard

This 21-page feature on the Southern Cross/OceanBreeze, came about due to the Australian campaign to save her in 2003/2004. However, most readers will now be aware that this great passenger liner and cruise ship, has been lost to a sad Chittagong beach in Bangladesh and has now been broken up. However, I trust that these pages will provide you with many happy memories!

In order to assist you locating the required topic or photo album in this work, below is another index. Each page has a link at the bottom of the page to return to this index as well as one to the next page.

Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian

Founder of “Save the Classic Liner” campaign – (Retired December 2007)




Part One - History

Part 1…                                  Southern Cross (on this page)

Part 2…                                  Calypso (on this page)

Part 3…                                  Azure Seas (on this page)

Part 4…                                  OceanBreeze (This and all others, on new pages)


Part Two - Photo Pages

Page 1…                                Southern Cross page 1

Page 2…                                Southern Cross page 2

Page 3…                                Calypso / Azure Seas

Page 4…                                OceanBreeze page 1

Page 5…                                OceanBreeze page 2

Page 6…                                OceanBreeze Page 3


Part Three - Various

1…                                          OceanBreeze Deck Plan

2…                                          Specifications

3…                                          Photographs - OceanBreeze being scrapped

4…                                          Southern Cross a Fallen Star


*For note on photographs see notice on bottom of page 


Part One - Shaw Savill’s Southern Cross

After World War II ended, thousands in the United Kingdom were seeking to build a new life, and many decided to emigrate to New Zealand and Australia. At the time, to reach Australia and New Zealand, one would have to undertake sea journey.

Shaw Savill was one of the leading British shipping lines at the time, and it was decided to build a new passenger ship. Shaw Savill’s chairman Mr. Basil Sanderson envisaged that this liner would be an all passenger ship, with holds for general cargo, and he implored ship designers to create a ship having her engines aft, providing passengers with additional deck space. The company had great doubts of the design, and eventually on June 16, 1952, it was decided to build this innovative liner. Not having been named yet, she would be referred to as “Ship Number 1498.” Her Estimated cost would be 3,546,000 pounds, and the contract to build her was given to Harland and Wolff of Belfast.

As she was purpose built to operate on the Australian, New Zealand service, a name was chosen befitting her destination, Southern Cross, being the constellation used by Australia and New Zealand on their National flags.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II launched the Southern Cross on 17 August 1954, being an historic event, as the Southern Cross was the first merchant ship to be launched by a reigning Monarch. After her trials, the Southern Cross proudly departed on her Maiden Voyage on March 29, 1955.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II
launching the Southern Cross

At the time, she had a number of new design features, beside her engines being located aft. Upon first appearance, her superbly curved round bow stood out, giving her long sleek lines. She had been given a traditional cruiser stern. Her bridge was located amidships in a tower like design, adding to her streamlined appearance.

Bedecked with flags, Southern Cross looks festive

The Southern Cross featured air-conditioning to all passenger accommodation and public spaces. Her eight passengers decks were, Sports, Sun, Lounge, Promenade, Main, Restaurant, A and B decks. Accommodations were located on six decks, with cabins ranging from single caning to six berth cabins.

 SS Southern Cross seen in Wellington New Zealand in 1963

Photographer unknown

Sun deck was the venue for the children's recreation room and play area including an infant play room and deck. Down on Lounge deck, from forward to aft, was the Forward Lounge, the Smoke Room, Cinema lounge, the Tavern, Writing Room, and the Library. Her two Restaurants, had seating for 390 in the forward Restaurant, and 192 aft. Her Galley’s were located between the Restaurants.

Forward Lounge

Author’s private collection

Southern Cross also had two swimming pools, both having dressing rooms. One being Sun deck, the other being the larger of the two was indoors, being very popular whilst the ship was still in the cooler northern hemisphere. She also had something that is missing on many ships today, open decks along both sides of the ship. These were on Sun (Boat Deck), Lounge, and Promenade decks.

Southern Cross seen departing from Sydney Australia

Author’s private collection

She proudly continued on the Australian / New Zealand service bringing multitudes of immigrants to their new home, to start a new life Downunder.  Then came the arrival of the “Jumbo Jet” 747, which changed the history of sea travel forever, as passenger loads rapidly declined, Shaw Savill decided that the Southern Cross would undertake short cruise programs between her world voyages. In May 1970, she was extensively overhauled and refurbished making her suitable for cruise duties. She first cruised out of Southampton for several months, after which she sailed for Sydney, and commenced cruising the South Pacific. After returning to Southampton, in May 1971, she cruised for another two and a half months.  However, most cruises suffered from low loadings and proved to be unprofitable. She departed Southampton in August 1971 for her last voyage around the world, returning to Southampton in November, where she was laid up. April 1972 she was relocated to the River Fal where she was berthed astern of Cunard’s Carmania, ex Saxonia, and Franconia, ex Ivernia. Southern Cross remained on the market until January 1973, when a buyer was found.

With her striking silhouette she could not be mistaken
for any other ship, until the Northern Star came along

Author’s private collection


Three fine Liners in Gibraltar

Right: Southern Cross – Left Front: Ellinis – Left Back: Orcades

Author’s private collection


A fine stern view of the Southern Cross at Southampton around 1965

Photographer unknown

Clive Trusson of the United Kingdom wrote: “My parents, who are now in their late Seventies have always talked with fondness of the SS Southern Cross, having sailed on her to return from New Zealand to England in the late 1950's. I recently converted some 35mm slides for them from their time in New Zealand and amongst these photos are some showing the ship sailing from Wellington and which I think they will complement the collection of photos of the Southern Cross that you have put together.

I have taken the liberty of printing off your pages to show them. I'm sure that they will be very sad to learn of her fate, such that I will wait until I visit them next month to give them the pages rather than break the news over the phone!”

Photographs provided by Clive Trusson of his parents voyage on the Southern Cross


A fine view looking forward over her bow


The Trusson family on the SS Southern Cross 



The ever popular swimming pool


 Mrs Trusson on the bridge housing, looking aft

 All photographs were provided by Clive Trusson


Part Two – Calypso



(Photographed by Mr. Arthur Duncan)

January 1973, Southern Cross was sold for half a million UK pounds to, Cia de Vap Cerulea SA, Ithaka for Ulysses Cruise Line. She departed the UK in March with her bow revealing her new name, Calypso. She headed for Piraeus where she received a lengthy refit being converted for her new role as a full time cruise ship. Ulysses Cruises spent US$10 million to complete the comprehensive refit. With the SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations being in affect, all her fine wood panelling had to be stripped for fire safety reasons, which was replaced with fireproof plastics and chrome. This proved to be a massive task that took almost two years to complete. When Calypso’s refit was finally complete, her décor had become somewhat bland, even though, a minimalist colour scheme was used in public areas. All cabins and suites were redecorated, and fitted with private facilities throughout. The layout of the public rooms remained as built, only the magnificent indoor pool, was removed and replaced by a Disco. Upon completion, she was classified as being 16,500 GRT, accommodating 950 passengers.

Calypso commenced her full-time cruise duties April 1975, cruising mostly throughout the Mediterranean. During 1978, she headed for South America where she operated a short cruise season, returning to Piraeus February 1979. Then on 16 December that year, she departed Greece for Miami, from where she operated seven night cruises around the Caribbean. Then one year later, having been renamed Calypso I, she transited the Panama Canal and commenced cruising from Los Angeles and San Francisco, including a season of seven-night cruises to Alaska, concluded in September. On September 29, 1980, Calypso was sold to the Western Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Eastern Steamship Lines Inc of Panama. 

Part 3 - Azure Seas

Official postcard of the Azure Seas

Author’s private collection

Western Cruise Line / Eastern Steamship Lines Inc, part of the Gotaas-Larsen Group of Shipping companies, renamed the ship Azure Seas. She departed on her first cruise for the new company in November, commencing cruises from Los Angeles to Ensenada Mexico. SO successful did she prove to be, she continued cruising to Mexico for until 1986, when Sundance Cruises, and Eastern and Western Cruise Lines amalgamated, forming a new company, Admiral Cruises. Thereafter, the Azure Seas continued her short Mexico circuits, which saw her popularity grow, and she became known as the “Party Ship.” Later she returned to Ft Lauderdale and commenced cruise duties to the Bahamas for the five years.

Return to Southern Cross/OceanBreeze INDEX


Next page … OceanBreeze


The following are all my Shaw Savill features on

1... SS Athenic Class Ships These three fine liners built in 1902/03

2… QSMV Dominion Monarch – Shaw Savill’s Grandest Dame ever built!

3… SS Corinthic Class Liners – Four fine ships built in 1947/48.

4… SS Southern CrossAnd this 23 webpage feature on a revolutionary passenger liner!




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Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960 &

Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story


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Save The Classic Liners Campaign & Classic Ocean Voyages pages


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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