The Greek-flag Chandris Lines entered the passenger ship trade in 1959. Their fast success led to a fleet of Chandris liners serving the migrant routes from Europe to Australia, usually returning via the Panama Canal for around-the-world, transatlantic and various port-to-port passengers.
Their first vessel was the former Union-Castle liner Bloemfontein Castle, rebuilt to increase her capacity from 700 to over 1,000 passengers. She was renamed Patris, carrying migrants from Greece to Australia. Considered luxurious by the standards at the time, she featured a full-width main lounge, gallery, smoking room, two dining rooms and a swimming pool with pool bar.
In 1963, the U.S. flag Matson liner Lurline was for sale with mechanical issues. The solidly-built ocean liner was repaired and rebuilt by Chandris Lines, more than doubling her capacity. She was renamed Ellinis or "Greek Lady", and sailed from Southampton via Greece and the Suez Canal to Australia, returning via Tahiti, Panama and the Caribbean to the U.K.
Continuing growth led to Chandris putting their largest ocean liner into service in 1965. The U.S. flag transatlantic liner America was no longer needed, and was quickly bought by Chandris. Her large capacity was more than doubled for the migrant and tourist trades and she was renamed Australis, the "Australian Lady". Almost all cabins received extra berths and although Australis had a rather spacious and plush interior, it suffered somewhat with heavy use by over 2,200 passengers.
"Come with us to the call of the sea. To its romance, its adventure and relaxation. To the sanity of having time to acclimatise yourself before setting foot in a new continent, and no time and temperature differences to upset your equilibrium... This then is your holiday at sea which offers so much for such a very reasonable fare. The great sea holiday that Chandris Lines promise you."
Sample minimum one-way fares from Southampton to Melbourne: One class $480; All fares are per person in U.S. dollars.
Go to Chandris Lines sailing schedules or select schedules by ship below:
Built: 1950 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Built: 1933 by Bethlehem Steel, Quincy MA, USA
Built: 1940 by Newport News SB & DD, Newport News VA, USA