The Lauro Lines of Italy ("Flotta Lauro") had been contemplating new ocean liners since the early 1960s for their growing passenger trade from Europe to Australia and New Zealand, which they had served since 1949 with converted American military vessels. When the superb Dutch-flag Willem Ruys and Oranje were withdrawn from their around-the-world service in 1964, they found very eager buyers. They were in excellent condition, but Lauro Lines gave them complete overhauls and renovations nevertheless.
They were renamed Achille Lauro and Angelina Lauro, receiving new lido decks, Italian modern public rooms and contemporary cabins all with private facilities. They were given spacious lounges and dining rooms, nightclubs and discos and multiple swimming pools. They also sported very recognizable and distinctive smoke-deflecting funnels. Both ships were delayed by shipyard fires, finally entering their intended service in 1966.
The ocean liners were routed from Genoa, Naples and Messina to Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington in four weeks via the Suez Canal in both directions. Eastbound journeys stopped in Aden, while westbound stopped in Singapore. Most voyages were extended to serve Southampton and either Rotterdam or Bremerhaven. After closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 the Achille Lauro and Angelina Lauro were detoured around Africa outbound, returning via Panama or even around South America until the line voyages ended in 1972.
"Enjoy the world renowned warmth and friendliness of the Italian hospitality in the beautiful ANGELINA LAURO. You'll fall in love with her at first sight and participate in that in-love-with-the-world feeling created by the attentive Italian crew happy to be at your service."
Achille Lauro gained notoriety in 1985 when she was hijacked by four men with ties to the Palestine Liberation Front while enroute from Alexandria to Port Said, Egypt with most of her passengers ashore on an overland tour to Cairo.
Sample minimum one-way fares from Genoa to Wellington: First class $652; Tourist class $523; All fares are per person in U.S. dollars.
Go to Lauro Lines sailing schedules or select schedules by ship below:
Built: 1947 by Kon Maats de Schelde, Flushing, Holland
Built: 1939 by Netherlands SB Co, Amsterdam, Holland