The Last Ocean Liners

Greek Line

Olympia / Queen Anna Maria


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Greek Line

The Greek Line's first vessel was an older liner, which entered service in 1939. As the business grew they added several second-hand ships until 1953 when, with an aging fleet and seeing a bright future, the company launched the first new ocean liner to be built for Greek interests.

Greek Line

After some controversy, the Olympia, built in Scotland and flying the Liberian flag, began transatlantic service between Bremerhaven and New York. Olympia finally began regular Greek Line service between Greece and New York in 1955, carrying migrants and tourists to the U.S. and Canada. Later, some Caribbean cruises were added each winter and some voyages were extended to Israel.

Greek Line

Tourist class occupied most of the ship, while First class enjoyed an exclusive club-like area on the Sun Deck, with some interchangeable cabins in between. Olympia was successful and well-regarded for good food and for the hospitality of the friendly Greek crew.

Greek Line

When the eight-year-old Empress of Britain was up for sale, and with liner services to the Mediterranean less affected by jet travel than the North Atlantic, she was bought by Greek Line and renamed Queen Anna Maria. She was updated for a dual purpose role as an ocean liner and cruise ship, including installation of air-conditioning throughout the ship and private bathrooms in all cabins, adding a new lido deck with four swimming pools and a large night club at the stern. She entered service in 1965.

The increase in fuel prices as well as airline competition were the main reasons for the collapse of the Greek Line in 1975. Both of their ocean liners were sold to become Florida-based cruise ships.

Sample minimum one-way fares from New York to Piraeus: First class $512; Tourist class $307; from New York to Haifa: First class $543; Tourist class $360; All fares are per person in U.S. dollars.

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Olympia (Greek Line) 1953
Olympia Greek Line
Built: 1953 by A Stephen & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland Gross tons: 17362 Length: 612ft (187m) Width: 79ft (24m) Draft: 28ft (9m) Speed: 21kn Power: 25000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 138 First 1169 Tourist End of service: Laid up 1974; sold 1981 as Caribe then Regal Empress; scrapped 2009
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Queen Anna Maria (Greek Line) 1956
Queen Anna Maria Greek Line
Built: 1956 by Fairfield SB & Eng Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland Gross tons: 21716 Length: 640ft (195m) Width: 85ft (26m) Draft: 29ft (9m) Speed: 20kn Power: 30000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 168 First 1145 Tourist End of service: Sold 1975 as Carnivale then The Topaz; scrapped 2008
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