Emigrants, refuges, tourists and students sailed on the Arosa Line in the 1950s

Emigrants, refuges, tourists and students sailed on the Arosa Line in the 1950s


Arosa Line was the trade name for Compañia Internacional Transportadora.

  • The steamship line bought older ships, sailing Trans-Atlantic and on winter cruises out of New York.
  • Thousands of emigrants came from Europe to Canada and the USA on their four ships.

In 1949, the shipowner Rizzi had bought his first passenger ship with the Arosa Kulm and after some conversions operated between Bremerhaven, Germany, to Canada.

SS Arosa Kulm

Rizzi chose the name “Arosa” in honor of the Swiss village where he and his wife had spent their honeymoon. Three years later, Rizzi bought the more than 20-year-old passenger ship “Puerto Rico” which had operated by the Bull Lines between New York and San Juan, P.R.

SS Arosa Star

  • The ship was renamed the Arosa Star and joined the Arosa Kulm on the Europe to Canada service.
  • The strong return that Rizzi earned by the strong emigration in those years soon awoke his expansion.
  • He looked around for additional ships.
  • In 1955 and 1957, he bought the Felix Roussel from France and then the La Marseillaise and named them the Arosa Sun and Arosa Sky.

The SS Arosa Sun

SS Arosa Sky was Arosa Line’s most modern-ship. 

  • The company was known as a Swiss organization – all the ships were registered in countries of convenience – such as Panama and Liberia.

The Arosa Sun, after the company closed, was used as an accommodation ship. Here is short video with views of the ship’s interior. 


Mother and child alongside the Arosa Kulm.

Rizzi took advantage of the emigrant trade, along with students and tourists on limited budgets, sailing from Canada, the USA to Europe.

  • The Arosa Line filled a niche for half a decade. But cheaper air fares, competition from major companies such as Cunard, French Line, US Lines, etc. – who were matching his fares and had newer ships – soon forced the Arosa Line into bankruptcy.

Exchange students are going to Germany ’58-59. Sailing under the auspices of American Friends Service on the SS Arosa Star.

German students sailing to Canada – Captian’s party aboard the SS Arosa Star.

First and Tourist Class Passengers accommodations aboard The Arosa Line.

Accommodations aboard the SS Arosa Star.

Hungarian Immigrants going through Canadian Immigration aboard the SS AROSA SUN and dockside photo of relatives waiting.

The SS Arosa Star ended up wrecked off the coast of California.

Click here to read more about at Maritime Matters about the SS AROSA SUN wreckage.



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…