Cruise History: The Chandris Line and the SS America was the precursor of Celebrity Cruises. For a history of the SS America click here.
One of the ships operated by Chandris was the beautiful Trans-Atlantic liner America previously owned by the United States Line and initially captained by Demitrios Challioris who had been in charge of a crude oil tanker in Southampton. Chandris changed the name to the Australis.
The ship had previously accommodated three classes but underwent a major refit and became a one-class configuration geared to carry 2300 passengers.
The aft promenade decks were extended, a swimming pool was added, and air conditioning was installed.
She made 3 month voyages around the world from Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Southampton, Casablanca, Las Palmas, Cape Town,(or through the Mediterranean via Gibraltar, Naples, Malta, Piraeus, Port Said and Aden), Freemantle, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Suva, Tahiti, Acapulco, Balboa, Cristobal, Port Everglades and return to Southampton.
Chandris Lines also had the Australian Government’s prized immigrant contract bringing tens of thousands of new immigrants out to major ports in Australia The ships were always sold out so that there were 3 sittings for dinner and special sittings for kids. P&O, a rival cruise line, had ceased the line voyage business to Australia so that the Australis was now known as “the world’s largest express liner.”