Southern Cross (ship, 1955)

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Southern Cross
The Southern Cross in the River Fal
The Southern Cross in the River Fal
Ship data
flag United KingdomUnited Kingdom (trade flag) United Kingdom
other ship names

Calypso (1973–1980)
Calypso I (1980–1981)
Azure Seas (1981–1992)
OceanBreeze (1992–2003)

Ship type Passenger ship
home port Southampton
Shipping company Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Company
Shipyard Harland & Wolff , Belfast
Build number 1498
building-costs £ 3.54 million
Launch 17th August 1954
takeover February 1955
Commissioning March 1955
Decommissioning June 2003
Whereabouts Wrecked in Bangladesh in 2003
Ship dimensions and crew
184.5 m ( Lüa )
width 24 m
Draft Max. 7.65 m
measurement 20,204 GT
Machine system
machine Geared turbines
performanceTemplate: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
20,000 kW (27,192 hp)
20 kn (37 km / h)
propeller 2 × fixed propellers
Transport capacities
Permitted number of passengers 1,160
IMO no. 5335319

The Southern Cross was a passenger ship of the British Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Company put into service in 1955 , which remained in service for the shipping company in the liner service to South Africa until 1971 . In its further service, which lasted a total of 48 years, the ship, which was converted for cruises in 1973, changed its name and owner several times. It was last used as OceanBreeze between Florida and the Bahamas before it was decommissioned in June 2003 and scrapped in Bangladesh .

The Southern Cross was the largest ship of the Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Company when it was commissioned. Because of its unusual design and the machinery installed in the stern area, it was considered an innovation and a pioneer for modern passenger ships.


Planning and construction

Illustration of the Southern Cross

The Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Company was one of the largest shipping companies in Great Britain at the beginning of the 1950s, when its chairman Basil Sanderson presented a new building with the largest possible deck area and holds. The then nameless ship was particularly noticeable because of its unusual appearance. The bridge was almost in the middle of the ship, while the chimney was to be installed in the stern area. After initial doubts about the design, the shipping company decided on June 16, 1952 to build Ship 1498 . The cost of this was set at £ 3.54 million.

The new building was built under the shipyard number 1498 at Harland & Wolff in Belfast and launched on August 17, 1954. The godmother of the Southern Cross was Queen Elizabeth II , who was also allowed to choose the name of the ship from a list of suggestions. The Southern Cross was the first merchant ship to be baptized by a ruling monarch. It set new standards in its construction. Particularly noteworthy is the machinery in the stern, which gave the ship its unusual appearance. This construction method was criticized by ship engineers of the time because of possible stability problems, which however turned out to be unfounded.

period of service

Southern Cross

The Southern Cross

In February 1955 the Southern Cross was handed over to the Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Company and put into service in March 1955 on the route from Southampton to Cape Town .

In 1962, the Northern Star, a modernized and slightly enlarged version of the Southern Cross , was put into service. Despite its more modern design, the ship was not sold on after its retirement in 1975, but instead scrapped after only 13 years of service.

After the liner service to South Africa became uneconomical in the early 1970s , the Southern Cross switched to the cruise business in June 1971 and was used for trips from Southampton and Liverpool to the Mediterranean . In November 1971, however, the ship was re- launched as it was not considered suitable for this task.


After more than a year of lay-in, the Southern Cross was sold to the Greek Ulysses Lines in January 1973 and renamed Calypso . The ship was towed to Piraeus and converted into a cruise ship there. The interior of the Calypso was completely renewed and the ship's swimming pool was converted into a disco. The number of passengers was reduced to 1000.

In March 1975 the Calypso was put into service for the Ulysses Lines and used for Mediterranean cruises from Piraeus. After a few months, the ship was chartered to the British cruise operator Thomson Cruises and used for cruises from Tilbury and Southampton. In 1976 the Calypso returned to service for the Ulysses Lines. From 1978 the ship was also used for cruises to South America and New York as well as to Bermuda .

Calypso I

In 1980 the Calypso was renamed Calypso I and henceforth used for cruises from Los Angeles to Alaska before it was retired in 1981 and put up for sale.

Azure Seas

The Azure Seas in Port Everglades, December 1981

The US American Western Cruise Lines became the new owner . The ship, now renamed Azure Seas , was modernized again and equipped with a casino in the bow area. The Azure Seas was used for 4 night cruises to Ensenada and Santa Catalina Island which quickly became extremely popular.

In 1986, Western Cruise Lines merged with other shipping companies to form Admiral Cruises . The Azure Seas became the only ship of the new shipping company, but continued to operate on its old routes. After further modernization, the ship remained stationed in Los Angeles until 1991 and was then relocated to Fort Lauderdale for short cruises to the Bahamas . In the same year, however, Admiral Cruises was taken over by Royal Caribbean International , which had little interest in continuing to operate the Azure Seas . The ship was therefore sold to the Dolphin Cruise Line and renamed OceanBreeze .


The OceanBreeze in Nassau, August 2000

The OceanBreeze was used for seven-day cruises to Aruba before it was used between New York and Florida from 1996 . In 1997 the Dolphin Cruise Line merged with other cruise providers to form the Premier Cruise Line , but this did not affect the ship's route planning.

In 1999 the OceanBreeze was chartered to Imperial Majesty Cruise Line , who used it for three-day short trips from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau . After this service had proven to be profitable, the shipping company bought the ship in the spring of 2000. After another three years in service, however, the obsolete ship was retired in June 2003 after 48 years of service and replaced by the slightly larger, but two years older Regal Empress .

Since the OceanBreeze was one of the last existing British liner passenger ships of the post-war period, there were several attempts to keep her as a museum and hotel ship . However, these plans failed. On November 5, 2003, the ship arrived in Chittagong (Bangladesh), where it was scrapped in the following months.


  • Peter Plowman: Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977 . Rosenberg Publishing, Kenthurst 2006, ISBN 978-1-877058-40-0 .
  • Max Hunn: Sailing on the OceanBreeze . In: Cruise Travel . Volume 16, No. 6 . Lakeside Publishing Company, Evanston May 1995, pp. 54-57 .

Web links

Commons : Southern Cross  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Reuben Goossens: SS Southern Cross. In: Retrieved May 13, 2020 (English).
  2. ^ Reuben Goossens: Southern Cross a Fallen Star. In: Retrieved May 13, 2020 (English).
  3. Micke Asklander: T / S NORTHERN STAR. In: Retrieved May 16, 2020 (Swedish).