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Epirotiki Line
Page 1: Up to 1975
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Epirotiki Line fleet, now part of Royal Olympia Cruises. This page shows vessels acquired up to 1975. Epirotiki Page 2 shows vessels acquired after this date. The table below gives links to complete postcard career histories of selected ships. Below the table is an Epirotiki Line fleet list (to be completed).
Brief History of Epirotiki Line:-
Epirotiki Lines represent a family maritime tradition stretching back over 150 years, beginning in 1850 with Anastassios 'Tassos' Potamianos (1820-1902), from the island of Cephalonia, who began his first shipping venture transporting cargo and passengers along the River Danube to the city of Braila (Rumania). Assisting Tassos was his nephew, Giorgos Potamianos (1867-1932). Giorgos became a master and pilot, taking ships from the Greek mainland at Preveza (opposite Cephalonia) to Lipsia, Malta, Massalia and Russia. At the age of 25 he acquired his first general cargo sailing ship, the Sacra Famila (1892), which was successfully employed in the Eastern Mediterranean.
When Tassos Potamianos died in 1902 George undertook the management of the company which was growing fast and he took the emblem of the Byzantine Cross as the company's trademark, at the same time naming his company Epirotiki. In 1916 George moved to the new centre of shipping of Piraeus, acquiring his first steam powered ship, operating between the Greek islands. By 1926 the company owned 15 passenger vessels ranging between 800 to 1500 GRT. Ships were named after his home island: Kefallinia (1902), and children: Tassos, Elvira, Kimon, Petros, Fokion, Popi. In the same year his eldest son, Tassos Potamianos (1901-1975), began working for the company.
During WWII, Piraeus was destroyed by the German air attack on the city from which only one vessel was saved, the G.Potamianos, which was taken over by the the Allies. After the war Tassos sought to contribute to the revival of the company with three ships: Pindos, Attike and Adrias (1950); the last of 5000 GRT. With the Semiramis (1954, 150 pax, 3000 GRT), cruising was pioneered in the Aegean Sea operating in conjunction with the Hellenic National Tourist Office and establishing round trip cruises to the Greek islands and Eastern Mediterranean. Further expansion took place with the Pegasus (1) (1959, Adriatic Patra-Brindisi route), Hermes (1) (1961, Venice-Haifa route), 1965 Argonaut (7 day Greek Isles and Scandinavia round trip cruises), Jason (West Coast US), Orpheus (1), Atlas and other acquisitions.
The 1970's were a period of fast growth for the cruise industry with the company growing to become the largest cruise shipping company in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, despite competition from rivals. New acquisitions included the Oceanos, World Renaissance (1978), Odysseus (2), Jupiter, Pegasus (2) (1984) and Triton making up a fleet of 17 cruise ships and carrying nearly 100,000 passengers per year. Increasing competition led the company to seek a partnership, first with Carnival Corporation of Miami (1993) at which time the Pallas Athena, Olympic and Apollon (2) were acquired, and subsequently with Sun Line (1996), adding the Stella Solaris, Stella Oceanis and Stella Maris to the fleet and renaming the company, Royal Olympic Cruises (later Royal Olympia Cruises, which failed in 2004).
Ships on this Page:-
Achilleus (Epirotiki: 1968-1981) - ex-Irish Coast
Apollon XI (Epirotiki: 1968-1981) - ex-Irish Coast
Apollon 11 (Epirotiki: 1968-1981) - ex-Irish Coast
Argonaut (Epirotiki: 1964-2003) - ex-Orion (built: 1929)
Atlas (Epirotiki: 1972-1986) - ex-Ryndam, Waterman
Atreus (Epirotiki: 1958-1970) - ex-Frederikshavn, Aarlborghus (built: 1914)
Hermes (1) (Epirotiki: 1955-1960) - ex-Jupiter (built: 1915)
Hermes (2) (Epirotiki: 1961-1974) - ex-Princess Joan
Jason (Epirotiki: 1965- )
Jupiter (Epirotiki: 1970-1988) - ex-Moledet
Neptune (Epirotiki: 1971-2001) - ex-Meteor
Odysseus (1) (Epirotiki: 1967-1980) - ex-Leinster, Ulster Prince
Orpheus (1) (Epirotiki: 1968-1981) - ex-Irish Coast
Orpheus (2) (Epirotiki: 1969-1997) - ex-Munster
Pegasus (1) (Epirotiki: 1961-1976) - ex-Princess Elizabeth
Semiramis (Epirotiki: 1953-1979) - ex-Calabar (built :1935)
Semiramis II (Epirotiki: 1968-81) - ex-Irish Coast
Ships on Epirotiki Page 2:-
Apollon (1) (Epirotiki: 1992-1995) - ex-Wakashio Maru, Sunflower 7
Apollon (2) (Epirotiki: 1995-1997) - ex-Empress of Canada, Mardi Gras
Hermes (3) (Epirotiki: 1976- ) - ex-Jugoslavia
Oceanos (Epirotiki: 1976-1991)
Odysseus (2) (Epirotiki: 1988-1997) - ex-Princesa Isabel, Marco Polo, Aquamarine
Olympic (Epirotiki: 1995-1997) - ex-Empress of Britain, Carnivale
Pallas Athena (Epirotiki: 1992-1994) - ex-Flandre, Princess Carla, Carla Costa
Pegasus (2) (Epirotiki: 1987-1991) - ex-Svea Corona, Sundancer
Triton (Epirotiki: 1991-1997) - ex-Cunard Adventurer, Sunward II
World Renaissance (Epirotiki: 1978-1997) - ex-Renaissance
Epirotiki Pages:-
Epirotiki Line - Page 1: Up to 1975
Epirotiki Line - Page 2: 1975-1996
Royal Olympic Cruises
Associated Pages:-
Canadian Pacific West Coast
Coast Lines
French Line (CGT)
Louis Cruises Lines
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
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Table of Ship Histories

 Other Names  Built
 Apollon (2)

 Empress of Canada, Mardi Gras  1961
 Apollon (1)

 Sunflower 7, Minoan Prince  1973
 Apollon XI

 Irish Coast, Orpheus (2), Semiramis II, Achilleus

 Odysseus (1)

 Leinster, Ulster Prince

 Odysseus (2)  Epirotiki/ROC  Princesa Isabel, Marco Polo, Aquamarine, Joywave


 Empress of Britain, Carnivale, Topaz

 Orpheus (2)

 Munster  1948
 Pallas Athena

 Flandre, Princess Carla, Carla C, Carla Costa


 Sundancer, Pegasus, Ionian Express, Svea Corona


 Cunard Adventurer, Sunward II, Coral

Epirotiki Fleet List
Page 1: Up to 1975
(Epirotiki: 1958-1970)
Atreus was built in 1914 as the Aarlborghus of DFDS. She was renamed Frederikshavn, in 1936 and sold to Epirotiki in 1958. She ran until 1968 and was scrapped in 1970.
Official DFDS postcard of Aarlborghus.
Official DFDS postcard of Aarlborghus.
Official DFDS postcard of Aarlborghus.
(Epirotiki: 1953-1979)
Semiramis was built as the Calabar of Elder Dempster in 1935, for use on their West African local services. She was bought by Epirotiki in 1953, and is considered by many to have been the first Greek cruise ship. She remained in service until 1979 and was scrapped the following year.
Postcard of Semiramis.
Postcard of Piraeus with Semiramis.
Photographic postcard of Semiramis.
Photographic postcard of Semiramis.
Hermes (1) (Epirotiki: 1955-1960)
Hermes (1) was built as the Bergen Line's Jupiter of 1915. She was purchased by Epirotiki in 1955.
Official Bergen Line postcard of Jupiter.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Hermes (1).
Note the extended accommodation forward.
Hermes (2) (Epirotiki: 1961-1974)
Pegasus (1) (Epirotiki: 1961-1976)
Pegasus and Hermes were built as the Canadian Pacific West Coast steamers Princess Elizabeth (1930) and Princess Joan (1930). Original builders were Fairfields of Glasgow, and their service was between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver B.C, and were withdrawn by CP in 1959. They originally had three funnels, which were trunked into a single large funnel when both sisters were bought by Epirotiki in 1960, entering service the following year. Although identical in appearance, they have different internal layouts. Both have a large garage for cars (entered by side doors) and a swimming pool forward of the funnel. In Epirotiki service they started as three-class ships, on a passenger and car ferry service between Italy-Greece-Cyprus-Israel. They were later used for cruising. Pegasus and Hermes both spent their later years as accommodation ships in Scotland, and were scrapped in 1976 and 1974 respectively.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Pegasus.
Photographic postcard of Pegasus at Malta.
Photographic postcard of Pegasus or Hermes in Dubrovnik.
Photographic postcard of Pegasus or Hermes in Dubrovnik.
Argonaut (Epirotiki: 1964-2003)
Argonaut was previously the yacht Orion, built in 1929. She later sailed as Regina Maris before being scrapped in 2003.
Epirotiki official postcard of Argonaut.
Epirotiki official postcard of Argonaut.
Epirotiki official postcard of Argonaut.
Epirotiki official postcard of Argonaut.
Chantry Classics postcard of Argonaut.
Photographic postcard of Argonaut.
Photographic postcard of Argonaut.
(Epirotiki: 1967- )
Jason was built as the Aphrodite by the Italians in 1965 as war reparations. Two sisters became Atlantis of K-Lines and Stella Oceanis of Sun Lines. Aphrodite was bought by Epirotiki in 1967 and renamed Jason. She remained part of Epirotiki after the collapse of Royal Olympia.
Epirotiki official postcard of Jason.
Epirotiki official postcard of Jason.
Epirotiki official postcard of Jason.
Epirotiki official postcard of Jason.
Epirotiki official postcard of Jason.
Postcard of Jason at Malta.
Photographic postcard of Jason at Malta.
Photographic postcard of Jason.
Photograph of Jason at Piraeus.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 25th August 2003.
Photograph of Jason at Piraeus.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 25th August 2003.
Photograph of Iason (Jason) at Dubrovnik, 2004.
Iason was reactivated for Epirotiki in 2004, following the collapse of Royal Olympia, after being laid up since 1997.
Photo: © Ivo Batricevic.
(Epirotiki: 1967-80)
Odysseus was built as the Coast Lines overnight ferry Leinster. She was one of new sister ships Leinster and Munster, entered service on the B&I route between Liverpool and Dublin in 1938. They were delivered with buff coloured hulls, which were later replaced by dark green. The ships were the largest in the Coast Lines fleet when delivered, and proved to be too large for the Liverpool-Dublin service for much of the year. They also lacked the ability to carry cattle, a major traffic out of Dublin. Following the Second World War, the Leinster was refitted in 1946 to become the Ulster Prince on the Liverpool-Belfast route. The Ulster Prince, ex-Leinster, was sold in 1967, being bought later by Epirotiki Lines. She reappeared in service as the Odysseus.
An official Epirotiki colour card of Odysseus is shown below.
An unidentified photo card of Odysseus.
In 1976, Odysseus was used as an accommodation ship at Kyle of Lochalsh. She later moved to Glasgow, and I took the photo below from the paddle steamer Waverley. She looked in very poor condition by this time. She was broken up in Faslane in 1980.
Odysseus on the Clyde at Glasgow.
Orpheus (1)
Semiramis II
Apollon XI
Apollon 11
(Epirotiki: 1968-81)
Apollon XI was built as the Irish Coast, owned by Coast Lines, and was used to cover other ships in the fleet during their annual overhauls. In summer, she was intended to operate the Glasgow-Dublin route, but was later replaced on this service by the Scottish Coast. In subsequent years, she appeared on various routes, including Ardrossan-Belfast in the summer. Irish Coast was sold in 1968 to Epirotiki Lines. She received the names Orpheus, Semiramis II and Achilleus in quick succession, before settling with Apollon XI. This was rendered as Apollon 11 in 1980. She was sold in 1981, and was lost in a typhoon in 1989.
Early postcard of the ex-Irish Coast in Epirotiki Lines service in Rethymnon.
Can anyone identify which name she would be carrying at this stage? Please email:
Scan: Michael Kenyon.
This is an official Epirotiki card as Apollon XI.
Another official Epirotiki card as Apollon XI.
This is an official Epirotiki card of the "inviting Artemis dining room" aboard Apollon XI.
This is a Duncan photo card as renamed Apollon 11 in 1980.
Orpheus (2)
(Epirotiki: 1969-97)
Coast Lines built two new sister ships Munster and Leinster for B&I lines in 1948. The Munster was sold in 1969. After a spell as Theseus, she operated as Orpheus (2) for Epirotiki Lines. Orpheus (2) passed to Royal Olympic Cruises.
An official Epirotiki postcard of Orpheus.
Another official Epirotiki card of Orpheus, still with the original bow.
Another official Epirotiki card of Orpheus, with the later raked bow.
For many years Epirotiki operated the Orpheus on behalf of Swan Hellenic, which became part of P&O Cruises.
The official card below shows the logos of all three concerns, Epirotiki, Swan Hellenic and P&O.
An unidentified photo card of Orpheus, with original bow.
A Duncan photo card of Orpheus, with later bow.
(Epirotiki: 1970-1988)
Jupiter was built as the Moledet of Zim Lines in 1961. She was added as a third liner to the Zim Lines' Mediterranean Passenger Line. Moledet was a single-class vessel, built in France. She had was one large dining room, 2 lounges, a movie theatre, a synagogue and a special dining room for children. In spite of frequent engine troubles, the vessel enjoyed a great deal of popularity amongst her passengers. The Moledet plied the route Haifa-Marseilles-Haifa with an additional stopover in Genoa or Naples, for about 9 years. She was sold in 1970, after having made 225 voyages, to Greek owners, the Epirotiki Line, and was renamed Jupiter. Jupiter sank just outside Piraeus in October 1988, after a collision with an Italian merchant vessel.
Official Zim postcard of Moledet.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Jupiter.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Jupiter.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Jupiter.
Photographic postcard of Jupiter at Malta.
(Epirotiki: 1971-2001)
Neptune was built as the Meteor of Bergen Line in 1955. In 1971 she was badly damaged by fire, and the remains were sold to Epirotiki. She returned to service as the Neptune. She was laid up in later years and finally scrapped in 2001.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Neptune.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Neptune.
CT Publishing postcard of Neptune.
(Epirotiki: 1972-86)
Atlas was designed as a cargo passenger ship for Holland America Line. However, the design was changed during building, and she entered service as the secondary liner Ryndam in 1951. She was 15,015 gross tons, 503 feet long, and carried 39 first and 836 tourist class passengers. Her route was Rotterdam-Le Havre-Southampton-New York until 1959, when the destination was changed to Montreal. In 1966 Ryndam was transferred to HAL subsidiary Europe-Canada Line under the German flag. She was used on student sailings and floating university cruises. In 1968 Ryndam was renamed Waterman. In 1968 Waterman returned to HAL and was renamed Ryndam again. She was sold to Epirotiki Lines in 1972, and rebuilt for cruise service as the Atlas. Her outline was changed considerably, not for the better. Epirotiki Lines withdrew her in 1986. Following reports of use from Mexico, she eventually ended up as a floating casino in Gulfport, Mississippi, named Pride Of Mississippi, Pride of Galveston and Copa Casino. She was sold for scrap in 2003, but sank off the Dominican Republic on the way to Alang,
Official Epirotiki postcard of Atlas.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Atlas.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Atlas.
Photographic postcard of Atlas at Malta.
Photographic postcard of Atlas.
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