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Epirotiki Line
Page 2: 1975-1996
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Epirotiki Line fleet, now part of Royal Olympia Cruises. The page shows vessels acquired after 1975. Epirotiki Page 1 shows vessels before 1975. 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:-
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
Ships on Epirotiki Page 1:-
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: 1972-1980) - 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: 1968-1981) - ex-Irish Coast
Epirotiki Pages:-
Epirotiki Line - Page 1: Up to 1975
Epirotiki Line - Page 2: 1975-1996
Royal Olympic Cruises
Associated Pages:-
Canadian Pacific West Coast
Costa Line
Cunard Line
Direct Cruises
French Line (CGT)
Louis Cruises Lines
Norwegian Caribbean Line
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Table of Ship Histories

 Other Names  Built

 Empress of Canada, Mardi Gras  1961

 Sunflower 7, Minoan Prince  1973
 Apollon XI

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

 Odysseus (1)

 Leinster, Ulster Prince

 Odysseus (2)

 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

 World Renaissance

 Renaissance, Awani Dream, Grand Victoria

Epirotiki Fleet List
Page 2: 1975-1996
(Epirotiki: 1976-91)
Oceanos was built as the Jean Laborde by Chantiers de la Gironde, Bordeaux, for Messageries Maritimes (MM) in 1953 - part of their substantial programme of post-war rebuilds. Jean Laborde was 10902 gross tons, 493 feet long, and was used on MM's Indian Ocean services from Marseilles to East Africa, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius. In 1971, Jean Laborde was purchased, with sister Pierre Loti, by Constantine Efthymiadis and was converted into a ferry for service between Patras and Ancona. After a fire in 1973, she was converted into a car ferry, but was soon chartered for use between Singapore and Fremantle as the Eastern Queen. This was also short-lived, and she returned to Greece as the Oceanos of Epirotiki after arrest in 1975. She was lost 100 miles from East London (South Africa) on August 4th 1991, whilst on charter to South African company TFC Tours. Following a spectacular rescue by South African Defence Force helicopters, all 580 passengers and crew were rescued as she sank following an engine-room flooding.
Epirotiki postcard of Oceanos.
Epirotiki postcard of Oceanos.
Hermes (3)
(Epirotiki: 1976- )
Hermes (3) was built in 1956 in Yugoslavia under the name of Jugoslavia. In 1971 she was renamed Messager. In 1976 she was bought by Epirotiki and renamed Hermes (3). She remained in the ownership of Epirotiki running one-day cruises after the collapse of Royal Olympia.
Jadrolinija ship Jugoslavija (later Hermes)
Scan: © Neven Jerkovic
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Jadrolinija ship Jugoslavija (later Hermes)
Scan: © Neven Jerkovic
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Jadrolinija ship Jugoslavija (left) (later Hermes) with Jedinstvo
Scan: © Neven Jerkovic
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Jadrolinija ship Jugoslavija (later Hermes)
Epirotiki postcard of Hermes (3).
Photographic postcard of Hermes (3).
Hermes (3) at Piraeus
Photo:© Miho Radulic
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Hermes (3) (ex-Jugoslavija) at Piraeus
Photo:© Neven Jerkovic
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Hermes (3) (ex-Jugoslavija) at Piraeus
Photo:© Neven Jerkovic
Click to open Larger image in new window
Pegasus (2)
(Epirotiki: 1987-1991)
Pegasus (2) was built as the Svea Corona by Dubigeon-Normandie SA, Nantes. She was one of three sisters built for Silja Line services, and was owned by Silja Line consortium member Rederi AB Svea. The other sisters were delivered as the Wellamo of Finska Ångfartygs Ab and the Bore Star of Bore Line. Svea Corona entered service in 1975 between Stockholm and Helsinki, moving to the Stockholm-Mariehamn-Åbo/Turku route in 1980. In 1981, ownership passed to Johnson Line AB. In 1984, Svea Corona was sold to Sundancer Corporation and renamed Sundancer for use as a cruise ship. However on her third cruise on the US/Canadian west coast, Sundancer was declared a TCL (total constructive loss) after hitting a submerged object on 30th June 1984. She was driven ashore by the captain, and was later sold to Greek owners for rebuilding, reappearing as the Pegasus of Cosmos Cruises. In 1987, Pegasus (2) was acquired by Epirotiki Lines, retaining her name. On 2nd June 1991 there was a fire on board whilst in Venice. Pegasus (2) sank to the harbour bottom, and was declared a TCL for the second time. In 1994 the remains were sold to Strintzis Lines, and given the name Ionian Express. Following rebuilding, the intention was that she would be used on the Swansea-Cork Ferries service. This was not to be, since on 20th November 1994 another fire broke out, and the ship was declared a TCL for the third time. She was broken up in Turkey in 1995.
A complete postcard history of this ship is available on this link.
Epirotiki company postcard of Pegasus.
Chantry Classics postcard CC/S56 of Pegasus.
Commercial postcard of Pegasus at Antigua.
Enlarged image of the ship from the commercial postcard of Pegasus at Antigua above.
Odysseus (2)
(Epirotiki: 1988-1997)
In 1961, Soc. Espanola de Construccion Naval, Bilbao, constructed two coastal passenger ships for the Brazilian shipping Company, Cia. Nacional of Nav. Costeira. These two ships were named Princesa Isabel and Princesa Leopoldina. The 9.696 GRT Princesa Isabel was launched on January 18th 1961, and was delivered to her owners in August 1962. During speed trials, she attained 17.5 knots. Her accommodation consisted of:- First Class: 200 passengers (29 double and 46 three-berth cabins), Tourist Class: 250 passengers (mostly four berth cabins).
Due to poor loadings, Princesa Isabel was laid up in Rio de Janeiro in early 1968, and placed on the market. During this time, machinery parts were removed, being used on her sister Princesa Leopoldina. After an 18-month lay-up, Dominion Far East Line purchased her in 1969. She was towed from Rio de Janeiro to the River Clyde were she received a seven month refit. Upon completion, her passenger capacity had reduced to 375. She departed the Clyde under a British flag, renamed Marco Polo, and was delivered to Melbourne Australia in June 1970. Upon arrival, she commenced her cruise programme of the South Pacific and Asia. After an eight years service, Dominion Line announced the sale of the Marco Polo in May 1978.
Marco Polo had been purchased by a Greek owned Hong Kong Company, known as Aquamarine International. On her final Asian cruise, Marco Polo was caught in the grip of a typhoon and suffered a battering for five days, resulting in a number of injuries amongst her 192 passengers. After an extensive refit in Greece, which included her forward superstructure extended, she was renamed Aquamarine, for a series of 14-day Asian cruises out of Hong Kong. Her new cruise schedule competed directly with her sister ship, Coral Princess, ex-Princesa Leopoldina, which had been obtained by the Hong Kong based Swire Group China Navigation in 1970. However, Aquamarine's loadings were poor and she was laid up in Hong Kong after her first season. On April 27, 1980, she was arrested, and bought by the Commercial Bank of Greece at auction. She moved to Piraeus in 1981, where she was laid up until 1988, when she was sold to the Epirotiki, and renamed Odysseus (2). She entered service after a further refit, when her aft superstructure was extended toward the stern.
Odysseus (2) passed to Royal Olympic Cruises in 1997 continuing to work on similar cruises. Odysseus returned to her home continent in the winter of 1997-98 when chartered to cruise out of Buenos Aires. In the spring of 2000 it was announced that she would be long-term chartered to Legend Cruises for a series of 3- and 4-day cruises as the Joywave from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. There was a purchase option after three years. The deal fell through before cruises started and Odysseus returned to work on 7-day cruises from Heraklion through that summer. Royal Olympic Cruises was renamed Royal Olympia Cruises in 2003. Following the collapse of Royal Olympia, Odysseus reportedly passed to Hansa Kreuzfahten, who in 2005 owned three small cruise ships which are chartered out to travel agencies. She may have been renamed Odysseys. Later reports indicated that she was running gambling cruises from Hong Kong or Taiwan.

Complete history of Odysseus (2)
Epirotiki official postcard of Odysseus (2).
Epirotiki official postcard of Odysseus (2).
Chantry Classics postcard of Odysseus (2).
(Epirotiki Lines: 1991-1997)
Triton was delivered as the 1971 Cunard Line cruise ship Cunard Adventurer, sold to Norwegian Caribbean Line (NCL) in 1977, becoming the Sunward II. Following the success of Norwegian Caribbean's Starward and Skyward, a second pair of NCL sisters were ordered from Italian builders, to be named Southward and Seaward. The cost of the second ship increased following the nationalisation of the builders, and the order was cancelled. She eventually appeared as P&O's Spirit of London. Norwegian Caribbean waited until 1977 before acquiring more tonnage, when they bought Cunard Line's Cunard Adventurer, which was renamed Sunward II. Sunward (I) had been their pioneer cruise ship, originally built in 1966 for a UK-Spain-Portugal service, which was sold in 1972. She was sold again to Epirotiki Line in 1991, becoming the Triton. Epirotiki Line combined with Sun Line in 1995 to form Royal Olympic Cruises. Following the collapse of Royal Olympic, Triton was sold to Louis Hellenic Cruises at auction in 2004, and was renamed Coral.
Complete history of Triton
Epirotiki official card of Triton, originally Cunard Adventurer then Sunward II.
Pallas Athena
(Epirotiki Lines: 1992-1994)
The Flandre and her sister Antilles were the first new large post-war French liners. They were both launched with white hulls in 1951, intended for the Caribbean services of French Line (CGT). The Antilles was actually launched 6 months before Flandre, but Flandre was completed first. During building it was decided to use her on the North Atlantic routes, so she entered service with a black hull. Flandre was not a successful ship with CGT, suffering boiler and turbine problems. In 1963, her hull was painted white and she switched to the West Indies service for which she was designed.
Flandre's last voyage with CGT was in January 1968, when she was bought by Costa Line and renamed Carla C. After a very major conversion, she was handed over to Costa Line service in November 1968. However, they had already chartered her to Princess Cruises, so she entered service with their colours from Los Angeles, being the first Princess Cruises ship to display the now famous logo on the funnel. Although marketed as Princess Carla, her official name remained Carla C throughout. Carla Costa was sold to Epirotiki in 1992, and renamed Pallas Athena. Her life with Epirotiki was short, since she was destroyed by fire in 1994.
Two official Epirotiki cards are shown below.
Pallas Athena at Bordeaux on a Compa Carterie postcard (serial 334032).
An enlarged view of the ship is shown below.
Apollon (1)
(Epirotiki Line: 1992-1995)
Wakashio Maru was built by Kansai Zosen in 1973. She was renamed as Sunflower 7 1979. In 1992 she was sold for rebuilding as a cruise ship, entering service with Epirotiki Lines as Apollon. Her rebuilding was intended to allow 3- or 4-day cruises, but she was put into service on short 1-day cruises from Crete to Santorini. In 1995 she passed to Minoan Lines as Minoan Prince, remaining on the same route. Minoan Prince was laid up in 2001, and sold the following year to Golden Prince (Greece) and renamed as Golden Prince.
Official Epirotiki postcard of Apollon.
Scan supplied by J.F.Metello.
Enlargement from Adam postcard K1724 at Santorini.
Enlargement from Haitalis postcard H211 at Santorini.
Apollon (2)
(Epirotiki Lines: 1993-1997)
Apollon was built as the Empress of Canada of Canadian Pacific. Following the successful introductions of Empress of Britain in 1956 and sistership Empress of England in 1957, Canadian Pacific began negotiations began for a third ship. An order was signed with Vickers-Armstrongs of Newcastle in 1958, and the keel was laid in January 1959, on the same berth as Empress of England had been started four years earlier. Empress of Canada made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Canada on 24th April 1961, by which time the service had already become summer only. She ran her first winter Caribbean cruise from New York in December 1961. Empress of Canada cruised out of New York during the winter, and the number of Atlantic crossings reduced over the years, so that only seven crossings were made in 1969. In 1968 she received the latest CP funnel design, which was adapted as the Carnival symbol when sold to them in February 1972, after completing her 121st and last Atlantic crossing in November 1971. Empress of Canada had been intended to join Shaw Savill, teaming with their Ocean Monarch as the Dominion Monarch, but this plan was shelved following the prolonged conversion of Ocean Monarch.
As the Mardi Gras, she became Carnival's first ship. Despite extensive internal changes, her external profile remained largely unchanged through Carnival and subsequent owners. In 1975 she was joined by another ex-Canadian Pacific liner, the Greek Line's Queen Anna Maria, ex-Empress of Britain, which became the Carnivale.
Following the arrival of new purpose-built tonnage for Carnival, she was sold again to Epirotiki in 1993, becoming Olympic, Star of Texas, Lucky Star and finally Apollon. In 1999 she was chartered to Direct Cruises, for a series of cruises from the UK, marketed as Apollo. Direct Cruises were acquired by Airtours, in which Carnival later look a substantial interest. In 2000 the scheduled cruises of Direct Cruises were cancelled, and Apollon returned to Greece to be laid up. She reappeared in service for Royal Olympic in 2001, on 4-day and 3-day cruises out of Piraeus, due to delays in the delivery of the Olympic Explorer. She operated in duplicate with Olympic Countess.
I do not have a postcard of Apollon in Epirotiki colours.
If you can help, please email:
(Epirotiki Lines: 1995-1997)
The Empress of Britain was built in 1956 by Fairfields of Glasgow, preceding sister Empress of England into service by one year. She was Britain's first fully air-conditioned liner. Initially running on the North Atlantic from Liverpool, she ran her first winter Caribbean cruise from New York in January 1960. As time passed, more of her time was spent cruising as air travel hit the Atlantic market, and her final Atlantic voyage was number 123, completed in October 1963, only seven years after her maiden voyage.
She was sold to the Greek Line, and re-entered service for them as Queen Anna Maria in 1965, running a fortnightly service to New York calling at Naples and Lisbon. Following the collapse of the Greek Line, she was sold to Carnival, joining the the Mardi Gras (ex-Empress of Canada) in 1975 as the Carnivale. Following the numerous new deliveries to Carnival, she was transferred to subsidiary Fiesta Marine Cruises as Fiesta Marina. She was sold again in 1994 to Epirotiki as Olympic, and has recently been on charter to British tour company Thomson as the Topaz, having been bought by Topaz International. In 2002, Topaz received a new colour scheme. She is replaced in the Thomson fleet in the spring of 2003, with the possibility that she will then be chartered to Peace Boat.
CT Publishing card No.71 of Epirotiki Lines Olympic at Patmos, 1995.
Photo: © Richard Weiss.
World Renaissance
(Epirotiki Lines: 1977-1997)

World Renaissance was built for the Paquet's subsidiary Cie. Francaise de Navigation as Renaissance, who used her on routes from Marseille to the Eastern Mediterranean. Ownership passed to Nouvelle Cie. de Paquebots in 1970. She was sold in 1977 to Epirotiki Lines, and was renamed Homeric Renaissance. Costa Lines took her on charter and renamed her World Renaissance. She later operated for Epirotiki themselves as World Renaissance, and also for a charter with Club Awani as Awani Dream. She returned to Epirotiki Lines and passed to Royal Olympic Cruises, again as World Renaissance. Following their collapse in 2004, she was sold at auction, becoming the Grand Victoria.
Complete history of Renaissance
Official Epirotiki postcard of World Renaissance.
Official TFC postcard of World Renaissance.
TFC is a South African travel company which chartered a number of Epirotiki and Lauro cruise ships.
Official Costa postcard of World Renaissance whilst on charter.
Official Epirotiki postcard of World Renaissance.
Official Epirotiki postcard of World Renaissance.
Chantry Classics postcard of World Renaissance on a Norwegian cruise.
Photo: © Marvin Jensen.
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