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Ivernia - Franconia - Fedor Shalyapin
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Cunard liner Ivernia. She was the second of four sisterships built by Cunard between 1954-57:- Saxonia - Ivernia - Carinthia - Sylvania
Ivernia was built in 1954 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank. She was the second four ships primarily intended for the Canadian service, and their dimensions were determined by the St Lawrence Seaway. During the summer they would sail to Quebec and Montreal, and in the winter (when the St Lawrence Seaway is iced over) to Halifax and New York. Construction of Ivernia started in 1954, and she commenced her maiden voyage from Greenock to Quebec and Montreal on 1st July 1955. She was 21717 gross tons, and 608 feet in length. She carried 110 first class passengers and 833 tourist class. Her decor was contemporary for the time, and most unlike the traditional interiors of earlier Cunarders. Many regular passengers were not impressed, and the last two sisters, Carinthia and Sylvania, reverted to a more traditional style. From April 1957, Ivernia sailed from Southampton to Montreal, rather than from Liverpool. Many of her sailings then included Rotterdam, to tap the European market, whilst her sister Saxonia often called at Le Havre.
The late 1950s were boom years for Cunard, and Ivernia was initially very successful on her designed routes. However, air was becoming increasingly the dominant mode of trans-Atlantic travel, and Cunard announced a significant financial loss in June 1962. It was announced that Saxonia and Ivernia would be rebuilt at John Browns to make them more suitable for cruising. Ivernia had completed 109 round voyages across the Atlantic when she was sent back to her builders in October 1962, reappearing as the Franconia in Cunard's cruising green livery. The interiors had been refitted, and a new lido had been built on the aft decks, replacing the aft cargo hatches. passenger capacity had been reduced to 119 first and 728 tourist class, and air conditioning had been installed throughout. Despite the cruising modifications, Franconia re-entered service on the North Atlantic run in July 1963. She ran successfully through the summer and switched to her planned cruising itinerary from New York in the winter, returning to the trans-Atlantic routes in April 1964. Other ships in the Cunard fleet, including the Queens, were being sent on experimental cruises from this time. The later sisters, Carinthia and Sylvania, had continued on year-round trans-Atlantic service. Passenger numbers were dropping, particularly in winter, and Sylvania was sent on a cruise from Liverpool in February 1965, despite not being suited to such work. Carinthia followed suit on her first winter cruise in January 1966. May 1966 saw the national Seaman's strike in the UK. All four sisters were affected, being held at Southampton or Liverpool. Services were resumed in July, but the strike had a devastating effect on Cunard's finances. On 8th May 1967, Sir Basil Smallpiece (Cunard's chairman) announced the withdrawal of all Cunard liners apart from Carmania, Franconia, and the new Queen Elizabeth 2. Franconia was used purely for cruising from 1967, and took over the weekly New York to Bermuda run when Furness-Withy withdrew, taking 28 cruises through the summer, with only one diversion to cruise to Canada.
In 1970, Cunard took a 50% interest in Overseas National Airways, which had two cruise ships on order to operate on fly-cruises, forming the company Cunard-ONA. Shortly after this, ONA were forced to withdraw from the arrangement, leaving Cunard to continue alone. The ships were delivered as Cunard Adventurer and Cunard Ambassador. In 1971, Cunard was taken over by Trafalgar House. They looked at upgrading the Carmania and Franconia, but decided it would be too expensive, and the ships were withdrawn and offered for sale, to be replaced by the new Cunard Adventurer and Cunard Ambassador. Franconia left on her last Bermuda cruise on 2nd October 1971, whilst Carmania's last cruise left Naples for Southampton on 24th October, arriving on the 31st, the last day of the four sisters in Cunard service. Carmania and Franconia remained at Southampton for seven months, when they were moved to the River Fal, where they joined the Southern Cross which had been withdrawn shortly after them. At one point is was hoped to sell them to Ted Arison for his fledgling Carnival Cruises, but agreement could not be reached. Carmania and Franconia eventually began new careers under the hammer and sickle as the Leonid Sobinov and Fedor Shalyapin. The sisters received very little interior changes before beginning a varied career as Soviet cruise ships, travelling all over the world. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989, the sisters became owned by the Ukraine, although nominally belonging to Maltese holding companies. Their condition deteriorated over the next few years and they were both laid up in the Black Sea in 1995. Leonid Sobinov was broken up in 1999, although her sister remained laid up for some time longer.
Ship Names on this Page:-
Ivernia - Cunard Line: 1955-62
Franconia - Cunard Line: 1963-73
Fedor Shalyapin - Black Sea Shipping: 1973-1999
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(Cunard Line: 1954-68)
21900 tons, 608ft long, 860 passengers
Cunard Line official card of Ivernia.
Photo Precision postcard S20613 of Ivernia.
Judges postcard 28302 of Ivernia.
(Cunard Line: 1954-68)
A Cunard Line official card of Franconia (ex-Ivernia).
This card was also issued as Carmania (ex-Saxonia).
A Cunard Line official letter card of Franconia (ex-Ivernia).
A J.Arthur Dixon official card (no serial number) of Franconia (ex-Ivernia), with later white hull.
A less common J.Arthur Dixon official card (no serial number) of Franconia (ex-Ivernia), with later white hull.
This is a traditional-sized card, smaller than the usual continental size used by Dixon.
A CT Publishing card of Franconia (ex-Ivernia), with later white hull.
Franconia and Carmania laid up in the River Fal, with Southern Cross.
Fedor Shalyapin
(Black Sea Shipping: 1973-1999)
CTC postcard of Fedor Shalyapin.
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Black Sea Shipping Co official postcard of Fedor Shalyapin.
Japanese postcard of Fedor Shalyapin.
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Simplon Postcards release sc2002 of Fedor Shalyapin.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Southampton, 1984.
CT Publishing postcards 050 of Fedor Shalyapin.
Photo: © Bert Pellegrom, North Sea Canal, June 23rd 1994.
Photograph of Fedor Shalyapin in the North Sea Canal.
Photo: © Wil Moojen, 23rd June 1994.
Photograph of Fedor Shalyapin in the North Sea Canal.
Photo: © Wil Moojen, 23rd June 1994.
Photograph of Fedor Shalyapin in the North Sea Canal.
Photo: © Wil Moojen, 23rd July 1994.
Photograph of Fedor Shalyapin in the North Sea Canal.
Photo: © Wil Moojen, 23rd July 1994.
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