Epirotiki Lines the early cruise ships
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!
The Early Cruise Ships
SS Hermes 1955, SS Atreus 1958, SS Pegasus & Hermes II 1960
Ships name and date obtained by Epirotiki Lines.
Welcome to a new feature covering the very early days of long established Epirotiki Lines purchasing second hand ships in order to enter a brand new market of operating a cruise service around the Greek Islands, which they were the very first to establish!
This is the second page and the Epirotiki feature and it contains details of four ships obtained between 1955 to 1960. Sadly I have very little to no interior details of the ships listed on this page, however should I locate brochures and deck plans of these in the future I will add them online, all being well! But, as you you will have seen on Page One and Page Three that there are ample photographs as well as comprehensive deck plans, and the same applies for the final three ships shown on Page Four!
trust that you will enjoy this feature for I was a friend of the late Mr.
George Potamianos for the last company he owned was “Classic
International Cruises” that had an amazing fleet of ships, on which I
sailed on a good number of times, such as the wonderful MV Funchal and the
amazing MV Athena! In fact I was to meet him in
SS Hermes I, ex SS Jupiter 1915:
1915, Lindholmens Shipyard in Gothenburg and the
2,511 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) SS Jupiter (II) was delivered to the Bergen Line
and she was twice the size of previous the ships on the Bergen to Newcastle
service. She remained on this service until the Jupiter was chartered by the
British Government in March 1918 at a cost of £30,000 per year, with a
replacement cost that was set at £200,000. She was to continue a service
Here we see a line drawing of a fine small ship, the SS Jupiter
1931 the Jupiter had a cooling system installed and facilities of the Third
Class were upgraded. Then in 1937 the Jupiter was to operate on the Fjord
WWII having arrived, the Nazis invaded
at the end of the war was the Jupiter was home in
An excellent photograph of the SS Jupiter seen in the early 1950s
from 1953 she operated on the more lucrative summer service from
It was on September 9, 1955 that Epirotiki Lines purchased her and duly renamed her “Hermes.” She was sent to a shipyard to be refitted into a cruise ship when completed Two of her forward decks below the Bridge were lengthened and her funnel top was rounded nicely and shortened a little and she was given the traditional Epirotiki livery, but the rest of her externally retained much as she was. Internally there had been many changes, but sadly I have not been able to find the details to date.
This is an early Epirotiki Postcard of the SS Hermes, although it was badly damaged
This is a very rare German Souvenir obtained on the wonderful SS Hermes, a decorative plate dated 1958
the ship doing very well sailing together with the Semiramis and the newly
acquired Atreus, Epirotiki decided to give the Hermes a comprehensive refit,
thus she was sent to
Sold to: Epirotiki Lines September 1955, renamed SS Hermes.
Call Sign’s: MSTR & LEBA.
Tonnage: 1. 2,511 as built – 915 Net.
. 2. 2,652 GRT as SS Hermes.
Engines: Triple Expansion Steam Engines by the builder. 3,000 BHP.
Speed: 15.5 Knots.
Passengers: 2. 170.
Fate: During a
. Broken up at
SS Atreus, ex SS Aalborghus & Frederikshavn 1914:
Of all the passengers ships in the Epirotiki fleet the SS Atreus is the oldest of their small cruise ships. Of course these ships were generally obtained as second hand tonnage, being small ships that were sturdy, mechanically sound and a worthwhile investment, thus these were all ships that Epirotiki were able to rebuild and refit into worthwhile and a comfortable cruise ships that offered the very best of food and service!
Here we see a very old photo of the D.F.D.S. coastal ship the SS Aalborghus as she was built in 1914
I am sorry for the quality, but photography in 1914 was not the best as yet!
SS Atreus was originally built in 1914 for “D.F.D.S” or “Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskap
Then on May 23, 1936 she entered the Elsinore Iron Ship & Machine Construction Company, to be completed rebuilt and when completed she was renamed; “Frederikshavn.”
Here we see the just rebuilt and renamed SS Frederikshavn, and a very smart looking ship whilst in port
years later, in 1946 she was placed on a new service and she commenced
1958, at the age of 44 years the company decided to sell her and Epirotiki
Lines realised that she was a solid and a very sound ship, when she arrived in
Piraeus she was given a comprehensive refit and a partial rebuild making her
suitable for cruise duties. She offered accommodations for around 464
passengers in twin bedded cabins most of which were convertible into day rooms
as the beds folded away and became sofas. However some cabins had one or two
Above & below: SS Atreus commenced her days having been modernised but still with a black hull
Epirotiki worked so closely in conjunction with the “Hellenic National
Tourist” Office and operated various round cruises to the
An Epirotiki Brochure containing fares for SS Atreus
The SS Atreus became Epirotiki Lines very first Passenger Cruise ship that had facilities to transport a good number of passenger cars, but she was essentially a cruise ship. She proved to be very popular indeed and operated a service that connected with three other ships, should passengers extend their voyages. The Atreus was greatly loved and thus very soon she was given a further refit as well as a livery change featuring Epirotiki Lines traditional colours.
Here is a new Epirotiki postcard of the SS Atreus after her refit and she is finally sailing in the Epirotiki livery
This is a cup used onboard the SS Atreus in the 1960s
SS Atreus continued on her services for a total of ten years, but in 1968 it was decided by Epirotiki Lines that with their newer acquisitions that regrettably, this delightful, but aging ship required to be retired and therefore she was laid up in the Bay of Piraeus and placed on the market. However, as time went by there were no buyers for the old girl, thus sadly she was finally sold to an Italian ship breaker who took her to La Spezia in 1970 where she was duly broken up, aged a respectable 56 years.
1. SS Aalborghus - 2. SS Atreus Specifications:
& Wain Shipbuilding,
Yard No: 296.
Keel laid down: December 6, 1913.
Launched: April 3, 1913.
Completed: June 4, 1914.
Tonnage: 1. 1,478.
. 2. 1,554.
Length: 77.6m - 254.6ft.
Beam: 11.8m 38.7ft.
Draught: 7.5m - 24.8ft.
Engines: B&W triple expansion steam engines, 1,750 BHP.
Speed: 13.5 knots.
Passengers: 1. 142 First, 94 Second Class & 250 deck passengers.
. 2. 464 One Class - SS Atreus.
Crew: 1. 38.
. 2. 170.
SS Pegasus and Hermes II, ex SS Princess Elizabeth & Princess Joan 1930:
The SS Pegasus seen in her later years
Part One - The SS Princess Elizabeth and Princess Joan:
Hermes II were built as two “Canadian Pacific Railway Company” (CP)
ships, the SS Princess Elizabeth and Princess Joan, both being passenger car
ferries, which were completed in 1930. Their original builders were Fairfield
Shipbuilders of Govan (Glasgow) and they operated a service between
Here we one of Canadian Pacific’s three funnel ships, the SS Princess Joan
A close up of these fine and well built ships, for they may be ferries, but they certainly stood out in a crowd!
SS Pegasus & Hermes:
These two identical ships were built with three funnels, but when both ships were purchased by Epirotiki Lines in 1960 they were given an extensive refit and partial rebuild. The SS Princess Elizabeth was renamed the “Pegasus” and SS Princess Joan became the “Hermes II.” Upon completion their three funnels had gone and one larger, but shorter funnel had replaced them and although these two ships were externally identical in appearance, however internally they had completely different layouts.
SS Pegasus is seen here in her early days as a Passenger Car Ferry, and did not look as good as she did in the past
Pegasus having had a further refit is looking better; she is seen arriving in
Both ships retained the large garage for cars that entered through large side doors in the side of the hulls, which can be clearly seen on the ships photographs. Both The SS Pegasus and the Hermes II commenced service in 1961.
Here we see that she had SS Hermes II being the name on her bow, but she was marketed just as the “SS Hermes”
as Three Class ships, operating the lucrative Passenger Car Ferry service
The SS Pegasus is seen during one of her cruises
in the seventies both the Pegasus and Hermes spent time as accommodation ships
1. SS Princess Elizabeth & 2. Princess Joan Specifications:
1. CP - 2. Epirotiki.
Built at: Fairfield
Shipbuilders & Engineering Co.,
Yard: 1. 638.
. 2. 639.
Launched: 1. January 15, 1930.
. 2. February 4, 1930.
Length: 107.70m – 353.3ft.
Breadth: 15.87m – 52.1ft.
Draught: 7.67m - 25ft.
Tonnage: 5,251 GRT, 3,023 Net, 772 Dwt.
Engines: Quadruple-Expansion Steam Engines, by the builder 3,600 BHP.
Speed: 16.5 knots.
Passengers: 1. 1,000 berthed and seated.
. 2. 180 First Class, 140 Cabin Class & 150 Tourist Class.
Here we see Mr. Giorgos Potamianos standing in front of the SS Atreus, being the
second ship obtained in the new passenger fleet purchased in the 1950s and the 1960s
Page One … MV Semiramis the first ship!
Page One B … MV Semiramis Deck Plan.
Page Two … The Early Ships - SS Hermes, Atreus, Pegasus & Hermes II.
Page Three … MS Argonaut.
Page Three B … MS Argonaut Deck Plan.
Page Four … MTS Jason.
Page Four B … MTS Jason, later MS Ocean Odyssey - Deck Plans.
Page Five … MTS Orpheus II.
Page Six … MTS Apollon II.
Page Six B … MTS Orpheus II & Apollon II - Deck Plans. “
“Blue Water Liners
sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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