Messageries Maritimes, Marseille; MS Calédonien and Tahitien of 1952/53

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer

Please Note: All ssmaritime as well as my other related maritime & cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960, but although retired and unwell, I occasionally attempt to write an article now and then, in order to bring enjoyment and pleasure to ship enthusiasts past passengers and crew.

 

 

Page One

Company Background in Short:

Messageries Maritimes was a well known French Shipping Company that originally began back in 1851 named “Messageries Nationales”, however sometime later it was renamed “Messageries imperials”. However in 1871, a new name was given again and it became “Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes”, which became better known as “MesMar” or simply by its initials of “M.M”.

The “Messageries Maritimes” House flag

The Companies white house flag contained red triangle corners with the letters M.M in black on a white background. This flag soon became well known and even famous in shipping circles on the Europe to Asia and Pacific trade lanes, and later to Sydney Australia as it final destination.

“Messageries Maritimes” established a service from France to Australia back in 1882, sailing via the Suez Canal however in 1920; it commenced a new service via the Suez Canal to Tahiti, Port Vila and Nouméa, however during WW2 this service was extended to Sydney Australia.

In relation to the company, in 1977 M.M merged with Compagnie Générale Transatlantique” to form “Compagnie Générale Maritime” (CGM). In 1996 CGM was privatized and sold to “Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement” (CMA).

Construction, Launching & Maiden Voyages:

“Messageries Maritimes” had been planning to build two new identical 12,000 GRT (Gross Registered Ton) passenger-cargo liners, and once all plans had been completed and interior decorators had been arranged contracts were signed with two shipyards.

The first of these would be constructed by “Ateliers et Chantiers de France” at Dunkirk in Yard No: 209 and this ship were to be delivered around August/September 1952. Whereas the second sister was built by another shipyard in Brest and she would be delivered early 1953.

1… MS Calédonien:

The Calédonien as stated above was built at a shipyard at Dunkirk, and when almost she was close to be completed she was officially named ‘Calédonien’ and launched by her godmother Mrs. Christian Pineau on April 26, 1952.

MS Calédonien having been named and launched she is seen sliding down the slipway

It is remarkable how complete she is, as usually ships are launched only half completed

From the Author’s private maritime collection

Once in the water and fully afloat, she was taken under tow and towed to her fit-out berth where she was completed, including a stint in dry-dock for a final painting of her hull, which would be done with her sister as well. Having undertaken her speed trials, she departed Dunkirk and she was delivered in September 1952 to her owner “Messageries Maritimes” (M.M) in Marseilles.

A brand new MS Calédonien is seen departing Dunkirk on her delivery voyage to Marseilles

From the Author’s private maritime collection

Upon arrival she was fully crewed and stocked, being made ready for her long first voyage to the Pacific and Australia. Once all preparations were completed cargo was loaded filling her six holds and on departure day her fist ever passengers boarded all being excited and looking forward to an exciting and a long voyage on this magnificent new ship.

With the two new ships under construction, M.M had prepared a special brochure featuring their two new rather glamorous new liners that would commence their duties in October 1952 and May 1953.

MS Calédonien departed on her maiden voyage on October 1, 1952, a voyage that would become her regular service sailing via the Atlantic, The Panama Canal the Pacific to Sydney Australia, and return, this being close to a three month voyage.

Here we see the MS Calédonien maiden arrival at Nouméa

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2 MS Tahitien:

MS Tahitien was contracted to be constructed by “Arsenal Dockyards” at Brest in Yard ME2.

A stern view of the Tahitien seen under construction on February 29, 1952

From the Author’s private maritime collection

When almost completed, she was official named ‘Tahitien’ and launched by her godmother, Mrs. André Colin on October 4, 1952, and she was towed to her fit-out berth for completion. Having been completed and having undertaken her speed trials successfully, she would undertake the long voyage sailing south along the coats of Spain and Portugal then south across the Straits of Gibraltar and then north again along the coats of Spain and France on the Mediterranean to Marseilles, where she was delivered to her M.M. Life her earlier sister, she was also made ready, being fully stocked and crewed and soon she was ready for departure.

MS Tahitien departed on her maiden voyage filled with happy passengers and a load of cargo bound for the Pacific and Australia on May 4, 1953.

MS Tahitien seen on one of her early voyages to Australia

From the Author’s private maritime collection

Passenger and other Facilities:

These ships were brilliantly designed passenger-cargo liners offering excellent passenger comforts and they accommodated 373 passengers. First Class accommodated 47 guests if using lower berths only, or 71 if all berths are used; whilst Tourist Class accommodated 84 guests using all berths; and Third Class accommodated 142 passengers.

However located far forward in the bow section, in the Lower Tweendeck was the Steerage section having some 76 berths, all located in dormitories with their facilities located directly above on upper Tweendeck. Although at one time there were large cabins, but at some stage these were changed to dormitories. Steerage was mostly used by the French Military during their various movements to and from Port Vila and Nouméa, or when they were not on board that Steerage would be occupied by emigrants from around Europe. Pending their numbers, they were permitted to use the Third Class Public Venues, such as the Smoking Room and decks, and that included their Dinning Room but possibly at a different time, but there is no information regarding this available.

In addition, these handsome ships carried a considerable amount of cargo in their six holds, which included refrigerated space.

Original itineraries for both ships were as follows:

These fine Passenger-Cargo liners guaranteed a return passage from Marseilles to the French Caribbean, Tahiti, Port Vila, Nouméa and Sydney, and return. The two ships paths would often cross in the Pacific or in the Panama Canal.

Itinerary from 1952/53:      

Marseilles (France), Funchal (Madeira), Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Cristobal (Panama), transit the Panama Canal, Tai-o-hae & Papéeté (Tahiti), Port Vila (New Hebrides, today’s “Vanuatu”), Nouméa (New Caledonia), Sydney (Australia), and return.

Polynesians still remember these fine ships arriving in Papéeté or Tai-o-hae and they always offered an extraordinary welcome to their passengers, which contributed greatly to Tahiti's renown.

MS Calédonien is seen arriving in Sydney Australia

From the Author’s private maritime collection

Interior & Exterior Comforts:

Both ships were beautifully fitted out and the three classes offered excellent facilities, with only air conditioning being available in the Dining Rooms, thankfully the majority of her Public venues opened up out to vast Promenade Decks, thus providing cooling air whenever necessary.

But what was so typical of most well built European grand liners and passengers-cargo ships of their day, Public venues tended to have lustrous dark woodwork and such beautiful deco-inspired furniture, murals and excellent fixtures, making each of the venues to be a delight to be in, and that was in all classes!

First and Tourist Class: Although their accommodations being located on different decks, First Class Staterooms were all located on C Deck, whilst Tourist Class Cabins were located on B Deck. It is noteworthy that the Main Entrance Hall for both First and Tourist Class is slightly forward of amidships on B deck, as is the Pursers office for both classes. In this spacious Lobby there was a magnificent Grand Stairwell that headed up to C and D Deck the later being Promenade Deck. In addition both the First and Tourist Class Main Dinning was located aft of the Tourist class accommodations. This does tell us something, Although this being the Tourist Class accommodation deck, and their cabins did not have private facilities or the glamorous fittings of First Class, but they did share the First Class Public Venues, as well as the spacious deck spaces and the Dinning Room! Whilst after the change, Third Class now had its own Public Venues and a spacious deck space, even with a small pool. But the above will be covered as I go down the decks below.

First and Tourist Class Public Facilities:

First class accommodations were located on first two decks of the superstructure with the public rooms and swimming pool on D (Promenade) Deck. Most were twin with some having an upper Pullman berth for a third guest. All First Class Staterooms were beautifully appointed and had windows as well as private facilities.

Tourist class Cabins were for two or four berths and like those in First Class, all were outside with a porthole but only share facilities, which were nearby.

But, let us now look at these fine ships on a Deck by Deck basis:

There is a full Deck Plan available on Page Two and if you click the link it should open on a new page. However, please Note that Boat Deck is not shown on the deck plan. In addition to this Plan, when describing each deck, at the bottom of the description and photographs there is a link to a full sized plan of that deck. It will open online, and it may at first open in a smaller size, but just click on it and it will expand to its full size!

For interest, all passenger facilities shown below have been sourced from a 1953 MS Tahitien black & white brochure, as well several images from a second colour brochure, these being from the author’s private maritime collection, whilst other photographs and images will be mentioned otherwise.

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The brochure cover and back cover with a partial map of the voyage showing the Pacific and the Tahitian Island’s

Boat Deck:

Far forward was the Bridge, but other wise Boat Deck simply provided excellent additional deck space being ideal for sport activities, such as walk a mile and shuffle board, etc.

D (Promenade) Deck:

Far forward was the full width Main Lounge was officially, named the ‘Smoking Room’, as a grand entrée there were large French glass double doors with beautiful decorative metal work at the bottom, and alcoves in the forward wall on both sides of the lounge each with a sofa, and featuring a beautiful mural filling the entire alcove! The venue was beautifully furnished, with windows at the sides and overlooking the forward decks and the ocean. The venue did have a piano, and a space for dancing. The Smoking Room was the ships largest lounge.

The Tahitien’s Main Lounge/Smoking Room

Heading aft was the Lobby with doors on both sides heading out to the ships spacious Promenade Deck, which had ample deck chairs and small tables, as passengers would enjoy their time there, especially in warmer climes, with steward service always at hand!

The almost amidships located Main Lobby was used by both First and Tourist Class passengers. Centred along the aft wall of the Lobby was the elegant timber Main Stairwell, which went down to C Deck (the location of all the First Class Stateroom) and B Deck (for all Tourist class Cabins).

MS Calédonien Main Lounge/Smoking Room

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Located just aft on the portside was the elegant Café - Bar, which had a friendly and a joyous atmosphere. The Bar located against the inner wall was superbly clad in lustrous timbers, and had eleven uptight barstools with round deep cushioned red velvet clad seats on the top. Alongside just forward was a five seat corner sofa and two comfortable lounge chairs clad in fine upholstery n a deep yellow in not a golden colour, as were all of the Bar’s furnishing. But above the corner sofa was a beautiful mural, as can be seen in the photographs, and the colours very much matched the theme of the venue. The floor was covered in a tile type carpeting of blue and grey, making this an amazing venue and obviously a popular place to meet your new found friends for a drink, or a good coffee!

   

Above & below: A black & white and a colour view of the delightful Café and Bar

 

From a later colour brochure from the author’s private maritime collection

Whilst on the starboard side, was a short hallway with this decks WC facilities, then large doors into a very traditional style, and a most elegant dark timbered Writing, Reading and Games Room. I am sure the photograph below will tell its own story, of its beautiful dark timbers, its superb sculpture on the wall and the large windows allowing brilliant light during the day!

Writing, reading and games room

The next venue is located aft of the superstructure and this was the spacious Swimming Pool Veranda Bar. This was a superbly furnished venue, with the bar located along the forward portside wall. On both sides and along the aft wall were large doors that opened up to the decks (see the deck plan). Aft was a large deck, ideal for sports, such as quoits. Towards the aft was the tiled Swimming Pool.

View D DECK - Deck Plan

C Deck:

Although this is the first class accommodation deck, but as I commence far forward, we find a glass enclosed area that also contains an interior venue for the Third Class, being their “Shelter” or Veranda Lounge. Directly aft of the Shelter/Veranda was a spacious open air deck space located forward of the ships main superstructure, with the Bridge and First Class lounge overlooking it.

This provides a view of the region where the shelter was, the forward upper row of windows, with the deck just aft

And directly below it those windows are of the Third Class Smoking Room, which I will come to later

Regarding the accommodations on this deck, there were a total of 30 First Class Staterooms on C Deck. Although officially it states that this class accommodates 71 passengers, however that is only when all berths are used, but the truth is, that on most voyages only the lower berths in the twin bedded cabins would be in use, and only when children were travelling would the Pullman berth be use, etc. Two berth cabins were frequently used as singles, although there was one only dedicated single Stateroom aboard. When lower berths were in use First Class would only accommodate 46 passengers, but when all berths were in use it would be 71.

The twin bedded, or three berth staterooms were reasonably spacious and was well furnished, with a desk, with a comfortable well upholstered chair, ample wardrobes and drawer space and each room had a good sized window for ample light and to allow fresh air when needed.

The twin bedded Staterooms offered double wash basins, whilst the two berth and single Staterooms had a singe basin, but all bathrooms had a shower, a WC as well as bidet. Beside the two berth and the single bedded Staterooms, there were four deluxe Studio Staterooms, which were superbly furnished in every respect, these had a divan bed, which became a sofa by day as well a bed that disappeared into the wall, thus the Studio would become a most attractive lounge during the day. In addition, they featured a higher standard of bathroom of course.

Here we see one of the four Studio staterooms

For passenger use, there were four bathrooms available with a full sized baths with there being two located forward and two slightly further aft. Some of the two berth cabins had connecting doors to the cabin next door, thus these could be booked together in order to make it a two room stateroom, with one as a lounge, as well as having two bath rooms, alternatively, use the additional room for family members. The same option applied in Tourist Class.

The hairdresser was located forward on the portside in the midsection of the ship, with the Main Lobby with the Grand Stairwell going up to D Deck as well as down to B Deck, I will explain why First Class would go down to the Tourist Class section, but they would this daily, for a number of reasons!

Salon de Coiffure / Hairdressing Salon

Located on the portside at the aft stairwell and lobby was the Doctor’s surgery and dispensary, and just slightly aft of that on the interior was an ironing room for the use of passengers. Whilst far aft on the starboard side, was the “Children’s Playroom” and deck space.

The Children’s Play and activities room, with an open deck space located aft, but it was net enclosed for safety

 

   View C DECK - Deck Plan

B Deck:

Although this is the Tourist Class Deck space, however, there is much more going happening on this deck, than just Tourist Class.

Let me commence by heading far forward of the ship into bow section, for there on the portside were the bathing and toilet facilities for the Steerage Class, which were berthed two decks below on Lower Tween Deck.

Directly aft of this outside is a huge deck space which is officially designated as the Third Class Promenade and it even has a small pool. However, Third Class passengers and Steerage would share their decks spaces, including the Smoking Room, Shelter/Veranda and deck space up on C Deck, pending the numbers in steerage.

Far forward of the lower superstructure was the original Tourist Class Lounge come Smoking Room with a long Bar in the middle on the forward wall. However, on the later Deck Plan, it is listed as being the Third Class Smoking Room, as obviously class configurations had changed.

This fine lounge spanned the full width of the ship and as we can see it is exceptionally well furnished, and travelling at a lower cost certainly does not mean poor facilities! If on occasion there were only a small number in Steerage, they would be permitted to visit this venue.

 

Above and below: two views of the original Tourist Class, but later the Third Class Smoking Room with its centred Bar

 

We now turn to the Tourist Class Cabins; on this deck there were seventeen four berth cabins and eight (connecting) two berth cabins, making a total of 84 passengers utilising all berths, although there would generally be between 65 and 75 passengers per voyage, only occasionally would it be booked out.

All cabins were located on the outside and thus had an opening porthole, for light and fresh air, as well as one or two wash basins. In addition First and Tourist class cabins also had a phone and passengers of these classes could call any fellow guests or the office, etc. All cabins had share facilities and ample baths, showers and WC’s were located just forward of the Pursers office of the Main Lobby. At the Main Entrance Hall the Pursers Office was located, but also the Tourist Class Ironing Room was located on the portside.

Tourist Class two berth Cabin Number 209 starboard side, just forward of the main Entrance Hall

We now head aft of the cabins and we arrive at one of the most magnificent venues on the ships, and that is the Main Dinning Room, which was fully air-conditioned. The venues décor was sublimely elegant with a ceiling having inlaid lighting effects, as well as a variety of the lights. Large murals adorned the side walls next to the two grand entrances, and the venue had large windows, with sheer curtains as well as delicate but colourful draped for the evening. The Dinning Rooms was carefully furnishes in hues of green, with maple furnishings, together with the art and the delicate wall décor the venue was a delight in every sense of the word!

But you may ask, why is it located aft of the Tourist Class cabins? Well I did indicate earlier that First and Tourist Class, although they had their own sleeping areas located on separate decks, they did share their Public Venues, Decks as well as the Dinning Room. If you will look at the Deck Plan, you will note that the Galley clearly shows “First and Tourist Class Galley.” The Dinning Room was able to seat around 84 passengers, and as there would be two sittings, every one could easily be accommodated. I would assume however that in the evening Tourist Class would dine first, followed by a more relaxed meal by the First class passengers. For interest, First Class passengers would reach the Dinning Room via the stairs per their aft Lobby, but if preferred, they could also use the forward Stairwell and walk past the Tourist cabins aft to the Dinning Room.

 

Above & below: two fine photographs of the elegant First & Tourist Class Dining Room

 

From a later colour brochure from the author’s private maritime collection

 

View B DECK - Deck Plan

A Deck:

We have now reached were the Third Class Cabins are located, and once again all cabins are outside and have a porthole, with all having share facilities. Cabins range from simple but adequate two, four, six and eight berth cabins, having sufficient cupboard space and drawers, with all having one or two wash basins. There was an Ironing Room located forward on the portside. The stairs to the Dinning Room was aft and located Port and starboard and the dining room was one deck down, In addition the Third and Steerage Main Entrance Hall was located far aft on A deck of the cabin section, and on the portside there was an Information Desk.

View A DECK - Deck Plan

Lower Tweendeck:

As can be seen on the Deck Plan this Steerage section is located far forward of the ship in the bow section, with a large dormitory, that contained stacked bunks for up to 122 servicemen. Occasionally, this area was also used by emigrants heading to a new home, and the dormitory would be separated into two separate venues, male and female. As we have seen earlier their facilities is located above on Upper Tween Deck, as well as their open deck areas. Although their and the Third Class Dinning Room is located slightly further aft of hold number 3, it could only be reached by taking the forward stairs located in the Dormitory, and head down to A Deck and head far aft and take the stair either on the starboard or portside up to the Dinning room and Bar, as this venue during certain times between meals was used as a lounge and Bar for the Steerage travellers, as there was simply not sufficient space in the Smoking Room. The dinning Room was capable of seating 161 passengers, thus it could seat all Tourist Class and Steerage in two sittings. The venue was certainly nothing like the other dinning Room on Board, as it was a very plain and simple venue, with little to no décor whatsoever. It was all based on making it a light and bright space, and having a touch of colour here and there, amazingly the floor was carpeted. In the photo below you can see the bar on the left, which runs along the wall of the portside stairs up.

The Third Class and Steerage Dinning Room and Bar

 

View LOWER TWEENDECK - Deck Plan

 

********************************

A slightly later brochure containing colour interior photographs shown in the interior section

From the author’s private maritime collection

In 1956 the Itinerary had been changed as follows: Marseilles, Algiers, Madeira (optional), Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort de France, Cristobal, transit the Panama Canal, Tai-o-hae, Papéeté, Port Vila, Nouméa, Sydney, and return.

MS Calédonien story;

A fine colour photograph of the MS Calédonien, obviously with a low load of cargo

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It is recorded that in August 1956, General de Gaulle boarded the MS Calédonien and he occupied a Studio Stateroom as he sailed from Fort de France (Martinique) to Nouméa (New Caledonia). It is said that he greatly enjoyed the voyage and excellent cuisine, etc!

Changes to both ships: 

Then in 1963 M.M decided to give the two ships a refit as well as certain modifications to parts of the Third Class accommodations and increasing Steerage numbers. Their black funnels would now also feature the company house flag.

MS Tahitien seen in Tahiti after her refit with the M.M new house flag clearly showing on her funnel

Photograph is by and © Captain Charles-Protat; used with grateful thanks

A fire on the MS Tahitien in 1969;

On May 12, 1969, whilst the MS Tahitien was on her was from the Panama Canal to Tahiti, she suddenly suffered an engine room fire, which disabled her. Thankfully, the 7,474 Ton M.M freighter, the MS Marquisien thankfully was close by and she came to the Tahitien’s assistance and took her under tow and she towed her back to Balboa where she arrived on May 19. Here she was inspected, however repairs proved to be to severe, thus it was decided to have her towed back home to France, and MS Marquisien was chosen to tow the crippled liner across the Atlantic back to Marseilles, where she arrived on August 31, 1969.

The M.M freighter MS Marquisien

From the author’s private maritime collection

As repairs would take at least three months, it was decided that M.M’s 13,217 Ton 347 passenger MS Camboge would fill in for the Tahitien and complete a single return voyage to Australia.

MS Calédonien is seen arriving in Sydney and she also has the house flag on her funnel

Photograph is by, and with thanks & is © by Michel Caracatzanis

As this service really required three ships to operate a regular service, during their earlier days they had three ships separate operate with them, these were; 1. The 9,400 ton MS Changchow, the  9,900 ton MS Melanesien, and finally the 10,278 ton MS Oceanien, which operated from 1963 to her final departure from Sydney on May 24, 1966.

A postcard of the Oceanien seen as built as the Holland America Line MS Noordam in 1938

From the authors private maritime collection

Their Final Days:

Amazingly, the MS Calédonien and her sister the Tahitien were amongst the very last of the genuine working cargo-passenger ships operating long sea liner voyages until they were eventually completely taken over by the Jet age, as most ships had by then already long been sold off. These two fine ships lasted long on these long haul services longer that most other passenger-cargo liners on this type of service, but their time was about to come to an end.

The two excellent photographs below were taken by Jean-Michel Lanuque from aboard the Tahitien of the Calédonien as she passed in the opposite direction through the Pedro-Miguel” locks in the Panama Canal in 1971. Sadly, both ships were on their very last ever voyage under the M.M flag. The Tahitien was on her way to Australia and the Calédonien was returning to Marseilles.

 

The two photographs above are by & © Jean-Michel Lanuque

The MS Calédonien had departed Sydney for her very last time on July 9, 1971, and she arrived in Marseille on September 2. The Tahitien was the last to depart Sydney for her very last M.M voyage home to Marseille, which was on September 14 1971. On their return to Marseilles they were docked together, one in front of the other awaiting to be sold.

Below their specifications, I will add details of their sale and their futures.

******************************** 

Details & Specifications 1. MS Calédonien II & 2. MS Tahitien II 1952 & 1953:

Builder:                                  1. A et Ch de France, Dunkirk.

Yard:                                     209.

Launched:                              1. April 26, 1952.                          

Maiden Voyage:                       October 1, 1952.

Builder:                                  2. Arsenalde Brest.

Yard:                                     ME2.

Launched:                              2. October 4, 1952.

Maiden Voyage:                       May 4, 1953.

Tonnage:                                1. 12,712 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

.                                          8,444 DWT (Deadweight).

.                                          17,500 DPL (Displacement).

Tonnage:                                2. 12,613 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

.                                          9,350 DWT (Deadweight).

.                                          17,500 DPL (Displacement).

Both Ships:

Length:                                  548 ft - 167.35 m.

Width:                                   67.6 ft - 20.60 m.

Draft:                                    25.5 ft - 7.80 m.

Propulsion:                             2 Burmeister & Wain 2-stroke diesel 10-cylinder injection engines.

Power                                    11,900 HP.         

Speed:                                   17 Knots, 19.7 knots maximum.

Propellers:                              Twin screws.

Accommodations:                    First Class 71; Tourist 84; Third 142; Steerage 76*.

1963:                                    First 71; Second 84; Tourist Third 86; Steerage 122*.

*Dormitories/larger cabins:      These were mostly occupied by soldiers heading to do their military service in Tahiti or Nouméa, or emigrants.

Cargo:                                   Six Holds, with a capacity of 14,000 m3, including 86 m3 of refrigerated space

MS Calédonien sold to a Greek Shipping Line:

On March 17, 1972 MS Calédonien was sold to Greek “Efthymiadis Line” who renamed her “Nissos Kypros” and registered her in Panama. She was refitted as a Car Ferry with large doors fitted in her side, and her holds were converted to garages. Having been completed, it was on June 10, 1972 she commenced her new service between Piraeus and Cypress. However not much later the company decided to Anglicize her name and she now became the “Island of Cyprus” and she was re-registered under a Cypriot flag. However this did not bring them any luck, for several months later the company went bankrupt, and all their ships had to be laid up!

In 1974 she was re-registered by her administrators and she was placed under the Greek flag, but she remained in lay-up until being sold in 1975 to a Taiwanese ship breaker. But even then it took a long time before she was able to head to Kaohsiung in Taiwan and the ship breaker’s yards. Having finally arrived she was broken up in 1977. A sad end for a magnificent French Liners who had served her country and countless travellers so well!

MS Tahitian also sold to a Greek Cruise Company:

Thankfully the Tahitien was far more fortunate than her sister, for she was also sold in 1972 to “Mediterranean Sun Lines” (MSL), and she operated as a cruise ship until resold later to “Paradise Cruises and in total she cruised on for a total of 32 years under the name of MS Atalante.

An aerial view of the MS Atalante as she looked under MSL ownership

From the authors private maritime collection

However, you will find her story on Page Three covering her in her two new guises, and I am sure that you will find it very interesting, as she had a very successful life!

Links to Page Two for the MS Calédonien and Tahitien’s Deck Plan and Page Three for two MS Atalante pages can be found below “Remembering Two Fine French Liners”.

Remembering Two Fine French Liners

An excellent water colour of these much loved ships by & © Captain Benoit Donne

 

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Enter Page Two the Calédonien & Tahitien complete Five Deck Plan

 

Enter the Page Three the MS Atalante Pages

 

Also visit the MS Polynesie a small 36 passenger ship based in Sydney

visiting Noumea, Port Vila and Espiritu Santo

 

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