MS Tahitien of 1953 becomes the MS Atalante in 1972 until 20014
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The famed French shipping Company “Messageries Maritimes” constructed two delightful and identical Passenger-Cargo liners, the MS Calédonien and the Tahitien, which were completed in 1952 and 1953 respectively.
Tahitien seen in
Photograph is by and © Captain Charles-Protat; used with grateful thanks
These amazing ships were designed for comfort
as they would operate regular voyages, sailing via the
The Calédonien was sold to a Greek Car
carrier company in March 1972, and she was converted with doors in her hull and
garages installed in her holds, and she was renamed “
Without a doubt the Tahitien was by far the more fortunate ship of the two, for she was also sold to a Greek Shipping Company in 1972, but one that was a strong and a financially sound company by the name of “Aphrodite Cruises”, which later became the “Mediterranean Sun Lines”. She was renamed the “Atalante” and she was extensively refitted in Greece, which saw her cargo holds being filled with cabin accommodation and a car deck being added. Thankfully a great deal of her beautiful original French architecture and décor remained unchanged, giving her an elegant look, although her furnishings were all updated, especially all the cabin’s. In addition her aft mainmast was removed as were all her kingposts and derricks, as the cargo holds were no longer in use. This provided the Atalante with a great deal of additional usable deck space, and on her aft deck she now had new larger swimming pool, thus the ship now had two swimming pools.
excellent aerial postcard of the
A stern view of the MS Atalante
Her new role was to be a “low fare” Mediterranean cruise ship, for which she became relatively popular for the next nineteen years.
However, she was further refitted a number of times including in 1978, allowing her facilities and accommodations to be constantly improved.
After the famed “Epirotiki Lines” MS Oceanos (also an ex “Messageries Maritimes” ship) had tragically sunk in 1991, the Atalante was chartered by Epirotiki in mid 1991, for the period of twelve months, and she would operate for them as the “Homericus.”
This is a colourised image to show her as the Homericus
A year later she was returned and her name was reverted to Atalante in 1992, however “Mediterranean Sun Lines” decided to lay her up rather than return her to service, and they immediately placed her on the market.
Later in 1992, the Atalante was purchased by
the Cypriot owned “Paradise Cruises” who sent her to a Greek shipyard at Perama (a port City and Suburb
The only sad thing for those who the fine traditional fittings of the Tahitien, it was sad that most of it vanished, thankfully there were several exceptions. The portside located “The Pub” remained mostly unchanged, except for some soft furnishing changes, but the beautiful timber work remained intact! Whilst on the opposite side (starboard) where the writing once was and it now being an intimate Casino the original timberwork still adorned the walls.
Also on original First Class Main Stairwell the large painting that has been a main feature there since 1953, thankfully survived, even though the magnificent beautiful timber work was sadly been painted over in white. Photographs of “The Pub” and the “Casino” and the rest of the ship are located in the ships Photo Album at the conclusion of her history.
And here is the stairwell with the famed original painting from the MS Tahitien days!
But this amazing costly and massive rebuild of the Atalante ensured that this fine old ship would sail on for many successful years of cruising into the future.
An official Paradise Cruises postcard of their new MS Atalante
Upon completion in 1993, she certainly looked more like a cruise ship and she was returned to service as a full time cruise ship, and her operation was extremely successful and continued very well financially until her very last days.
Here we see the MS Atalante as she heads off on another cruise
The Atalante remained a popular and a
successful ship which was mostly thanks to her Cypriot owners who continued a
special lifestyle on board as well as operating her on a low fare basis. All
other ships cruising the
However something strange occurred in mid
2004, for scrap metal prices had suddenly skyrocketed, and with Paradise
Cruises being well aware that the
lonely looking ship the Atalante is seen at Limassol late in 2004, awaiting her
voyage to the Alang breakers yard in
The Atalante finally departed for
Please Note: Specifications for the Paradise Cruises MS Atalante is located at the bottom of this Page
MS Atalante Photo Album
MS Atalante is seen berthed at
MS Atalante facilities include the Atalante Club & Showroom, a Nightclub & Disco, four Bars including The Pub, being part of the original MS Tahitien, a Casino and of course a Shopping Arcade and a traditional fully glass enclosed Promenade Deck. Whilst outside, there was ample deck space for the sports minded, with there being facilities for deck quoits’ and deck tennis, and of course shuffle board and so much more. There were deck chairs galore as well as tables and chairs for having a drink being served from the ever nearby bar. Not to forget the two swimming pools, one was up on Aeolos Deck, the larger pol one deck down ut further aft on Apollo Deck. The MS Atalante had seven decks available to her passengers.
For passengers this deck has as a spacious promenade, and a good place to sit in a sun lounge and watch the sea go by and relax and read a book, or chat with new found friends, etc. The only other facility as passenger might call on is the Radio Room located inside. But one of the most vital parts of the ship is located far forward and that is the Bridge, and during the voyage, often passengers are invited to visit.
An excellent view of the Bridge sent in by a past passenger
This is the Promenade Deck of the ship with the main public venues. Three of these originally existed when built, but tye new show room far forward was added when she was rebuilt in 1992/93. Aft out on deck was the original first class pool, and when the was originally ship built and it was the ships only pool, although there was a small above deck pool for third class.
The “Atalante Club Lounge” and Showroom looking forward
And this is a view of the “Atalante Club Lounge” looking aft with a view of the Bar
Thankfully “The Pub” retained all of MS Tahitien’s original fittings, providing a look in traditional ocean travel
A typical promotional photograph taken in “The Pub” which was located on the portside
Like “The Pub”, the Casino also retained the superb timber work on its walls
Anather promotional Photograph taken in the Casino, which was located on the starboard side
deck had an excellent fully
Far aft of the superstructure was the Dionysos Bar and the Swimming Pool
this photo was taken from Boat Deck and topside we can see Sun Deck
This deck was mostly occupied with cabins, although the cruise directors’ office was located on the starboard side just forward of the main stairwell and the doctor’s Clinic further aft on the portside. Whilst out on the spacious aft deck is the outdoor Galaxy Bar which serviced the larger of the ships two Pool.
Here we see the Galaxy Bar forward and the aft Swimming Pool
All these decks essentially contained accommodations
Main Lobby and Stairwell
Hermes Deck besides the accommodations was still a very busy place, as far forward on this deck was the Shopping Gallery, which included; a Jewellery, Duty Free, Clothing, Souvenir and Photo Shops. Amidships in the Main Entrance Hall and Stairwell was the Information Desk, as well as the offices for the Purser and the Chief Steward. The main venue aft was the large Venus Dining Room.
Pursers Office & Lobby
A promotional photograph of guests ready to enjoy a great meal
Obviously The Atalante had a vast variety of accommodations available with three deluxe Suites located on Apollo Deck, deluxe Twin Bedded Staterooms, Outside as well as Inside Twin bedded cabins, 2 berth cabins, some having a third upper Pullman, and Outside or Inside 2, 3,or 4 berth cabins.
Here we see one of the three deluxe Suites located on Apollo Deck
This is a Deluxe Twin Stateroom
A Standard Outside Twin bedded cabin - Inside Twins are identical but instead a window there is a large mirror
Standard Outside 2/3/4 Berth Cabin, again inside have a mirror
MS Atalante’s Sad Demise:
Sadly with the ship now being over a half century old, yet with her still being not just beautiful looking, but she was in excellent condition, this made the MS Atalante worth far more that to continue operating her, and this was mostly due to the sky high scrap metal prices at that time!
Therefore in mid 2004, Paradise Cruises made a decision with great sadness to sell the Atalante to an Indian breaker. Although she remained laid up in Limassol to the end of 2004, she finally sailed to under her own power and when she arrived at Alang, she was dragged up the beach where this magnificent ship, the MS Tahitien and Atalante was eventually broken up by around July/August 2005. This was the sad end of what was once an amazing French Passenger-Cargo Liner for 20 years, and later to become a greatly loved Mediterranean Cruise ship for 31 years!
Atalante is seen laid up at Limassol, awaiting her departure for the breakers
yard in Alang
Specifications for Atalante:
Length: 167.3m / 549ft
Width: 20.6m / 67.6ft
Draft: 7.9m / 25.9ft
Engines: Two ten cylinder Creusot B&W diesels;
Screws: Twin screws
Speed: 17 knots
Passengers: 484 twin – 635 all berths
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