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Please note: All images are from the author’s private collection, unless stated otherwise.
Introduction to two Great Italian Liners.
MS Augustus is the identical sister to the MS
Giulio Cesare, which were built for “
Design wise they were revolutionary indeed, although built as three class liners, each class had their own swimming pool and they had some of the finest passenger facilities at sea of their days. It was said that Tourist Class, which was the ships third class, was as good as most Cabin Class (second class) on most Trans-Atlantic liners, if not as good as some First Class on certain ships! Some of the greatest architects and designers were used to create an ambience that was not just elegant, but besides being Italian, there were even touches of Scandinavian influences on board, and all provided an atmosphere that was a delight to the senses in every possible way! These ships were beyond beautiful and both ships offered the ultimate in Ocean going travel with the MS Augustus sailing with Italia line for twenty four years before she was sold to an Asian based Company.
This feature was originally mostly about the MS Augustus, although it
did also cover her sister, but very much in a lesser role. I have now decided
to completely rewrite and update these pages, which came about due to the
tragic sale of the M/S Philippines, ex Augustus in September 2011, and her
departure under tow bound for Alang India, thus I felt the need to rewrite this
feature as well as that of her sister the MS Giulio Cesare and I believe that
she should also have a far greater role, even though she had a relatively short
life in comparison. I will now rectify this and you will discover that there
will be a brand new page covering this excellent ship with many new interior
photographs for this ship as well as the
However, I will once again commence with my beloved MS Augustus and I will commence with her beginnings!
An Italia Line postcard of the MS Augustus
Design and their beginnings.
After the end of World War II, the Italian Line lost many of their fleet including their two of their finest and most luxurious liners, such as the grand 51,062 ton SS Rex and the superb 48,502 ton SS Conte di Savoia, thus the Company quickly commenced to plan to build two revolutionary new 27,000 GRT liners to replace their lost ships. The two ships designs chosen that would become the MS Giulio Cesare and Augustus were to become the impression of power and of great beauty, being ships that had superbly rounded bows, beautifully curved superstructures, no mainmasts but just six kingposts and a slender tall radar mast atop their Bridge. In addition there was a rather large stately looking funnel, and a graceful stern. Although there were also a few strange and evocative items, such as the nape the aft of the funnel base, and that strange looking tall trademark “ventilator” located further aft of the funnel, that was given the nickname “Robot” due to its strange shape and the top looked like a robot’s head – see the photo above and it is quite clear.
The MS Augustus, like her sister had two 12 cylinder “FIAT” Diesel Engines, each of which had been built years earlier by “FIAT” but had been lying idle and it was reported that they were the largest of the “FIAT” type ever constructed. Each providing a service good 13,000 Horse Power (BHP), which drove her twin screws at a service speed of 21 knots. Both ships were designed to sail on the Italy-South America route, operating with three classes. Her interior was designed to have full air conditioning and as the Italia Line stated in 1954 about their new sister ships; “Our new ships have a lung of their own, hence they actually may be said to breathe. A complex system consisting of no less than forty units provides air-conditioning and this creates as it were a climatic zone of its own. Further more, a number of extractors secure a complete change of air 10/12 times an hour.” I have an Italia Line brochure that uses almost same quote in it, with a slight difference here and there.
Even though a three class ship, each had their own swimming pool and a superb range of lounges and dining facilities, all of a very high standard, therefore the Augustus and her sister soon became known more known as being luxurious floating palaces and they were the ultimate symbol of modern technology at sea as they were advanced in so many ways!
launching ceremony taking place with
Although the MS Augustus was slightly larger than her sister at 27,090 GRT (Gross Registered Tons), she had been built by one of the great Italian ship builders - Cantieri Riuniti dell’ Adriatico, at the San Marco shipyard located near Trieste, Italy in 1950 and she was officially named and launched on November 19 that year, by Mrs. Francesca De Gasperi, who was the wife of the Italian Prime Minister Mr. Alcide De Gasperi.
we see the
This is the back cover of a 1954 Italia Line brochure, the front cover is identical
but the back shows the date and details, thus why I used it
Although I have already described much of her exterior features above, however, I left out one of her features that in the early fifties was quite remarkable and these ships were pace setters in their days as they had bulbous bows and a very marked amount of tumblehome, the point of maximum beam being some 3ft below the waterline – see the launch photo above.
MS Augustus offered nine passenger decks – shown from topside and heading down: Sun Deck, Lido Deck, Boat Deck, Promenade Deck, Upper Deck, Foyer Deck, A Deck, B Deck, and C Deck. Below is a partial description of her layout.
Sun Deck, commencing forward is the Bridge followed by the chartroom, radio room, then near the funnel are the kennels as well as the famous “Robot” ventilator a little further aft. This area was all first class deck space.
Lido Deck, commences with a full-wrap around promenade, culminating aft with a delightful bar overlooking the first class swimming pool complete with changing rooms and showers. In addition there are also some officers’ quarters on this deck.
Boat Deck, here we find yet another promenade that opens into a wider expansion below the lifeboats running along both sides of the ship. Internally, forward is the First Class Belvedere Observation Lounge that was equipped with a panorama of windows overlooking the ship's bow. A reading room was continuing aft on the starboard side. This space's amidships was the first class writing room. The forward staircase's highest level was just aft with its burled panels and magnificent modern glass railings. Also, there was an elevator, linking the first class decks in this part of the ship. The deluxe suite facility started along port and aft passageways, to a small gymnasium, playroom, solarium, and message room on the starboard side.
Belvedere Observation Lounge
Located on the aft part of Boat Deck was the Cabin Class’ own pool, lido complete with a Bar.
Promenade Deck, commencing forward was one of the grandest of the First Class venues, but of course there is always the delightful glass enclosed First Class Promenade to look forward to. But inside, it all commenced with the magnificent and graceful Social Hall with its superbly curved panorama of windows and an aft bulkhead that highlighted sculptures and reliefs in bronze by Italian master artist “Mascherini.” In this salon, the ceiling accommodated an oval recess where the lighting was designed in a zodiac fashion. The forward stairwell and its lobby were decorated with sculptures by Mascherini, who had a major influence in the Social Hall!
First class portside glass enclosed promenade deck looking aft
Above and below: Two views of the grand Social Hall
I am aware that this second image is not of a great quality, but it does provide another aspect and that is why I decided to use it anyway
When I obtained t years ago it was obviously old but also rather damaged and in a very bad state, this is the cleaned version!
The delightful Mascherini inspired stairwell
The main lobby
The main lounge
Card and Games room
Children’s dining room
The main lounge
The dining room
The Chapel – this venue was open to all three classes
First Class: There was a vast range of accommodations available, space obviously the optimum in First Class and the ability to provide as much space per passenger as possible was well achieved both in the ships public rooms as well as her staterooms. She offered four elegant deluxe suites complete with private lounges and spacious bathrooms and every possible comfort imaginable. Other accommodations were either single bedded rooms or two bedded all with ocean views, and with private facilities and a telephone!
First Class two bedded Stateroom
First Class single cabin
Cabin (second) Class offered from single, two bed to four berth cabins. All had private facilities as well as a telephone, and remember phones in cabins were rather new on board ships and a novelty in those days.
Cabin Class four berth cabin
Tourist (third) Class offered from two to four berth cabins as well as some dormitories for migrants. There were no phones in Tourist cabins and all cabins and dormitories had shared facilities.
Tourist Class two berth cabin
sailing between Italia and Buenos Aires from 1952 through until early 1957, but
due to the loss of the SS Andrea Doria in 1956 as she sank due to a collision
with the indestructible MS Stockholm, the MS Giulio Cesare was placed on the
Genoa to New York service on June 29, 1956, and the MS Augustus followed with
her first voyage from Genoa to New York on February 7, 1957. The
gleaming white MS Augustus is seen here in
Photograph taken by
By 1964 Italia Line had decided that the ship was long due for a comprehensive refit and as the trend was heading toward two classes she was to have her Cabin and Tourist classes combined into a single class to be named Tourist Class. There were extensive modernisations throughout the ship as well as the Cabin and Tourist class dining rooms being merged into one larger venue able to cater for the greater numbers. Upon completion she would operate with a new capacity of 325 First and 858 Tourist Class passengers, although many cabins were interchangeable, the size in each class could vary from sailing to sailing.
However, the sad news was that the magnificent First Class Grand Social Hall was virtually ripped out during this renovation and it became an auditorium. The only part of the original venue that survived the destruction was the elegant oval ceiling recess complete with the constellation lighting. Her cabins and other lounger were all somewhat updated and modernised and when completed she returned to her regular duties on the South American service.
Even though the MS Augustus and her sister were still superb and luxurious liners, but the problem was now that they were slowly being overshadowed by their completion on the run, ships such as the famed SS Cristoforo Colombo and SS Leonardo Da Vinci. Then there where the brand new and ultra glamorous lines T/n Michelangelo, and T/n Raffaello. The point is that the Italian fleet had become one of the world finest and certainly one of the most beautiful and luxurious. In addition the Portuguese also had began to build some superb liners, although somewhat smaller in scale, but very upmarket and they were also gaining huge popularity with the well to do! But all these ships, except for the MS Augustus, and one of the Portuguese liners of the day then SS Funchal, that later became a motor-ship, are both still afloat, and the Funchal is assured to sail on for many years yet having just had a twelve month rebuild and refit in 2011/12, but sadly the ex Augustus had now been sold to the breakers in India. But all the other ships mentioned have long been scrapped or sunk.
continued to sail with Italia until she was laid up in
However, the MS Augustus awaited her fate in Naples, no one dared to think that she would last at least another good 36 years, and that she would end up for rest of her days in relative obscurity on the other side of the world, I Asia in fact.
MS Augustus details and specifications.
Names and all owners:
1 … 1952
2 … 1976 - 1980: Great Sea – Various HKG based Companies.
3 … 1980 - 1983: Ocean King.
4 … 1983
5 … 1985 - 1987: President.
6 … 1987 - 1999: Asian Princess.
7 … 1999
- 2011: M/S Philippines -
8 … 2011:
Sold to an undisclosed buyer & bound for the Indian Breakers at
Details and Specifications:
Yard Number: 1757.
Owner: Italia Line.
Launched: November 19, 1950.
Maiden Voyage: March 4, 1952.
Tonnage: 27,090 GRT.
Length: 681ft - (207m).
Beam: 87.2ft – (26.6m).
Draught: 28ft – (8.5m).
Engines: Two 12 cylinder “Fiat” Diesels 37,000 BHP.
Speed: Service speed 21 knots - max 23.35 knots.
Passengers: 178 First Class, 288, Cabin Class, 714 Tourist Class.
From 1964: 325 First Class and 858 Tourist Class.
1 … 1952 – 1957 – Genoa - Buenos Aires.
2 … 1957 - 1961 – Genoa - New York.
3 … 1961 - 1976 – Genoa - Buenos Aires.
Hong Kong and
Not long after her
layup she was sold to “Great Shipping Investments Ltd,” of
MS Great Sea
Great Sea Investments postcard – Author’s personal collection
In July 1977 she
was sent to
finally returned to sea as a real passenger ship, be it for just a short time,
for on July 3 1978, she departed for her first voyage to
MS Ocean King is
seen during her time sailing to
Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.
Soon this company
renamed her once again, this time the MS Philippines and her duties was to be a
floating hotel in
In 1985 she was
transferred to “Philippines President Lines Inc” and she was
renamed President, but was again laid up in
Then in 1997 she
was finally moved to
Seen in her last guise as the overflow hotel; ship M/S Philippines
Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.
Sadly over the past
5 years, the author has had the MS Augustus -
The M/S Philippines departed under tow bound for Alang India around 19 September 2011, however, it turns out that the tug broke down and the ship is in an undisclosed port (Colombo?) awaiting another tug to continue her journey. Whilst she was still in Manila, I have been told that her owner completely stripped her of her interiors and will most likely sell it online and believe me as he is Mr greed personified, it will be at extremely high prices as he is money hungry, thus BEWARE you will be taken for a ride and I do not a leisurely cruise either!
Final News Update: The
This is how we should always remember the beautiful MS Augustus!
Farewell our Grand Italian Dame, you certainly have served all who have sailed on you so well!
MS Augustus &
MS Augustus &
Page One … MS Augustus
Page Two … MS Giulio Cesare
Page Three … MS Giulio Cesare & Augustus - Photo Album
Page Four … M/S Philippines
Page Five … M/S Philippines – Photographs taken whilst for sale
Also Visit … SS Michelangelo & Raffaello Feature
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!
This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
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