Ellinis, Fairsea

Postcards from CruiseCritic friend Lesley. Thanks Lesley!

Chandris liner Ellinis circa 1971.

This one makes a lovely match to another postcard I have of Ellinis here: https://blog.neilennis.com/index.php/arriving-in-oz/

The “X” on the funnels is a greek “Chi” and stands for “Chandris” – she was part of the Chandris line.

This was the ship that my family migrated to Australia aboard in 1965. She carried many migrants to Australia in her time.

Built in 1932, she was originally named “Lurline” of the Matson line, and had distinguished herself during WW2 serving as a troop carrier, and was fortunate to have left Pearl Harbour in 1941 about 3 days prior to the Japanese attack.

Former Australian PM John Curtin sailed on her as part of a voyage to meet with President Roosevelt.

She was scrapped in the 1980’s and parts of her were cannibalized for use on “Britanis” another Chandris ship.

She may not be as pretty as some of the more modern ships, but with a history of over 50 years she touched the lives of many people who, todoay, would probably never have had the chance to cruise.


Sitmar liner Fairsea.
You can read a more detailed history of Sitmar ships here: http://www.prijt-priet.nl/htm/fairsea.htm

Fairsea was built in 1941, and originally named “Rio de la Plato”. She was taken over by the Royal Navy in 1941, renamed “HMS Charger” and fitted out as an aircraft carrier. She was later handed over to the US Navy who renamed her “USS Charger” after which she spent most of her war service in the Pacific.

Purchased by Alvion Steam Ship Corporation in 1949, she was converted into a Passenger Liner, and renamed “Fairsea”, and operated as a Passenger Liner and Cruise Ship until 1969 when she was eventually broken up for scrap.

19 Replies to “Ellinis, Fairsea”

  1. I was on this ship in 1968 from Southhampton to Melbourne, did not know that the ship had so much history.

  2. hy my sister sailed on the ellinis in 1966 from wellington new zealand to england she worked over there she returned home on the ellinis to new zealand in 1968 she she loved the ship she met a lovely man out of a band he played for dennis vernardakis and his seniors his name was sakis do you have any pictures of that band my sister has such fond memorys of the ship she she was beautiful ship and the crew were awsome if you do have any imformation could you send it to my email address

  3. dose any one no sakis last name who played in dennis vernardakis and his seniors band on the ellinis in september and october 1966

  4. sorry i got the wrong year my sister sailed back on the ellinis from south hampton fom england to new zealand in september the 8th to october the 1st 1966 it was voyage number sixteen thats when my sister sylvia met sakis out of the dennis vernardakis and his seniors band

  5. Was at sea with the Ship, also I was member of Vlasof Club, anybody to get back in contact or found new one?

  6. I sailed from Auckland to Southampton 1972 Oct /Nov, if I remember correctly it took a month and 3 days.
    I leant to swim onboard, had lunch in NY with family, who where living there at the time.
    Going through the Panama Canal was a very memorable experience.
    A great ship for an 8 year old, my memories are still very vivid, my brother and I used to chase the tea trolley around the various decks to enjoy more than our fair share of biscuits! We were a family of 7, my 2 year sister with very red curly hair and twin sisters only 6 months old, along with our parents who were looking for an adventure and return to their birth place.
    We are now all spread between the UK and NZ,

  7. Hi, I worked on the Ellenis x 2 round trips Southampton to Australia return. I am Australian and lived in NSW so when the ship came in to Sydney my family came to look it over. Cannot remember the year? but it must have been between 1972-1976. We were RNS x 4 and Doctors x 2. I remember we had to change course on the second trip and head South to go to the aid of a crew member on a merchant ship. It was very scary as he had to be transferred on a rescue sling and this could have become a catastrophe. The sea was extremely rough. It must have been around 3am when we reached them and All the passengers stayed up all night to see the rescue. I can remember all he cheering and clapping that occurred when the young man was pulled aboard, straight to surgery for removal of ruptured appendix.
    I admit my memory of dates/times is hazy but it was an exciting time as we continued down and through the Straights of Magellan which is a place I didn’t expect to visit.I hope this message reaches someone who was on the ship at the same time as I.

  8. I think this was the ship I sailed from Southampton UK to NYC via Cherbourg in July or August of 1970. I was returning from studying in Germany. I believe the fare was 120 USD!! I recall it was bout a 7 day passage. I didn’t realize then that it was possibly headed for the Pacific Ocean after NYC

  9. Sailed to Australia on this ship in 1966 with my parents and brother. I was only a little girl aged 6.

  10. I sailed on the Ellinis from Wellington to New York. Spent 6 months in USA then went from New York to Southhampton. This was in 1970, such wonderful memories. ⛱⛱

  11. I sailed on the Ellinis from Southhampton to Melbourne, over Xmas 1971. My family were ten pound poms and I was only just seven years old. I remember so much about this lovely ship and the trip itself, even today. It’s so sad how she ended up.

  12. On June 1st 1965, my father sailed on HMS Ellinis from Southampton to Sydney as a ten pound Pom. I’m wondering whether anyone knows what route would have been taken please and what onboard entertainment would have been like then, eg were there shows etc? Was food included as part of the fare like today on cruise ships? And were trips arranged when the ship docked at ports?

  13. Hi Kathy
    My family were Ten Pound Poms who arrived in Australia on Ellinis in May 65. We were on the ship one trip before you.
    I was three years old at the time.
    My parents tell me the ship sailed from Southampton on 2 March 1965 and arrived in Brisbane on 3 May 1965, traveling via Athens, Aiden, Colombo, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
    Hope this helps.
    Some photos here:

  14. I sailed on this ship in 1966 to Australia with my parents l was the age of 8years old we arivide in perth my name was Stephen Carl Cooke my farther was john Brian cooke and mother was Doreen Margaret cooke all l know it was a beutyiful trip from the uk to austrailia

  15. Hi, I sailed on the Ellinis in 1972 as a young 20 year old. Left Hawick in Roxburghshire, Scotland bound for Australia. I think we left Southampton on 23 December. I travelled with another Hawick lass, Margaret Hunter. An awesome trip particularly as we rounded the Cape of Good Hope, it was snowing, seas were massive and you had to fend for yourself as all onboard were unable to care for anyone. I’m 67 now and haven’t forgotten that trip. Arnold Schwarzenegger was onboard until he disembarked at Cape Town. Frank Thring (Actor) was at our dinner table and would regularly recite his ‘theatricals’. All in all it is a trip I will never forget, crossing the Equator and we had to jump in the swimming pool to be ceremoniously ducted by King Neptune.

  16. Hey Kathy and Neil… we are all connected here! I found this fascinating
    2 March 1965 Dep Southampton and arr: Brisbane on 3 May 1965 Neil: you and your family on board
    3 May 1965 Dep Brisbane and arr Southampton
    1 June, 1965, Dep Southampton and arr: Sydney around 30 June 1965 Kathy -your dad was on that one – do you know the exact date he arrived. My parents cannot recall when they left Sydney
    around 30 June 1965 Dep Sydney for Southampton. My parents took that ship- I was a baby

  17. I was on this ship as a 2 year old. Came with my parents as 10 pound poms. Alan and Irene Gibson. Mum got homesick and went back with us kids but Dad stayed – he loved Australia and told Mum he would follow if she was sure England was where she wanted to be. Mum was not in England long before sending a telegram to Dad to organise to get us back to Australia.

  18. we sailed on this ship from Sydney to Southampton, I turned 8 on the ship. I would live to find the ports of call for this voyage
    Departed Sydney December 1968

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