MV Italia

GRT 20,223
Length 609 Feet
Breadth 78 Feet

Built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg in 1928 for Swedish American Line (SAL) she was named “Kungsholm”. She ran on the North Atlantic route between Europe and North America in the 1930’s.

She was requisitioned by the US Government during World War II and renamed “John Ericsson”. During the war she operated as a troop carrier and took part in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day in 1944.

Sold to Home Lines in 1948, she was refitted and renamed “Italia”. She served until 1964 when she was sold to Freeport Bahama Enterprises who renamed her “Imperial Bahama” and used her as a floating hotel.

She was sold for scrap in 1965.

This is a Postcard from Dan in Georgia. Dan is a kindred spirit who loves Ships, Airships Old Aircraft and postcards. He runs the AirShips.Net website dedicated to the Hindenburg and other Zeppelins.

Thanks for the fantastic postcards, Dan. I’ve sent a couple more in reply!

67 Replies to “MV Italia”

  1. I have my father’s old ‘Shellback’ document (crossing the equator as I’m sure you know) that he received on his way to Guadacanal via New Zealand aboard the John Ericsson dated July 1st, 1942. I have been hunting down this ship and thanks to Bing and you I have found her. Thanks for posting her, my brothers and sis will be delighted as am I. Thanks again, Rick Dale

  2. Rick

    Thanks for the good news. I’m delighted you were able to find this post.

    If you have any images from the John Ericsson that you’d like to share, I’d be happy to post them here.

    Best wishes


  3. It interesting to see the MV Italia. Do you or anyone know about the M/S Italia – I came to America in 1953 on that ship. Would be interesting to get more info on it. I have a picture and the passenger list from that ship when we came here. Thank you

  4. EV I think we might be talking about the same ship.
    See this link:
    The length, beam, GRT and Photo in this article match Dan’s “MV Italia” postcard, and yet the photos in the link above also match the Wikipedia article about “Kungsholm”, see:

    If you’d like to share a scanned image of your picture and list I’ll be happy to share it with everyone here. She sounds like a fascinating ship.

  5. After reading the two sites you indicated – sounds like it could be the same ship. Now, I’d like to send a scanned picture, but how do I do this on this site?

  6. EV

    please send the image to mail-at-shipwatcher-dot-com along with any links, credits, or comments that you’d like me to add, and I’ll upload it 🙂

  7. Okay, When did my lights go out – but I don’t understand – it’s probably so simple, yet “nichts versteh” that’s German for don’t understand how to get that pic to you. What do you mean mail-at-shipwatcher-dot com I really feel like — excuse the pun I missed the boat.


  8. EV, sorry to be elusive, but if I entered my email address like normal:, the spam robots would harvest it, and I’d end up getting lots of spam.

    So if I write it in a way that robots can’t understand but you can, the robots won’t get me and I’ll get less junk mail.

    So you get my email address by typing the word “mail” (without the quotes) then pressing the “@” button then typing “” (without the quotes).

    The other way I can explain it is if you remove the XXXXX’s from the email address below youi’ll end up with my email address:

  9. Does anyone know how I can get a copy of the 1955 voyage manifest from Hamburg to NY? My mother in law was on that ship and would love to get a copy for her. Thank you.

  10. My mother and I along with my 2 younger sisters sailed on this ship July 1957 on the £10 assisted passage scheme to emigrate to Canada. We landed at Halifax – Nova Scotia and onward to Toronto to join our Dad who had gone out earlier to get a job etc. Great memories of this ship. We were nor really used to 3 sitdown meals in such oppulance.

  11. I have my father’s old ‘Shellback’ document (crossing the equator as I’m sure you know) that he received on his way to Guadacanal via New Zealand aboard the John Ericsson dated July 1st, 1942. I have been hunting down this ship and thanks to Bing and you I have found her. Thanks for posting her, my brothers and sis will be delighted as am I. Thanks again, Rick Dale

  12. Hi

    I just found a ships manifest from the M.S. Italia from 28 Nov 1952. My mother and her family emegrated to Canada on that ship. The ship stopped in New York 10 Dec and then 12 Dec Halifax. If anyone has pictures, video, or anything from that time frame I would love to get a copy of them. I will be making a copy of the manifest on my computer this week if anyone wants a copy. I am putting together a presentation for my mothers 65th Birth Day so if you could help that would be great. The family names were. Herber and Erika Guse (Grandparents) and Ingrid and Rotraud Gusa (my Aunt and Mother) I am looking for pictures as well. If I find any I will also scan them if anyone is interested.

  13. I came over on the M.S. Italia, arrived in NY on May 31, 1955. I am trying to find a passenger list, can anyone help.

  14. My mother, Marika Dietz, and my grandparents Eugen and Ruth Dietz came over on the M/S Italia in November 1952. They ported into New York Harbor on November 15, 1952. If anyone has any information about the boat, list of passengers, etc, I would GREATLY APPRECIATE!!
    Victoria Johnson

  15. I came to Canada in 1955 with my mother aboard the M.S. ITALIA arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia,my Dad was in the Canadian Navy . Would any one have a copy of 1955 voyage manifest?

  16. I also came on the MS ITALIA I arrived in Halifax NS, Pier 21, on Aug. 8th 1955.
    from Hamburg.
    I would also be very interested in the Passenger List, or any information
    I met a girl on board, also a man from Hungary, that I would like to know
    where they are and what they are doing now.
    I am reading a message from Frank Offhaus, maybe you can E mail me back
    if you find out any information.
    Have a nice day Monica

  17. My Mother came into the United States from Ireland / England on the John Ericcson, the spelling may be wrong and possibly should be “Ericcson” but all I have to go by is a 64 year old Petition for Naturalization document.
    If there’s anyone with a passenger list from May 30th 1946 I’d truly like to connect with you.
    I lost my Mother and father in 1966, they died 4 months apart and left my two brother and I orphaned, we’re now in our 60’s so we made it but there’s very little information about my Mom. She moved from Ireland to England to help with the War Effort (WWII) and met my Father while he was in the U.S. Navy but that’s pretty much all we know.
    Any help would be Great!
    Thank You in Advance!

  18. In 1964 the M.V. Italia anchored in the harbour at Nassau, Bahamas. My Mom, Dad and I were on a cruise from Miami to Nassau abroad the S.S. Yarmouth which had docked at the Prince George Wharf. Quartermaster Kennedy of the S.S. Yarmouth arranged for us to take a tender to visit the M.V. Italia. We returned to Nassau on the last tender of what was scheduled to be the M.V. Italia’s last voyage returning to New York. She was a grand lady with both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and operated by the Home Lines.

  19. Hi,
    I came to New York from Bremerhaven on the “Italia” in the spring of 1953 . I would like to find someone that came on the same ship and/or Passenger list
    Would apreciate it very much.

  20. On an impulse I was looking for information about the Italia. For whatever reason, a trip to Nassau from Charleston, SC that I took with my parents many years ago has been on my mind lately. I wondered what untimately became of the Italia and now I know. I can’t begin to tell you what an amazing journey this was for a child. I will never forget the beauty of this ship and the friendly formality of the stewarts. It is hard to imagine her as scrap.

  21. I too have my Dad-Earl Eugene Johnston’s Shellback records. He also crossed the equator July 1942 aboard the MS John Ericsson. I would love to hear from others that have information. My dad passed away in 1973 and I am in the process of gathering information about his war time service for his grandchildren.

  22. I came to america on the Italia in 1953–Left Bremerhaven on Jan 13, 1953 to NY with my parents–I played with a little girl with the name of Christal. I do not have the last name but if I can find the passenger list I might be able to find her. Would love to find her and find out if america was as good to her as it has been to our family. I noted that EV stated that he or she has a passenger list–is it for that date????

  23. Hi, my mother, her siblings and my grandmother arrived in New York from Amsterdam in May 1956. She has three menus, a blue print of the TSMV Italia and an incomplete passenger list. We are looking for pages 11-14 (which is actually one piece of paper). Any help or anywhere I can find it. Thank you

  24. It seems the older i get the more i want to go back in time, my Mother and i came over to the States in 1955 on the MS Italia, we left Germany from Hamburg and arrived in
    New York May 24th 1955, traveled to Chicago by train, grew up in Chicago and currently live in the suburbs, i was 11 years old and it certainly changed my life, i played
    with some of the kids i met on board but don’t remember any of their names, there was a family named Machinsky that i kind of remember,
    a pasenger list would be great to view or have, i will try as well.

  25. My nanny came over on the Italia in 1953, tourest class from Cuxhaven to NYC. I found her on the passenger list on! Lots of luck….

  26. TO ALL THE TRAVELERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS, know ye that on 1st of July, 1942, my Father, (then PFC) Edward P. Reardon, USMC crossed the equator on board the M.S. John Ericsson. The good ship dropped him off for the start of the Battle of Guadalcanal on 7 Aug 1942. The official seal on the document says “Co. 11th MAR. 1st Div. FMF” and, of course, signed by Davy himself and Master Mariner, John M. Anderson. I would like to hear from Rick Dale who made a comment here on 10-17-09.
    Dad passed in Veteran’s Hospital, Pittsburgh on 7 Aug 1977 — exactly 35 years later.

  27. I immigrated to the USA with my parents, Martin and Ann Wolf aboard the Italia in 1952. I do not remember anything about the voyage, because I turned 1 year old during the voyage. My parents did not talk much about the voyage because the north Atlantic was so stormy, and they suffered terribly with sea sickness. They traveled from Hamburg, Germany to New York, it must have been in March or April 1952. They also talked about having to spend extra time either in Halifax, or off of Halifax due to problems with the propeller, which had to be replaced. I would enjoy learning more about those problems, seeing a passenger list, finding out exactly when the ship left Hamburg and when it arrived in NY. I have the original shipping crates with the address plates, stampings from the ship line and other markings. My parents have passed away, so I can no longer ask them these questions. We have had very wonderful lives as naturalized US citizens.


  28. I left England for Canada at age 4 on the MS Italia on Aug. 18, 1952. My mother Marvis Pegg and brother Christopher Pegg were with me. Anyone out there remember this voyage?

  29. My dad was head chef – seacook as he preferred-
    prior to the war on matsons
    Lines ss maraposa . When war broke out he became head chef on ms John erikson
    And served on her till late 1945 . Feed the troops
    Have lots of photos of her in south pacific and Atlantic service
    Dad went on to be sous chef at the breakers hotel in palm beach then chef at the long view club in Pittsburgh
    I grew up hearing stories of his exploits
    On the erikson and my dads nickname for me was som of a sea cook . We visited her in
    Ny sometime in mid 50s she was a grand old lady
    Dr. Len Buchta – Harrisburg pa

  30. Has any one managed to find the passenger list for the Italia arriving in Halifax NS March 29 1955 or know where I can look.

  31. I am a volunteer indexing records for We’re currently indexing ship manifests for this ship and others like it. I might suggest starting there, or at their pay site, Good luck!

  32. I sailed, as a child, on the John Ericsson. My mother and I returned from a post war trip to her family in Scotland. We returned in December of 1946, had Christmas on the ship.

  33. I have one of the suitcases that my parents used when they came to Canada and the “Home Lines” Tourist Class label on the side reads line by line (separated by /, all capital letters for pre-printed info with written-in info after the dash) as follows;

    HALIFAX / CABIN – 20 / NAME – Zimmermann / SHIP – M.S. Italia / SAILING FROM – Hamburg / DATE – 24 5, 1952 / FINAL ADDRESS – R. Zimmermann … (the rest is a private address in Leverkusen, Germany).

    I guess the “FINAL ADDRESS” refers to the one prior to departure from Germany because my parents definitely came to Canada in the spring of 1952 and the only time they went to Germany was by plane in 1961 (that was a hair-raising experience, turning back to Gander with a bad engine after already starting to cross the Atlantic).



  34. My father and grandparents emigrated to New York, NY the Italia in July 1952 from Le Havre, France. I have a photo of them on the deck near the lifeboats. I found the manifest on ancestry.

  35. Thanks for this nice info. My father travelled/emigrated from Naples to NY in 1950 on the Italia. I have the original passenger list booklet–very nice moment of that special trip of him coming to America.

  36. I have an original Home Lines postcard of the Italia, happy to share it with you all to add to this article .

    I will send it over to the Web Site and they can hopefully upload it.

    I have a collection of over 5,000 postcards so might be able to help with a few other vessels .

  37. Peter Zimmermann, I wonder if you know when they arrived? Seems to me that is the same trip we were on when we came to NYC, arrival date June 4, 1952. We lelft from Cuxhaven sometime late in May.

  38. I left Cuxhaven on the 1st of June with the MS Italia, arived in New York on the 10 of June! Is there Anybody, hue came on this Trip!

  39. Neil,
    This goes back some years but I have only just found this site. Back in 2009 you had a comment from EV about the Ship Italia trip from England to New York in 1953 my wife was also on that ship and we would like to get a copy of the passenger list can you help?

  40. Does anyone remember my father Capt Renato Del Bello he was The Captain of MV Italia in the 60’s

  41. I am trying to find the passenger list for the M S Italia that landed in New York on April 6, 1954. Hope someone can assist.

  42. My parents and two brothers left Hamburg on the MV Italia on June 20, 1953 and arrived in New York on July 1, 1953. We arrived in Springfield IL around July 4. I have a copy of the manifest that includes our family. I believe a librarian/genealogist friend found it at
    I would be interested in hearing from other emigrants who traveled on the Italia on that voyage.

  43. Dear Chris Marino,
    My Parents and Brother and I left Naples in Dec.1949 on the Italia and we arrived in NY Jan 8th 1950
    there abouts. We went thru a bad storm, got froze in some where think it was Halifax. Brother broke his arm during the storm sliding on the main floor where they kept us etc.
    From your note I believe your father was on the same boat and time that we were on Woot!!! You can verify our names of my patents Fredrick and Elise Teufel and sons on that passenger list to see if I’m correct. Would like to see that.
    Please feel free to notify me.

    Thank you,
    Armin Teufel

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