SS Amerikanis

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Name: SS Kenya Castle
Owner: Union-Castle Line (1952-1967)
Operator: Union-Castle Line (1952-1967)
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Launched: 21 June 1951
Completed: February 1952
Maiden voyage: March 1952
Renamed: 1967
Fate: sold
Name: SS Amerikanis
Owner: Chandris Lines (1967-2000)
Operator: Chandris Lines (1967-1980)
Costa Cruises (1980-1984)
Chandris Lines (1984-1996)
Acquired: 1967
Fate: Scrapped in 2001
General characteristics
Tonnage: 17,041 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 576 ft (176 m)
Beam: 74 ft 3 in (22.63 m)
Speed: 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h) (service speed)
Capacity: 920 (from 1967)

SS Amerikanis, formerly the SS Kenya Castle was a Greek owned cruise ship.


Kenya Castle was completed in 1952 as a British passenger liner, also fitted with considerable refrigerated and general cargo capacity. She was the second of a trio of sister ships built between 1950-1953 at the Belfast yards of Harland and Wolff, for the Union-Castle Line of London England; the others being Rhodesia Castle and Braemar Castle. One-class accommodation was provided for approximately 530 passengers.

Passenger/cargo service to Africa

SS Kenya Castle commenced duty on her owners' around Africa route from London in March 1952. However by 1962, due to dwindling patronage, the voyages were terminated at Durban, South Africa. Kenya Castle and her sister ships then retraced their (now all eastabout) journeys back to Britain via the Suez Canal. During an early 1960s refit the passenger complement was reduced to 446, while technical upgrades included the ship's funnel being heightened by the fitting of a streamlined, ventilated dome. Faced with continual decline in demand for their services, Union-Castle withdrew all three sister ships from the Africa trade during 1965-67, each vessel having operated for around 15 years. Kenya Castle was laid-up in early 1967, while her less fortunate sisters went to 'breakers.

Conversion and cruising career

In July 1967, Kenya Castle was bought by the Chandris shipping family, (now Celebrity Cruises). Re-named SS Amerikanis ('American maiden'), the vessel proceeded to Greece for extensive alterations to suit a full-time cruise ship role. Cargo holds were replaced by additional passenger cabins, increasing capacity to approximately 920. The vessel became somewhat famous for being the first passenger ship to have a television in every cabin. All public rooms were refurbished in contemporary European style. The modernised vessel re-appeared with a white hull and superstructure; other than the removal of cargo handling gear, Amerikanis retained much of her former classic profile. While intended to operate trans-Atlantic cruises during her first season, delays to the refurbishment caused Amerikanis to go directly into an autumn 1968 program from New York to Bermuda. The vessel later moved to the Caribbean, basing at Puerto Rico for the northern winter and operating Mediterranean Sea cruises in the summer. Retaining her name, Amerikanis was leased to the Italian operators Costa Cruises (vessel remained owned by Chandris) from 1980-1984. For this charter, the ship's funnel was re-painted yellow with Costa's trademark blue "C". After regaining the distinctive white Chandris "X" (C - for Chandris - in the Greek language) on her blue funnel, Amerikanis went on to serve for another 12 years.


In 1996 Amerikanis was withdrawn to Greece, which is where she lay while decisions were made about her future. Nothing materialized and she was sold for scrap in either 2000 or 2001. SS Amerikanis, a pioneering cruise ship and one of the most popular and successful Chandris liners, made her own way for dismantling at Alang, India after a notable career of over 44 years.

External links

Photographic Memories of Working on Chandris Lines by a former employee, retrieved 26 November 2006 fr:Amerikanis