Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Achille Lauro (1991, 1992)

In 1991 and again in 1992 I took a cruise on Achille Lauro, a ship I knew from her migrant trade days (1966 - 1972) from Northern European, U.K. and Italian ports to Australia and New Zealand for Flotta Lauro Line. From 1972 until she caught fire and sank 125 miles off the coast of Somalia on November 30th. 1994, she was engaged in full time cruising (apart from some periods when she was laid up due to her owners' fiancial woes).
The ship, though now one-class, was fairly much as I remembered her from a couple of on-board visits in Melbourne in the early 1970s. Still a ship of some character, she seemed to fairly well maintained externally, but was somewhat grubby and cockroach infested (in parts) inside. Though I didn't think she was particularly well run, I enjoyed the 1991 cruise enough to return in 1992. Unfortunately, that season she quickly developed a deserved reputation for poor service and unhiegenic conditions (indeed, in 1992 a NSW Department of Health inspection reported an alarming list of defects including 'stalactites' of congealed fat hanging from equipment in the galley) . The crew was made up of Italian officers, Italian senior ratings and a cosmopolitan mix of junior ratings (junior seamen, junior stewards etc.) drawn from countries such as Peru and The Philippines. Whilst the 'international staff' was mostly pleasant, the Italian staff were largely surly, bad tempered and seemed to regard the passengers as an annoying irrelevance. Particularly unpleasant was the resentful attitude shown by the Italian staff toward their 'foreign' juniors. Following the 1992 season, the ship returned to cruising out of Italy and South Africa, never to return to Australian waters.

The following photos are a compilation of shots I took during both cruises. 

At Circular Quay, Sydney on 11th. February, 1992.

Passing Lord Howe Island, 20th. March, 1991.

At Noumea, 22nd. March, 1991.

My dining table, March 1991.
Arriving at Vila, March 24th., 1991.

Arriving at Suva, CTC's Belorussiya already alongside. 3rd. February 1992.

Disembarking via ship's tender, Yasawa-I-Rara, Fiji, 4th. February 1992.

The ship at anchor, Yasawa-I-Rara.

The beach at Yasawa-I-Rara.

The Lautoka pilot boards, 5th. February, 1992.

Heading ashore at Vila, 7th. February, 1992.

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