The first assignment after the renovation led the Italis to West Africa. The Liberian government had chartered for two million U.S. dollars as a hotel ship during the early July 1979 held Summit of the African Union (OAU) in Monrovia. At this conference, the Monrovia Declaration was adopted, which was considered groundbreaking in human rights issues and the future development of the continent, but like many such declarations had no consequences.
The reason for the charter of Italis was that the capital of Liberia did not have enough hotel capacities suitable for press and conference attendees. As a possible capacity rich enough for western claims, but not too expensive solution was sought, where they finally decided for the Chandris liner. For the citizens of Monrovia, the Italis was an attraction. Many used the chance to visit the ship.
On the return trip to Europe, when actually only the crew should be on board, took advantage of some blind passengers the opportunity to escape the poverty of Africa. Most of them were sent to Spain from board.
End of July 1979, a program of three Mediterranean cruises was then prepared for the Italis. Passengers were lured with moderate prices and print new postcards and brochures. New home port of Genoa in northern Italy. The three cruises were Mediterranean itineraries with starting points in Spain, Italy, Malta, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and Greece, which successfully completed the ship. The passenger capacity of the cruise was about 1400 people.
Geschönte Werbeaufnahme der Italis. Das tatsächliche Erscheinungsbild des Schiffes mit abgesägtem Schornsteinstumpf, nicht verschobenem Mast und richtiger Lackierung bei Mouseover. Für diese Aufnahme wurde nichtmal die Italis fotografiert und dann retuchiert. In Wahrheit verbirgt sich hinter den Manipulationen die Australis, aufgenommen 1977 im Südpazifik.
-Bild: Chandris Lines-
In these three cruises but then it should remain so. Lacked sufficient capacity for the liner concept of sustainable use. Until a few weeks before the season starts in 1980 was planned to reinstate the Italis for two-week cruises from Genoa, but at the last minute there was a complete restructuring within the Chandris fleet operating in the Mediterranean. The cruise program for the Italis was therefore not implemented and transferred ships Ellinis and Victoria on the Chandris.
For this decision, there were several reasons, but mainly the obsolete steam machines of the "Italian Lady," the immense amounts of fuel devoured (about twice the Ellinis), which also reduced cruise speed could not keep sufficient. The high fuel consumption was just too expensive and the second oil crisis this year it did the rest. Furthermore, the Italis suffered from a runaway balance propeller. The strong vibrations caused by the defect in the rear of the ship impaired passenger comfort. General was all over the ship, to see clearly inside and outside of his age and noted. The partial renovations were only temporary, and many cabins on the lower decks were locked state due to passengers.
A comprehensive, expensive overhaul would be have been necessary to remain competitive in the highly competitive Mediterranean cruise market with the Italis.
There were also plans of tens of millions within the shipping company for the necessary modernization. It was provided to replace the steam engine more efficient diesel engines to reduce engine power and speed of the vessel to expand the structures and to renew the cabins completely new divide and to bring through to the standard of newer cruise ships. The ship was then converted to operate the lucrative, growing American cruise market from Miami. At that time (around 1980) to Chandris was just in the middle of restructuring, with the end of the line connections completely towards the cruise market. A few years later, the Chandris Fantasy Cruises was founded and took over the Britanis cruises from Miami, for which the former Australis was in consideration.
This Chandris' Vice President Kaparis: "My plan was the ship to completely overhaul and rebuild this project would have cost $ 18 million but Mr. Chandris said no I appreciate him very much, but I believe that this was a wrong decision at this time... . "
This investment plans were never realized, and therefore reissued the ship in Eleusis Bay.
In summer 1980, Italis was sold again.
*: There are various information to the amount of the purchase price. Some sources say only 5 million. The number 6.5 million was mentioned by Dimitrios Kaparis, the Vice President of the Chandris Lines. Moreover, there is evidence that only a portion of the purchase price of the venture to Chandris Cruise Lines has been charged and the rest should follow. The earnings for Chandris would have been much lower.
Die Italis läuft während einer ihrer Mittelmeerkreuzfahrten in den Hafen von Valetta (Malta) ein.
-Bild: Vie et Mort de L'America-
Der Ablauf der Mittelmeerkreuzfahrten der Italis.
The disaster of the venture Cruise Lines relaunch in 1978 could be the end of America and it would not have been truly glorious. With her ??last passenger career as Italis, the "Italian Lady," which in the years come ex-America managed though no more real new beginning, but at least a happy ending to their long, successful career.
The prerequisites for America at the foreclosure sale on 28 August 1978 were bleak. The starting price was $ 150,000 and the only scrap merchant who traveled from the Far East were in their victory already secure. The bids increased slowly to 650,000 dollars. At 1 million, the auctioneer then gave the award, but the selling bank was this bid too low. So called a bidder: "a million and ten thousand dollars!". The Bank accepted and no other of those present was willing to offer more. As the hammer struck three times and America had a new owner. And who was the lucky high bidder? Dimitrios Kaparis, the Vice President of the Chandris Lines!
Nichtnur had the Greek shipping company so that its long-standing flagship saved from scrapping, but also achieved an incredible profit. They had not yet received U.S. $ 6.5 million * for the sale of the former Australis in the spring of the same year, as was paid by the highest bid of the auction of $ 1,010,000, a gain of around 5.5 million * for the Chandris Lines.
In early September 1978, which ran from America with a minimum crew quietly and almost unnoticed from New York to Europe. Long gone are the days of her early years, as they cheered and lined with dozens of harbor boats took their journeys. There should be a final farewell from her home port ehemalilgen who had brought her in recent months, so much humiliation.
Once in Greece, America was launched in Eleusis Bay. At this time their future was far from certain. Would she still be sold for scrap to Taiwan from Chandris, which would have been profitable due to the low purchase price?
In the winter, then the surprise. The shipping company Chandris gave the ship a new opportunity: the former Australis was slightly renovated, repaired and rebuilt to make them suitable for transporting passengers again. This includes the front dummy chimney was removed to give the ship a more modern profile. The hull kept the dark blue of the short cruise venture career. But the new name of the ship was not, as previously Australis, but according to their new destination Italis, which means "Italian Lady" meant. The Italis should be used for Mediterranean cruises.
The changes made by the Cruise Lines venture as new flooring, color schemes and other textured wallpaper for indoor remained largely intact. Even the small casino which was established in 1978, remained on the Italis in use. Likewise remained the furniture and deck loungers, which in 1978 bought together in a hurry, on board and have not been fully replaced again by the originals that had Chandris then taken before the sale of the Austalis board.
For a short time the former Australis was once the largest ship and flagship of the Chandris fleet and, as before, the only one that had no white-painted hull.