The relaunch of the America-what was planned as a lighthearted short cruises with feel-good factor at low prices, ended in a total disaster. Bad planning, profit maximization at the expense of crew, passengers, safety, hygiene, and the ship in general, unfortunate concatenation and utopian schedules given the brief return of America to her old home port of New York ..
What remained at the end, was the unflattering, but unfortunately apt nickname "cockroaches ship" for the once proud liner.
1978 Australis was buyed by a consortium of several companies which took the name American Cruise Line, for U.S. $ 6.5 million.
A short time later, the newly created company was renamed because of trademark dispute in "Venture Cruise Lines of New York". From her lay up in New Zealand, Timaru, it was for the old liner 23 April, on the Pacific through the Panama Canal to New York.
They called the Australis again in America in order to benefit from the luster of her early career advertising benefits and gave her a new royal blue paint.
The concept of venture Cruise Lines put on short cruises off the east coast of North America, with home port of New York, which should at very low rates attract as many passengers to America as a floating entertainment center. The ship main destination with the then very popular "cruises to nowhere" - "cruises to nowhere" in the offer.
For this purpose, a casino should be retrofitted with armed bandits, blackjack, roulette tables and playing cards, rebuilt and modernized the cinema, as well as three modern discotheques be retrofitted with two bands ship. In addition, a modernization of the lounges and restaurants was sought.
Also, the cabins should have been renovated and some toilet-less be retrofitted with private sanitary facilities.
The following promotional brochure you can read again the advertised, very comprehensive offer at dumping prices, which was promised to the passengers. The brochure reads almost ironic when one compares the actual outcome with it:
America in Hudson River.
That's the theory of the advertising promises. The reality, however, America should soon catch up.
After months of resting in New Zealand and Chandris recent years that major investments were kept small because of cost pressures, the Australis was in need of renovation, which is actually not allowed to have paying passengers on board. But rather than on thorough preparations for the old lady for a new passenger transport, provided the venture Cruise Lines on a crazy schedule. In just six weeks after the ship arrived in New Zealand from New York, wanted to start the regular cruise operation.
Six weeks between 19 May and 30 June, when the first cruise was planned to maintain the ship in a dry dock to remove it again to modernize the machinery to refurbish the ship (because many furnishings were left with Chandris), a casino installed to remove and re-equip the cabins to replace the electrical wiring, and fix problems with the sewage system.
All this was then conducted to a large part of this unskilled labor, which included some students even to save costs. This also resulted in damage and partially painted over by careless brass window frames, aluminum handrails and safety-related systems and information panels.
Some projects, such as the renewal of machinery and electrics were unceremoniously postponed indefinitely.
Because of the time not remediable problems with the sewage system, the passenger capacity of 2200 to 600 had to be limited.
But rather to rethink the schedule in order to have more time for unsolved problems and complete remodeling and renovations, they put on full risk and misfortune took its course ...