This Day In History - Italia Leaves Home Lines Fleet to Become Floatimng Hotel in the Bahamas
|Home Lines Italia - 54 Years Ago - To become the Imperial Bahamas Hotel in Freeport, the Bahamas|
On April 28, 1964, An aging luxury liner started her third career at a Hoboken pier yesterday—This new role... a floating Hotel in the Bahamas.
The liner is the 36‐year‐old Italia. Wth the stroke of a pen at a Hoboken pier, her name was changed to Imperial Bahama and title transferred from Home Lines to Canaveral International Corporation.
For the 16,777‐ton passenger liner, which retained her Panamanian registry, it meant the end of two career—as a trans‐Atlantic passenger ship and cruise ship to the Bahamas, both out of the Port of New York, and as a World War II troop and war bride transport under United States registry.
Before heading out of port later this week, the 609‐foot vessel will spend a few days at the Brooklyn yard of the Todd Shipyards Corporation for survey of her hull and a “haircut and shave”—shipyard slang for hull cleaning and painting.
She is then scheduled for several weeks at a Miami shipyard where she will undergo alterations to become a 500‐room hotel before heading for her final and permanent anchorage at Freeport, Grand Bahama Island in June where she will be known as the Imperial Bahama Hotel.
Once the Kungsholm of Swedish America Line
One of the port's best known medium liners, the Italia made her debut here in 1928 as the Swedish American Line's Kungsholm. She sailed under United States registry during and after World War II as the transport John Ericsson and delivered more than 300,000 troops to the theaters of war.
In 1948 she was acquired by the Home Lines and refitted for passenger duty and placed on the Europe South‐America run. A year later she was assigned to service between New York and European ports. She stayed on that route until 1960 when she was refurbished again and fully air-conditioned to begin a successful career as a cruise ship.
Until last Saturday, when she made her last arrival NYC, she had traveled between New York and Nassau 146 times, carrying about 800,000 vacationers to and from the Bahamas island destination.