History - Italian Line's Sleek Michelangelo and Raffaello

Italian Line's Sleek and Modern Ocean Liner Michelangelo and Raffaello Tranatlantic Liners
Italian Line's Sleek and Modern Ocean Liner Michelangelo and Raffaello.

The final two new liners built for the Italian Line, the Michelangelo (April, 1965) and Raffaello (1965) were the luxurious, sleek, modern liners using many new construction materials. The superstructure of the liners was primarily made of lightweight aluminum.  Despite being planned as identical ships, Raffaello was 2.3 feet shorter, 1.3 feet wider, and approximately 22 tons larger than the Michelangelo. The Michelangelo weighed in at 45,933 tons; 903 feet long; carries; 1,775 Passengers and 720 crew.

Built as 3 class liners, they were not well suited for the cruising trade when airlines grew in popularity and cruising  was the life blood of the transatlantic operators. An odd design of these ships was that all of the cabin in the hull were inside cabins. It was said that the designer of the ship thought that portholes took away from the external appearance of the ships. This also proved to be a design flaw which again made the liners difficult to make the adjustment to cruising. On the plus side, the ships has one of the most impressive profiles of any ship. The extensive lido area with multiple pools and expansive deck space make these ships attractive to passengers wanting to cruise.

A drop in passenger loads, strikes by the maritime unions and rising fuel prices caused these ships to be removed from service at the age of 10 years.

On July 5, 1975, the Michelangelo was removed from Service. The Michelangelo was sold to the Iranian Government to be used as barracks. She was offered for sale in 1990 and Premier Cruise Line was interested in converting the liner for their Florida - Bahamas cruise service. Unfortunately, Premier could not find an insurance agency that was willing to insure the removal of the ship from the middle-east. At the time, Iran was in at war with Iraq and insurers feared the ship would be sunk on her way out to sea. The ship was eventually scrapped in 1991.

the Raffaello was removed from service June 6, 1975. In 1977, the Raffaelo was sold to Iran to be used as a barrack. She was struck and sunk by the Iraqi Government dockside.

I found this great video on the ships which showcase their modern design and sleek lines.

I hope you enjoy it.


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