Simplon - The Passenger Ship Website -

Simplon Home -
- Recent Updates - Search Simplon - Copyright Information - Contact Simplon
This website has no connection with any shipping company, cruise line, boat operator or other commercial organisation - There are no postcards for sale on this website

Grimaldi-SIOSA Line
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Grimaldi-SIOSA fleet. An alphabetical list of ships on this page is shown below, whilst beneath this a table links to complete career histories in postcards of some of the ships. Below the table is a chronological fleet list of company and commercial postcards. SIOSA stands for Sicula Oceanica Societa per Azioni (of Palermo).
The Grimaldi brothers were nephews of Achille Lauro, the famous Naples shipowner (their mother was Achille's sister). They built up a fleet of cargo ships before WW2. Like Achille Lauro himself, they decided there was a post-war market for cheap emigrant and refugee ships, and acquired a number of elderly vessels which received little upgrading. The emigrant market eventually became more discerning as competition increased, and the first comfortable Grimaldi ships were the Ascania and Irpinia (ex-SGTM ships Florida and Campana), acquired in 1955. Initial services were from Italy to Central America, but North Atlantic services were operated later. In 1956 they acquired the Venezuela, which had previously been the CGT De Grasse, and the Canadian Pacific Empress of Australia. Following rebuilding for their Italy-West Indies-Venezuela service, her passenger capacity increased from 664 to nearly 1500. Venezuela was lost in 1962, off Cannes. She was replaced in 1965 by the Caribia, originally the Cosulich, then Italia Vulcania. She was also lost, in 1972, again off Cannes. Subsequently, Grimaldi operated the Ausonia on cruises from 1983-96, and carry up to 55 passengers on various freighters around the world. One of the brothers then started Grandi Navi Veloci, operating large cruise ferries in the Mediterranean.
Ships on this Page:-
Ascania - 1955-68
Auriga - 1949-57
Ausonia - 1983-96
Caribia - 1965-82
Centauro - 1951-55
Irpinia - 1955-81
La Superba - 2002-
Lucania - 1951-62
Repubblica di Venezia
Urania II - 1950-54
Venezuela - 1956-62
Associated Pages:-
Canadian Pacific Line
French Line - Page 5 - 1914-1930 Postcard Galleries
Louis Cruise Lines
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards -
Simplon Postcards Home Page

Table of Ship Histories


 Other Names


 Venezuela  De Grasse, Empress of Australia


Grimaldi-SIOSA Fleet List

The Grimaldi brothers initially operated a fleet of cargo ships, only venturing into emigrant carriers after WW2.
This is an official Fratelli Grimaldi card of the freighter Leone, of which I have no other details at present. I include it as an example of their primary business.

Auriga 1949-57
The Auriga was built as the New Zealand Shipping Company's liner Ruahine in 1909.
Official card of Ruahine in NZSC colours
Official card of Ruahine in NZSC colours
An official Fratelli Grimaldi art card of the Auriga.
An official Fratelli Grimaldi card of the Auriga.
This scan of an official Grimaldi photograph of the Auriga has been provided by Jean Grenier. He travelled on her final voyage from Cannes to Fort de France, via Barcelona, Lisbon, Vigo, Madeira, Caracas and Pointe a Pitre. He bought the photograph at the time. As can be seen, she was substantially rebuilt from the Ruahine.

Urania II 1950-54
The Urania II was built as the Anchor Line Castalia in 1906.
Official Anchor Line card of Castalia, later Urania II

Photograph of Urania II
Scan: Bill Paulus
Urania II - ex-Castalia

Photograph of Urania II
Scan: Bill Paulus
Urania II - ex-Castalia

Centauro 1951-55
(ex-City of Hong Kong)
The Centauro was built as the Ellerman's City liner City of Hong Kong in 1924.
Three official cards are shown below, the third being in Ellerman & Bucknall colours (used on their South African service).
I do not have a card as Cetauro.

Lucania 1951-62
(ex-Prince Robert)
The Lucania was built as the Canadian National coastal liner Prince Robert, but had already been substantially modified as the Charlton Sovereign when bought. She was the first Grimaldi ship to receive considerable rebuilding before entering their migrant service to central America.
A Canadian National card of Prince Robert, is shown below.
Photographic postcard of Charlton Sovereign.
An official Grimaldi postcard of Lucania.
An unidentified photographic card of Lucania is shown below.

Ascania 1955-68
The Ascania was built as the SGTM liner Florida in 1926. She was bought by Grimaldi-SIOSA in 1955. She was refitted to carry 183 first class and 932 tourist class passengers on services from Southampton, Vigo and Lisbon to the Caribbean and Venezuela. She mainly carried Spanish and Portuguese migrants outwards, and West Indians on the return voyage. In 1966, Ascania became a budget Mediterranean cruise ship.
A postcard of the SGTM liner Florida with two funnels.
A later postcard of the SGTM liner Florida as rebuilt with one funnel.
Grimaldi-Siosa card of Ascania
Grimaldi-Siosa card of Ascania

Irpinia (Grimaldi-SIOSA: 1955-1981)
The Irpinia was built as the SGTM liner Campana in 1929 by Swan, Hunter on the River Tyne. She sailed from Marseille to the East Coast of South America, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. After the fall of France in 1940, Campana was laid up at the latter port, and later seized by the Argentineans, for whom she ran some trips to New Orleans as the Rio Jachal. In 1946, she was returned to the French, sailing to South America again, but also to Indochina. She was bought by Grimaldi-SIOSA in 1955. She operated from Europe to the Caribbean and Venezuela, with some crossings of the North Atlantic to Canada or New York. In 1962 she received a major facelift, returning to service with only one funnel and Fiat diesels instead of steam turbines. She returned to the Caribbean route, taking Spanish and Portuguese migrants westbound, and west Indian migrants eastbound to the UK. By 1970 she was mainly used for Mediterranean cruising out of Genoa, at $79 for seven days, or $134 for a 2-week Christmas cruise to New York and the Canaries. In 1976, just as she was about to be withdrawn, she was chartered for the making of the film Voyage of the Damned. After the filming, she unexpectedly returned to cruising until 1981, at which point she could no longer get a certificate of seaworthiness in Italy. She was laid up for 2 years in La Spezia before being scrapped.
A postcard of the SGTM liner Campana.
A postcard of the SGTM liner Campana.
The picture below shows Irpinia's original two-funnelled state, on a card giving the company's full title: Fratelli Grimaldi - Sicula Oceanica S.A.
A second Grimaldi postcard of Irpinia in original two-funnelled state.
This Grimaldi-Siosa card shows Irpinia after the 1962 rebuilding.
On this card of Irpinia, the company styled itself simply as Siosa Line.
A well known commercial card of Irpinia, at Malta, published by Alfred Galea Zimmit (serial G123).
A second Alfred Galea Zimmit (serial G132) card of Irpinia, behind Epirotiki's Jason, taken the same time as the card above..

Venezuela 1956-62
The Venezuela was built as the CGT Liner De Grasse in 1924. She was rebuilt after damage during the war, and later served Canadian Pacific as the Empress of Australia. She was bought by Grimaldi-SIOSA in 1956.
This is a Fratelli Grimaldi - Sicula Oceanica S.A. postcard.
A later Grimaldi-SIOSA card of Venezuela, showing the raked bow given in 1960.
A full career history of this ship is available on this link.
A further Grimaldi-SIOSA card of Venezuela, showing the raked bow given in 1960.
Scans: Arturo Braam - A full career history of this ship is available on this link.
Click to open larger image in new window

Caribia 1965-72
The Caribia was built as the Cosulich liner Vulcania in 1929. She was bought by Grimaldi-SIOSA in 1965.
This Grimaldi-SIOSA card totally fails to capture the squat, boxy appearance of this ship.
This Siosa Line card of Caribia is far more accurate than the one above.
Caribia suffered problems from soot on the decks, so received a funnel extension as shown below. This is serial 664/2 by Interdipress, which has the funnel markings blacked out.
Photograph of Caribia at Dubrovnik.
Scan: Ivo Batricevic.

Ausonia 1983-96
Ausonia was delivered from builders Cantieri Riuniti dell' Adriatico, Monfalcone, to Adriatica SpA di Navagazione on September 23rd, 1957. She was put into service on Adriatica's Trieste-Beirut service. In 1978/9, Ausonia was converted for cruising by Arsenale Triestino SpA, San Marco, running Mediterranean cruises for Italia Crociere Internazionali SpA, with 690 passengers. In 1983 she was registered under the ownership of Ausonia Crociere SpA, of Naples, part of the Grimaldi-SIOSA group. After a further refit in 1984, passenger numbers increased to 750. Her current owners are Louis Cruise Lines of Cyprus.
An official SIOSA-Ausonia Crociere card of Ausonia, now with additional superstructure aft.
A later official Grimaldi-SIOSA, Ausonia Crociere card of Ausonia, clearly showing extra superstructure forward of the bridge.

Repubblica di Venezia
Repubblica di Venezia is typical of modern Grimaldi Lines car carriers which carry around 55 passengers. This is a Grimaldi-SIOSA Crociere official card.

Splendid & Majestic
Splendid and Majestic were the first two large cruise ferries operated by Grimaldi company Grandi Navi Veloci. The fleet consists of six ferries in 2000, which will be covered in a more detailed page in the future. Two official cards are shown below.
La Superba
GNV postcard for La Superba, introduced in 2002.

Canadian Pacific Line - French Line - Page 5 - Louis Cruise Lines
Top of Page - Cruise Ship Postcards - Ocean Liner Postcards - Simplon Postcards Home Page
Free Web Counter
Times viewed since 25/11/2009: