Due to the forced sale of AMERICA, the incredible result was that Chandris re purchased her for $1,010,000 giving them a $4,000,000 profit. Ship historians began to worry, this was indeed a nice profit and as her scrap value was worth more than that paid for by Chandris – was she going to be scrapped?
Not likely, Chandris surprised everyone by advertising 3-day cruises in the Mediterranean using the revamped ‘AMERICA’ now renamed ‘ITALIS’ purchased from Venture Cruises. The most obvious change was the removal of her forward funnel, which was allegedly badly corroded. This refit arguably caused the demise of her classic profile, however it would appear that Chandris were trying to remodel her against new liners with only one funnel to help give her a more of a modern look. It is my opinion that this decision stripped her of her well-proportioned profile as can be seen in the photo below released by Chandris Lines.
At 40 years of age it appeared that the ex SS AMERICA was set to rival other Chandris ships for a record of longevity. However rather than put to sea again ITALIS remained at her mooring near Pireaus. It was hoped that this great ship, with a now deformed profile, was again going to cruise the Mediterranean.
The ship unfortunately was in bad need of new engines, her starboard propeller was allegedly out of balance or her propeller shaft was bent, as one passenger has advised me that the vibrations from the ship were totally unacceptable. It was known that Chandris wanted to re power her with Diesel motors. However the costs involved in the re powering of the liner was too much and due to her age she was sold to Inter Commerce Corporation in 1980 to be used as a floating hotel in Beirut, but this fell through.
Click to move to her next chapter : The years of lay up and neglect