SS Leviathan

When United States Lines decided to retire the Leviathan, they turned to Gibbs and Cox of New York to design a replacement.

The new ship was completed in Newport News in 1940, but was soon requisitioned by the United States Navy for troop carriage in World War II and renamed USS West Point. She did not re-enter commercial service until 1946, and sailed from New York to Europe regularly, carrying 1,048 passengers in three classes, until 1963 when she was laid up following a labour dispute and eventually sold.

She had been joined in 1958 by the larger, faster United States, also designed by Gibbs & Cox.


The America became the Greek Chandris line’s Australis and pressed into immigrant service between Greece and Australia, where she remained until 1978.  She carried 2,258 tourist-class passengers in this configuration.

In 1979 she was sold back into American hands, renamed America again, and operated a few disastrous cruises from New York before she was seized by the courts and returned to Chandris. They renamed her Italis, gave
her a much-needed refit and restyled her exterior, removing her forward funnel, placing her on Mediterranean cruises, but this too was short lived. Her name changed several more times, and she met her end in 1994 while under tow near the Canary Islands.  She ran aground and split in two, and her forward half remained just off the beach for many years before succumbing to the sea.