The Saxonia Sisters

R.M.S. SAXONIA                R.M.S. IVERNIA                R.M.S. CARINTHIA            R.M.S. SYLVANIA

 RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   THE CUNARDERS

The Saxonia Sisters were the last new ships built for Cunard Line's "Dominion" service to Canada. All four ships were built by John Brown & Co. (Clydebank) Ltd. They were designed purely as transatlantic passenger liners and so were at first unsuited to cruising. As a result they faced competition from the larger and more luxurious "Empress" ships of Canadian Pacific. They sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal. Soon after they entered service it was announced that two of the ships would continue to sail from Liverpool while the other two would be moved to a new route from Southampton so that they could call at Le Havre and capture some of the Continental traffic to Canada. In 1963 the first two of the quartet were refitted to make them better suited to cruising. In 1964 Canadian Pacific, Cunard's great rivals on the Dominion route to Canada, withdrew two of their ships from the service and reduced it to a one ship service using the Empress of Canada. The writing was on the wall for the Dominon service to Canada as the onset of the jet age meant that increasingly air services were dominating on the transatlantic services and ocean travel was in decline. 

From the early to mid 1960s the quartet increasingly supplemented their Canadian transatlantic services with cruises. In 1968 the Carinthia and Sylvania the later pair were withdrawn from service. The earlier pair continued cruising for Cunard until 1971 when they too were withdrawn from service due to the increasing influx of newer and better appointed ships to cruising. On the 20th October 1967 the Sylvania sailed from Southampton bound for Quebec and Montreal on the final service on the Dominion route to Canada for Cunard Line and she returned to Liverpool. Thus it was the end of an era and Cunard Line's long running Dominion service to Canada was closed.

However all of the quartet when on to have very varied and diverse careers after their time with Cunard Line. The former Saxonia and Ivernia were sold to the Russians and went to sail in the Black Sea Shipping Company's fleet.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 the former Saxonia and Ivernia were laid up at Ilichevesk near Odessa. The former Saxonia sailed for scrapping in Alang, India in 2000, she was joined by the former Ivernia in 2004. While the Carinthia and Sylvania were sold to Sitmar Line and were radically rebuilt in Italy. They enjoyed huge success cruising in North America with Sitmar Line in their new look after their Italian rebuild and when Sitmar was sold to P&O both ships continued cruising for a while. In 2004 the former Sylvania sailed for scrapping at Alang, India and in 2006 the last survivor of the quartet also sailed for scrap in Alang, India. Remarkably just as all four ships were built in the same place, John Brown & Co. (Clydebank) Ltd, they all ended up being scrapped at Alang, India at the end of their seagoing careers. Sadly in 2006 the last of the Saxonia Sisters is no more.

The Saxonia Sisters were a remarkable quartet of ships which were designed for the Dominion service to Canada but after being sold by Cunard Line in the late 1960s and early 1970s went on to enjoy very diverse and varied careers. Sadly by the early 21st century their careers were coming to an end and by 2006 with the scrapping of the former Carinthia the last survivor of the Saxonia Sisters succumbed to the scrappers torch in Alang, India. 

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RMS Saxonia (1954)

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RMS Ivernia (1955)

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RMS Carinthia (1955)
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RMS Sylvania (1956)

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