Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SS "LEONARDO DA VINCI" a remarkable liner with a short career

The SS "LEONARDO DA VINCI" was an ocean liner built by ANSALDO SHIPYARDS at Genoa in 1960, the ship was intended as a replacement for the ill-fated ANDREA DORIA to operate on the North Atlantic run with ITALIAN LINE, she was as built 33.340 GRT and had a top speed of 25.5 knots. The ship left on her maiden voyage on the 30th June 1960 from Genoa to New York, she was kept on this service until 1965 when the new superliners MICHELANGELO and RAFFAELLO entered service, LEONARDO was then used on cruising in the MED, CARIBBEAN, SOUTH and NORTH AMERICA, after the withdrawal of the new superliners from service on the North Atlantic due to lack of passengers  LEONARDO was back on the transtlantic service, but only for a brief spell, she went back to cruising until 1978 when she arrived at La Spezia in Italy to be laid up, she caught fire in 1980 and was considered a total loss, she was finally scrapped in 1982, a brief career for such a beautiful ship, she was not a lucky vessel unfortunately, she has never properly been converted to full time cruising, so never very profitable. Images of my private collection


  1. From what I have read she also had a very high fuel consumption, which undoubtedly had a negative effect on her performance both as a cruise ship and as a liner.

  2. Hi Kalle
    thanks for your comment, yes very true, these 50's and 60's liners propelled by steam turbines had an extremely high comsumption, to be later converted as cruise ships many saw their engine rooms cut in half, like FRANCE, propellers changed, CANBERRA,QE2 saw a radical change, LEONARDO unfortunately was left as original, so never really profitable, also on short cruises, turbines are too expensive, too many manoeuvres, they don't feel comfortable, they were conceived for long distance voyages, so that they could keep stable, learn that on the GUGLIELMO MARCONI's engine room in 1976, also apparently many of leonardo's cabins were left untouched so therefore never used, shame, she had a very short active life, deserved better luck

    all the best

  3. Hello
    From the published information on Da Vinci, Ansaldo threw her together. Apparently they stretched the Doria/Columbo hull by 100 feet. This increased her weight. It also altered the optimum hull form, increasing draft causing the engines to work harder propelling the ship forward. Increased work, increased fuel consumption. The engineers and builders of Da Vinci did lots of things wrong. Italia could have prevented design flaws had management understood the problems. They redeemed themselves with the super liners M & R but face it, Italia was not too swift managing these ships either.