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The T/N MICHELANGELO was launched on September 16, 1962 at Sestri shipyards in Genoa. Sea trials where carried out in March 1965 with delivery to the Italian Lines April 21, 1965. She would sail from Genoa to New York on her maiden voyage May 12, 1965. During her career she would make cruises to the Caribbean and to Rio.

Only one major accident happened to the MICHELANGELO; on April 12 while sailing to New York she would encounter a giant wave. Two passengers and one crew died in the incident. During the refit the aluminum forward superstructure would be replace with steel. The RAFFAELLO would also have her aluminum replaced at a later date.

With the increasing costs of oil and Union demands by spring 1975 the Italian Government announced that subsidies would be withdrawn. On July 12, 1975 the MICHELANGELO would sail from her home port of Genoa to La Spezia to be laid up.

Several cruise lines, Costa Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Homes Lines all looked at the MICHELANGELO and her sister RAFFAELLO for possible conversion to cruise service but, because of there size and the fact that the two ships where built as three class, First, Cabin, and Tourist transatlantic liners the cost would be too high to rebuild them. Home Lines showed the most interest in the ships and wanted to keep them registered in Italy, but the Italian Line said no to the deal.

In December 1976 she would be sold to the Shah of Iran to be used as barracks. The MICHELANGELO would sail under her own power to the port of Bandar Abbas. Rebuilt to accommodate 1,800 personnel, she would serve for 15 years in this role. Towed to Pakistan on June 7, 1991 where she would be scrapped.

Detail from Italian Line Deck Plans


The T/N RAFFEALLO was launched from the Monfalcone shipyards on March 24, 1963. Two years later on July 10, 1965 she would be ready for a shakedown cruise to the Mediterranean. On July 25 she would start her maiden voyage from Genoa to New York.

The RAFFEALLO would sail for only 10 years before competition from the air lines combined with the high fuel costs and the Union demands would become more than the Italian Government could justify. On April 21, 1975 she would sail from New York for the last time. In June the RAFFEALLO would be move to La Spezia to be moored along side her sister the MICHELANGELO.

Sold to the Shah of Iran in 1976, she would sail to Bushire to be turned into a barracks to accommodate 1,800 personnel. Both ships where looked at to see if they could be rebuilt into high-end cruise ships, but both had been neglected beyond any hope. On November 17, 1983 the RAFFAELLO would be bombed during the Iraq-Iran war. Partially sunk her damaged remains would be left for many years.

Detail from Italian Line Brochure

Length: 902 feet Beam: 102 feet 45,911 tons

Length: 904 feet Beam: 99 feet 45,933 tons

Michelangelo departing New York
Italian Line Post Card

Italian Lines Promotional Book


Michelangelo - First Class Dining Room

Michelangelo - First Class Suite


Raffaello - Chapel

Raffaello - Pool Cafe

For more information on these ships please visit the following site.

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