1961 First conversion

Stern of PROVENCE 50s
Picture of the ship's stern of the 1950s wanted!
Stern of PROVENCE 60s
Picture of the stern of the early 1960s wanted!
End of 1960 PROVENCE and BRETAGNE laid up
End of 1960 SGTM and COSTA agree on joint South-America-service conducted by PROVENCE
January 1961 Conversion in Genoa. Masts and dormitories removed
05.04.1961 Trials in the  Ligurian Gulf
Therefore it comes as no surprise, that SGTM took the ships out of service at the end of 1960. The management looked for another employment for the ships, and this was found quickly: While the BRETAGNE was chartered to the shipping company Chandris, for the emigrant service to Australia, SGTM could arrange a return to the River-Plate-service for the PROVENCE in co-operation with Costa Line. At this time the Costa shipping company, marketed also under the label Linea „C.“, looked for alliances against the all-powerful state-run Italia S.A.N on the South America route, the main route that Costa worked on. Both ships were re-equipped thereupon in Genoa for their new functions, starting in January 1961. The PROVENCE received additional cabins with two, four or six beds which replaced the dormitories. The Lido deck was extended aft and she was equipped with a swimming pool for second class at the stern as well as a chapel, as usual with Italian led ships (First Class passengers enjoyed the mass in a built-in-chapel in their lounge since the inauguration). The Third Class had a pool on the foredeck. She now became fully air-conditioned. Her measurement thereby increased somewhat (15,889 GRT). Outwardly most remarkable was the loss of her masts on fore deck and aft, in exchange for a small radar-mast on the roof of the wheelhouse. Additionally her hull was painted white now, as it was already common with cruise ships at that time. In the whole the PROVENCE looked somewhat more modern outwardly now. Co-operation with Costa was not revealed by the outer appearance, because the color-scheme of the SGTM remained on the funnel (despite the fact that SGTM had been taken over by the French shipping company Fraissinet).
On 5 April she set out for trials in the Ligurian gulf, in order to test the engines.

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