1994 - 1995 Service under the Star Lauro flag

Simplon Postcard 2098 by Dr. Errol M. Cornish
SYMPHONY 10.01.1995
16.11.1994 Mediterranean Shipping Company buys the ship for their  subsidiary Star Lauro, Neapel
30.11.1994 Star Lauro´s flagship ACHILLE LAURO sinks off the coast of Somalia on her way to South Africa after a fire
Beginning of  Dec. 1994 In a hurry the ENRICO COSTA is  repainted in Star Lauro colors and renamed SYMPHONY 
6.12.1994 The SYMPHONY takes the seas for South Africa, to take over the winter cruise program of ACHILLE LAURO  there
3.04.1995 SYMPHONY returns from her South-African mission to the Mediterranean
Conversion (see next page)
ab 20.05.1995
Summer programm: round trip cruises in the Western Mediterranean
Winter 1995/6
Additional refit (see two pages further)

If it weren’t for the recent conversion to an inexpensive motor vessel, the ENRICO COSTA probably wouldn’t have found a buyer and would have gone the way all steel ships must go sooner or later (to Pakistan or India to the brakers, where thousand low-paid hands demolish most of the old ships of the world under bad working conditions). On 16 November 1994 however a new owner was found , Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a corporation resident in Geneva, whose subsidiary Navitalia S.r.l. bought the ship. The MSC belongs to the 10 most important cargo ship companies of the world. The ship was transferred to the Star Lauro shipping company of Naples in December, another subsidiary belonging to MSC since 1987. Since for obvious reasons they could not keep the old name ENRICO COSTA, she was renamed SYMPHONY still at the beginning of December 1994. Since then all new ships of this shipping company were baptized on "musical" names. The home port Naples stayed the same; likewise the Italian flag still waved at her flagstock, like it had always been in Costa times; by the way in contrast to the other ships of the Star Lauro shipping company, which had selected the more economical homeports in Panama. Until spring of 1995 she was to be refitted in Genoa. On 30 November 1994 however a message arrived, which upset these plans: One of her fleetmates, the ACHILLE LAURO caught fire 30 nautical miles east of the Somali coast (East Africa) on a cruise to South Africa. Three days later, on 2 December 1994 she sank. The tragic loss claimed the life of three passengers. Now, hectic activity began: the Symphony should step into the breach and take over the South Africa program of the ACHILLE LAURO. Therefore she was only overhauled in all hurry and sent south with the colors of Star Lauro at the funnel (white star on blue funnel). As soon as 6 December she left port for Durban , South Africa. On 3 April 1995, at the end of the South Africa season, she returned to the Mediterranean and was sent to Genoa for that thorough refit (see next page), which originally was scheduled for the beginning of 1995.

 On 20 May 1995 the Symphony left port again after the conversion, which already was the 5. Conversion of her long and eventful life, was completed. She began the series of identical weekly cruises in the Western Mediterranean she was originally acquired for. On this route she could revive the success of the times as ENRICO C. In 1 October 1995 the name of the Star Lauro shipping company had been modified to Mediterranean Shipping Cruises. Along with the change of name also the new measurement of the ship had been entered in the shipping register: 16,741 GRT. That stands for gross tonnage, and replaces the earlier measurement, the methods of which had been manipulatable too easily. In the course of these changes an additional refit took place in winter 1995/6.

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