- The Messageries Maritimes ships, the Calédonien and the Tahitian (later reborn as the cruise ship Atalante), sailed for two decades (1952 to 1972) on regular round trips lasting almost four months between Marseilles and Sydney.
- The two ships were beautifully designed passenger-cargo liners.
- These handsome ships carried cargo, passengers, and military personnel to French outposts in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
- They were amongst the last of the real working cargo-passenger liners, plying their trade until long sea journeys were displaced by mass jet passenger travel.
- The ships accommodated 373 passengers: First Class 71; Tourist Class 84; Third Class 142; Steerage (Dormitory) 76.
- First class accommodations were located on first two decks of the superstructure with the public rooms and swimming pool on Promenade Deck. Most were a twin or three berths; all had private facilities.
- Tourist class cabins were for two or four berths all outside but without private facilities. Third and steerage were basic but comfortable.
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