In 1959 Petros Potamianos separated and created the “NEW CONTINENTAL SHIPPING” where he continued to coastal shipping with the ships AEGEUS and EPIRUS. While Petros Potamianos starts something new and unprecedented for Greece. In 1953, with the cooperation of EOT and the ships SEMIRAMIS and ATREUS, start cruises in Greek islands where it becomes the first company to sail to the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean.
After SEMIRAMIS and ATREUS the company acquires the first HERMES in 1955 while in 1960 the two brothers boats PRINSES ELISABETH and PRINCES JOAN are bought and after transforming them it renames them HERMES and PEGASUS while expanding its activities to the rest of the Mediterranean.
SEMIRAMIS, after being transformed into a cruise ship for the execution of 5-day and 2-day cruises, was a forerunner of the fleet of Greek cruise ships. Chartered by the Hellenic Tourism Organization, it transported in a single year (in 1957) more than 8000 foreign and Greek travelers to the Aegean islands and to areas of natural beauty and archaeological and historical interest. The success of SEMIRAMIS cruises immediately demonstrated the need to strengthen its itineraries. In 1958 the AEGEAN of the Typaldos brothers, the ROMANTICA of the Chandris company, the first STELLA MARIS of SUN LINE and the DELOS of Markos Nomikos were added to the family of cruise ships.
All these ships were the vanguard of the Cruise industry.
1966 could be characterized as the time when the Greek cruise ship left the narrow space of the Mediterranean and spread its wings to the oceans. The ARGONAFTIS of the Continental was chartered for three twenty-day cruises approaching 20 ports in the Caribbean and Central America, starting at the port of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Its voyages began on January 15, 1966. It was the first step of the Greek ship to conquer the world market of cruise ships that followed in the following years.
At the same time, the company Chandri, in collaboration with the airline KLM, pioneered the development of the Fly cruise concept with charters from Europe to the Caribbean, thus giving the stigma of the expansion and development of Greek ships in the Caribbean.
This was followed by the flourishing of Greek-flagged cruise ships in the 1970s / 1980s and 1990s with the addition of notable cruise ship units of the companies Chandris, Periklis Panagopoulos, SUN LINES, FESTIVAL CRUISES, EPIROTIKI LINES, of the late George MAJESTIC INTERNATIONAL CRUISES and LOUIS CRUISES, today’s CELESTYAL CRUISES.