To Messageries Maritimes.


The Cambodge (13,217 grt) sailed on her maiden voyage to Yokohama in 1953. She was sold to Sun Line in 1970, renamed Stella Solaris and thoroughly rebuilt. She appeared as a cruise ship in 1973 and was sold for scrap 30 years later.

Her sisters, the Viet-Nam (13,162 grt) and Laos (13,212 grt), came into service in 1952 and 1954 respectively. They were both sold in 1970 to be employed in the pilgrim service until both were destroyed by fire in the mid-1970s.

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Excerpts from the brochure describing the Cambodge:

"The intermediate steamer Cambodge was built for the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes by the Ateliers et Chantiers de France at Dunkirk. She is similar to the Viet-Nam and Laos, and like these two vessels intended for the Indo-China and Far East service."

"The Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodge are of identical type with the following main characteristics: length 532', breadth 72', displacement when loaded approximately 15 150 tons and deadweight capacity approximately 6 400 tons; propelling machinery developing 19 600 h.p., giving a service speed of 21 knots."

"... special attention has been given to ventilation, so important when operating in tropical waters. In the dining rooms, first class cabins, some of the tourist class cabins and the hairdressing saloons, the air is renewed frequently by a permanent air-conditioning system.

As on the sister ships, fire-fighting equipment of a most advanced type is provided in the form of a sprinkler system, which at the same time acts as a fire-detector. The Cambodge is fitted with the most reliable navigational aids - radar, gyro pilot, gyro compass and ultra-sonic detector. As on the sister ships, there is a Denny-Brown stabilizer, which considerably reduces rolling and avoids slackening speed in bad weather.

The Cambodge is designed to accomodate 117 first class, 110 tourist class and 312 steerage passengers with cabin accomodation for 52.

M. Jean Leleu was responsible for the decoration scheme. The harmonious arrangement of masses and colours, the variety of materials used and the co-operation of a team of selected artists have transformed the luxuriously fitted Cambodge into a veritable palace.

The first class cabins located on C and D decks, some of which have the advantage of a private balcony, are comfortable and spacious. The de luxe suite on D deck, comprising private balcony and bathroom, and a charming oval state room communicating with the dressing-room, is a delight to the eye with its sutle inter-play of yellow and blue-grey tones. Tourist class cabins are located on C deck.

The public rooms reserved for first class passengers are: the main lounge with lacquered light wood panelling on which are depicted figures of the 'Comédie-Italienne', blending with the beige-tinted fabrics and full carpet, and a rosewood cabinet concealing an altar inlaid with liturgical motifs; the hall with a small circular recess bright with colourful ceramics; the card room furnished with inlaid sycamore; the writing room in which soft shades of yellow and green create the appropriate restful atmosphere; the smoking room-bar with its ceiling decorated by Despierre, with its deep blue upholstery, and its terrace together with the open-air swimming-pool combining to form a veritable Lido. And finally, the dining room with its domed ceiling encircled by a garland of sculpted sea-nymphs, large bay-windows and fluorescent lighting recreating the daylight, and the Grau Sala paintings whose grace and humour recall the charms of a Paris of days gone by...

For the tourist class passengers, there is a dining room full of warmth and harmony, where polished oak panelling sets off the pleasant landscape scenes. and a smokeroom with lacquered partitions, enlivened with ceramic decorations full of humour and the spontaneous charm of a Hamburg oil painting."

"As on the sister ships, there is a children's nursery and play centre, on F deck. There are also two hairdressing saloons, an ironing room, a photographic dark room and a laundry equipped with the latest apparatus."

"Cinema performances for first and tourist class passengers ... are given in the tourist class dining room."

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The Viet-Nam:


First class lounge:
"... with oak inlaid parquet flooring and bold coloured Savonnerie carpets. The room is lit up at night by eleven chandeliers and furnished with small round tables blending pale polished sycamore with chairs upholstered in grey and green leather, while lavish tapestries by Saint-Saens decorate the walls; in the starboard corner, there is an altar for the performance of religious services, whose austere bronze panel is decorated with a superb enamel by Rouault, worked by the monks of the Benedictine Order at the Abbey of Ligugé ..."


First class card and writing room:
"... with bronze walls, hung with filmy curtains ..."


First class smoking room


De luxe suite:
"Its a symphony of blue and grey, consisting of a room with twin beds, where a large yellow shantung curtain may be drawn to give a more intimate effect;
a state room with a private balcony looking out to sea, and a bathroom."


First class cabin(s):
"... with lacquered or polished walls and furniture in sycamore, walnut, mahogany or ash, each have one or two beds and a combined chest - dressing table and writing desk ..."

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The Cambodge:


First class writing room:
"... soft shades of yellow and green ..."


Tourist class lounge


Children's play room


First class dining room:
"... with its domed ceiling encircled by a garland of sculpted sea-nymphs, large bay-windows and fluorescent lighting recreating the daylight ..."

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The Laos:


First class bar:
" ... (and) smokeroom with its warm cheerful atmosphere, overlooking the open-air swimming pool ..."


Swimming pool:
"... where the bold contrast of black, yellow, blue and grey ceramics delights the eye with its display of colour."


First class lounge:
"... whose delicate combination of reseda, grey and black tones harmonise with the sycamore panels, showing off two magnificent tapestries by Pierre Pothier ..."


First class dining room:
"... a light room in which white sycamore predominates, and where the panoramic murals by Felix Labisse, a master of poetical realism, add to the spacious effect."


Hairdressing saloon

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From a 1950s Messageries Maritimes promotional brochure/route map (see below).

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Philippe Ramona's website on the Messageries Maritimes has pages with many more photos of the Cambodge, Laos and Viet-Nam.

You may use my images on another website.
Then please credit them as being from the collection of Björn Larsson,
and preferably provide a link to my Introduction page.
Thank you!

This page last updated February 11, 2006.