Launched in 1908, Principessa Mafalda ran Genoa-South-American crossings for Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI). For many years, she was considered the fastest and most luxurious liner linking southern Europe to South America.
A compact liner, the 9,210 GRT Principessa Mafalda was 463 feet long and 56 feet at beam. She could carry up to 1,500 passengers in three classes.
Yet by late 1927 Principessa Mafalda was beginning to show her age. General neglect was evident and there were rumors that the liner would soon be sold to a buyer who planned to convert her into a Mediterranean cruise ship.
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