At the outbreak of World War I, König Albert sought refuge in neutral Italy. She was interned there until May 1915, when Italy joined the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Almost immediately, the liner was seized by the Italian government. König Albert was then converted into a hospital ship and renamed Ferdinando Palasciano, in honor of a prominent Italian physician and politician.
After the war, Italy chartered Ferdinando Palasciano to Navigazione Generale Italiana. In June 1920 she resumed sailing her old Genoa-Naples-New York route. She completed six round trip voyages on this run, the last one beginning on 13 April 1921.
In 1922 the liner was renamed Italia and used as a floating exhibition ship. She was scrapped in Italy in 1926.
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