When Italian Line removed Leonardo da Vinci (1960) from service for the second and last time on 23 September 1978, it marked the end of the company’s attempt to reconfigure itself as a cruise line after the collapse of its transatlantic passenger business.
Leonardo da Vinci was the last of Italian Line’s liners to remain in transatlantic service, continuing on her Mediterranean route until June 1976. After sitting idle for several months, the vessel was returned to service in 1977 as a cruise ship, carrying passengers on one-night jaunts between Miami and Nassau, Bahamas.
Sales were far from robust. Like most true ocean liners, Leonardo da Vinci proved to be a poor fit for full-time cruise service, particularly on such a short route. On 23 September 1978, she was again withdrawn from service and returned to La Spezia, Italy, to be laid up
Leonardo da Vinci never sailed again. Despite occasional rumors that she would be acquired by one company or another, the liner sat idle for nearly two years. On 4 July 1980, a fire broke out on board Leonardo da Vinci. After burning for four days, she capsized.
The wreck was eventually righted and towed to a nearby breaker. Leonardo da Vinci was scrapped in 1982.