Although Anthony Chandris’ first plunge into the pleasure cruise industry ended 20 years ago, one of the eponymous Chandris Cruises’ subsidiaries continues to attract holidaymakers from all around the world – Celebrity Cruises. In fact, the signature ‘X’ which is still central to Celebrity Cruises’ branding and personality is derived from Chandris’ original cruise line – the X is the Greek letter, Chi, representing Chandris.
The Chandris family had a longstanding business relationship with ocean-faring, Anthony’s father had owned a freight shipping company, and Anthony’s brother, Dimitri, was a prominent part of the Charlton Steam Shipping Company.
Although it is not the line which bears his name, and one which was launched after his death; Celebrity Cruises looks to be the line for which Anthony Chandris will be best remembered. Launched in 1988 as the modern cruise industry was starting to take shape, Chandris’ descendants transferred an aging Italian liner to the newly formed Celebrity Cruises as the first member of the fleet.
In the following eight years Celebrity Cruises really started to blossom, with four new ships entering service under the livery. However, this success continued to detract from the Chandris Cruises brand, and Anthony Chandris took the difficult decision to disband his original cruise line in 1996 – concentrating his efforts entirely on Celebrity Cruises.
Anthony Chandris’ father (John D. Chandris) was a successful shipping magnate, buying his first ship, the SS Dimitrios, at the tender age of 25. By the end of the WWI, Chandris Sr had a fleet of four ships, including steamships – meaning Anthony grew up fully immersed in the shipping industry.
When WWII broke out, the Chandris family moved to England where John D. continued to run Chandris Cruises until his retirement in 1939. When the WWII ended, Anthony and brother, Dimitri, starting making industry inroads of their own, by acquiring the Newcastle-based Charlton Steam Shipping Company, which specialised in relocating post-war refugees.
In 1960, Anthony launched Chandris Cruises, pioneering pleasure cruises around the Mediterranean, as well as Chandris Lines which specialised in transporting Europeans to a new life in Australia. In the 1970s, the Chandris brothers had the largest fleet in the world, operating 13 ships between them.
Right until his death in 1984, Chandris continued to work closely with his cruise line and the maritime industry – even setting up the first Greek insurance company for shipping. His pioneering spirit lived on in brother Dimitri’s children (who took control of Chandris Cruises in lieu of Anthony’s lack of offspring) as they formed Celebrity Cruises in 1998.
One of the largest cruise lines in service today, Celebrity Cruises currently operates 10 ships with another four set to enter into service by 2020. In 1997, Celebrity Cruises merged with Royal Caribbean to form a mega-cruise company which also includes the Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France brands. And although his name does not live on in the cruise line, his X initial has provided the backdrop for thousands of cruise trips since his death over 30 years ago.
And if you are interested in paying tribute to the man who inspired Celebrity Cruises with a cruise aboard the fleet, visit our dedicated page here or call our customer services team on 0800 230 0655.