The Achille Lauro, originally the Willem Ruys, a passenger liner, was a cruise ship based in Naples, Italy. She is most remembered for her 1985 hijacking.
Ordered in 1938, her keel was laid in 1939 at Vlissingen, Netherlands, for Rotterdamsche Lloyd. Interrupted by World War II and two bombing raids, the ship was not launched until July 1946 as the Willem Ruys. Completed in late 1947, she began her maiden voyage on December 2, 1947. She was 192 metres (630 ft) in length, 25 metres (82 ft) in beam, had a draught of 8.9 metres (29.2 ft), and measured 21,119 gross register tons. Eight Sulzer engines drove two propellers. She could accommodate 900 passengers.
In 1964, she was sold to the Flotta Lauro Line, or Star Lauro, (now MSC Cruises) and renamed the Achille Lauro (after the company owner). Extensively rebuilt and modernized after an August 1965 onboard explosion, the Achille Lauro entered service in 1966 carrying passengers to Sydney, Australia. The ship played a role in evacuating the families of British servicemen caught up in the Six Day War, arriving in Cairo on June 1, 1967.