The Great French Trans Atlantic liner - SS France, that became the cruise ship SS Norway
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, CruisenShip Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.
Compagnie Generale Transatlantique - French Line
Sold to become - NCLs/Star Cruises SS Norway finally sold to the breakers - Bridgend Shipping & Priya Blues SS Blue Lady
SS France remained the Longest Liner until the completion of Cunards Queen Mary II
Normandie / Ile de France / Liberte
With the loss of
the Normandie in
SS Ile de France seen here with her third (dummy) funnel removed after being partially rebuilt in 1949
However, with Cunard operating the pride of their fleet with the 83,673-ton Queen Elizabeth, French Line directors decided to go one better than the British and build the longest passenger liner ever, to replace both the aging the Ile de France and Liberte, both of which were taken out of service by 1960. The 66,348-ton SS France was to be the last French liner to be built for the Trans-Atlantic service.
SS France departs on her maiden voyage January 1962
With thanks to Getty Images
For the next twelve
SS France was
designed to make 46 Trans-Atlantic crossing per year as well as a
series of winter cruises. On January 9, 1974, SS France departed
SS France in Sydney Australia on 16 February 1974
SS France at full speed ahead
First Class Grand Salon
All photographs below are sourced from a French Line brochure & from the authors collection
Tourist Class Smoking Room
First Class Restaurant
A grand view of the SS France
Authors private collection
French Line official Postcard
Room and the builder's plaque on the main turbine control panel
Engine Room and the builder's plaque on the main turbine control panel
July 1974 the French Government announced that it was not
prepared to provide any further subsidies, soon thereafter French
Line made it known that they would withdraw their flagship from
service on October 25, 1974. Upon her return from
I received a delightful piece from Wendy Konazeski in relation to her last voyage on SS France.
In the 1970's my parents, Mr and Mrs Francis Olmsted, took my siblings and myself, in my teen years, and sailed on the SS France. My time on this beautiful ship has remained one of the best memories of my life and I love recalling the sights and feelings of fun and laughter. I have even retained several menus from our last cruise with her. I recall Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the ship because while my mother was sitting on the deck she looked up to see me being escorted by a very handsome man. She could see that I had been up to some mischief and she was so embarrassed that Mr. Burton had his hand firmly on my shoulder and returned me to my mother for trying to look in his cabin. He was not too forceful but he did demand the respect of a father and I sure followed and apologized. I was wrong but the story has given us countless hours of laughter ever since.
sad SS France seen laid up at
Built by: Chantiers de lAtlantique, Saint Nazaire.
Dimensions: 1,035 X 109 ft (315.5 X 33.7 m).
Draught: 34 ft 4 in (10.80 m).
Propulsion: Parsons Steam Turbines, built by the builders.
Service Speed: 30 knots (35 maximum).
Stabilizers: Two pairs.
Passengers: 407 First.
1,637 Tourist (250 interchangeable cabins).
From Sophistication to Glitz
1979 SS France was sold to Klosters Rederi A/S, for the Norwegian
Cruise Line (currently owned by the Malaysian Genting
Casino group, who also operate Star Cruises and own Orient Line).
SS France was turned into a grand but glitzy cruise ship. She was
renamed SS Norway and commenced cruise duties in the
Page Two continues her story how she turned for a grand Trans-Atlantic liner to the worlds largest cruise ship in her day!
The magnificent SS France, the way we love to remember her
Page One SS France.
Page Two SS Norway.
Page Three SS Norway Blue Lady.
QE2 passes the
Photo Photographer Don Tremain presents his experience and four photographs.
Tomas-Rosales shares his photographs of the
Photo Michael and Lee Ann Pavlick honeymoon cruise in 2002.
Photo A series of photographs of SS Blue Lady in Alang.
Story Pauli Dangerousli describes his 1997 cruise on the SS Norway.
Story The Ship that Saved my Life The Karl Henrik Henriksen Story (2 pages).
Article Surreal times on the SS France by Patrick Jackson.
Brochure This inaugural SS Norway brochure (1980) was provided by Mr. Michael Bobo.
Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the authors private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
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