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I See a Ship in the Harbour - Part 4 - Ocean Liners - Post-WW II
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The second World War was as devastating to ships as it was to the people who sailed them. But life carried on...
Of the pre-war giants only the Queen Mary came through in one piece
She was joined by her sister the Queen Elizabeth - a ship launched just in time to serve as a troopship...
...and wouldn't have a 'proper' maiden arrival till the late 1940s
Cunard also built the Parthia & Media for the not-in-a-great-hurry trade
The Italians lost nearly everything but a few smallers vessels allowed them to earn enough to build the a pair of fine ships they named the Cristoforo Colombo and - seen here - the Andrea Doria
Sadly the Doria was lost. Many of her passengers were rescued by the galant old Ile de France
She'd been considerably changed after the war, losing a funnel in the process
For the loss of the Normandie the French Line was given Germany's Europa which sat out the war. It was a hard job rebuilding her - for one thing, the Germans never installed a wine cellar - and they had to refloat her after a storm but she finally emerged as the Liberté
She was a favourite of Hollywood with 'The French Line' and' Sabrina' filmed aboard her and even making a cameo appearance in 'How to Marry a Millionaire'
The Germans eventually recovered from losing everything again...
...and purchased the old Gripsholm
renaming her the Berlin - seen here following the Ille de France out to sea
America decided to reenter the superliner race in a big way with the SS United States
She was the last ocean liner to compete for and win the Blue Riband for fastest passenger ship on the Atlantic run
a record she holds to this day
The 1950s were the last golden age for ocean liners and with the arrival of jet travel their days would soon be numbered...
The assemblage on the Hudson was still an amazing sight
And new ships were being built...
Holland America Line's Rotterdam
The P&O Line's Canberra
Moore McCormack Line's Argentina & Brasil
In 1962 the French Line replaced the Liberté with the spectacular SS France - seen here sailing under the incomplete Verrazano Narrows bridge
She would be one of the last ocean liners designed solely for the North Atlantic trade only
In the mid-60s the Italian Line threw economic caution to the wind with the Michelangelo and Raffaello
They were designed to be used as cruise ships from time to time but they never made a profit doing so and were laid up in the 1970s
By the latter end of the 1960s only one out of five people made the Atlantic crossing by sea...
The energy crisis of 1974 would further decimate their ranks. The United States and France were mothballed - the Queen Mary had been turned into tourist attraction - the Queen Elizabeth burned out in Hong Kong harbour on the eve of a revival. The Italian twins wre sold to Iran in 1977. The France was converted into the cruise ship Norway and was recently scrapped.
Into this environment the Cunard Line launched the Queen Elizabeth 2
Her 1969 maiden arrival
Docking marks for the various ships - one has been buffed out
Cunard was the first in the transatlantic steamer trade and with the QE 2 the last
She served for many a crossing and even did time as a troopship for the Falklands campaign
In the 90s she was refitted with Diesel engines - the Cunard Line loved to tinker with her
She was finally retired a couple years ago. A new generation of megaships sail today but none of the style and grace of an ocean liner
This article has been viewed 17911 times in the last 3 years
Deidre Lee: 29th Jan 2011 - 18:22 GMT
This site brings pleasant memories to me....as a young girl we used to love to walk over to the piers and see the magnificent giants lined up all together awaiting their passengers. I sailed from there many times...The SS United States, The Rotterdam, The Ilde de France, the Michelangelo....sad days gone.
Larry Covellone: 4th Apr 2012: 4th Apr 2012 - 15:40 GMT
June 1957 - Mom and I sailed out from NYC on the Saturnia to visit my grandparents in Italy. Two months later we sailed back on the Vulcania. I was only 7 years old but I can still recall those 24 days at sea (total for both trips) as if it was yesterday. Every now and then certain sounds and smells will take me right back there in my memory. And the food!!! Wow!!! Thanks for a great piece of history.
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