America First Class

America first class luggage sticker3When the America began her Atlantic crossings in 1946 some travel agents questioned the ship’s ability to attract affluent passengers. Cunard lines offered bigger and faster ships in the Queen Mary and Elizabeth. Their service was impeccable. America met the competition and over the years attracted a loyal following. This was accomplished by offering luxurious First Class facilities with service that was superlative yet genuine and friendly.  In addition she offered something no other ship had, a piece of America at sea, a more democratic spirit; a fresh new world appeal. As this country’s ship of state she was a showcase for the best in American engineering, art, craftsmanship, interior design and cuisine. The ship was an all American product. From the Oregon pine decking to the Rhode Island silverware on the tables, practically every State in the Union contributed material and equipment. The interiors were fashioned by American designers, architects and decorators. The food featured the best regional cuisine.  It all came together to create a truly First Class experience that would attract tourist, diplomats, royalty and Hollywood stars. First Class fare to Southampton in 1951 was $295.00 and up in First Class, $200.00 in Cabin and $160 in Tourist. For that price passengers sailed on a floating luxury resort offering the refinement and conveniences of the finest American hotel. They enjoyed expansive deck space and elegant public rooms. First Class had the best location, amid ship, away from the vibration of churning propellers and the impact of waves slamming into the bow. It was a wonderful way to travel, civilized, luxurious, entertaining, relaxing, and friendly without being stuffy. The America set the standard for American First Class travel at sea. America add1     When the America began her Atlantic crossings in 1946 some travel agents questioned  the ship’s ability to attract affluent passengers. Cunard lines offered bigger and faster ships in the Queen Mary and Elizabeth. Their service was impeccable.    America met the competition and over the years attracted a loyal following. This was accomplished by offering luxurious First Class facilities with service that  was superlative yet genuine and friendly.  In addition she offered something no other ship had, a piece of America at sea, a more democratic spirit; a fresh new world appeal.    As this country’s ship of state she was a showcase for the best in American engineering, art, craftsmanship, interior design and cuisine.    The ship was an all American product. From the Oregon pine decking to the Rhode Island silverware on the tables. Practically every State in the Union contributed material and equipment.    The interiors were fashioned by American designers, architects and decorators. The food featured the best regional cuisine.  It all came together to create a truly First Class experience that would attract tourist, diplomats, royalty and Hollywood stars.   First Class fare to Southampton in 1951was $295.00 and up in First Class, $200.00 in Cabin and $160 in Tourist.    For that price passengers sailed on a floating luxury resort offering the refinement and conveniences of the finest American hotel. They enjoyed expansive deck space and elegant public rooms. First Class had the best location, amid ship, away form the vibration of churning propellers and the impact of waves slamming into the bow.    It was a wonderful way to travel, civilized, luxurious, entertaining, relaxing, friendly without being stuffy. The America set the standard for American First Class travel at sea.

Staterooms with Room to Spare   ” Staterooms are larger, more comfortable than you ever imagined. Modern furnishings give the America’s rooms that clean, uncluttered look that is so pleasing and attractive. You’ll be delighted with the full-length mirrors, wall -to-wall carpeting, deep wardrobe drawers, beds with innersprings mattresses… large closets that accommodate the longest evening gowns.”

US Lines brochure America U39 color1 America U49 (1) America U62

An 

An evening at the races

scan0002 - CopyA favorite evening activity, racing took place in the Main Lounge. John Lock, the purser on this August 1949 picture was in charge. Described as systematic about the business of having fun, he would exhort the usually staid crowd with statements such as.

   ” Let us all have lots of fun and remember the more ENTHUSIASTIC! you are the better your horse will respond in the race.”

  “I recommend giving the horses funny names such …such as Chilly, by Cold Wind out of Atlantic; Pop, by Cork and Bottle; Mal de Mer, by Trouble out of Rough Seas; Highball, by Scotch out of Bottle.

————————————————————————————————————-

FIRST CLASS SMOKING ROOM America smoke people2 ” where joy and good fellowship reign”

  Today smokers are ostracized, smoking rooms on ships are a thing of the past, but  in the 1940’s they had the best room in the ship. Located forward on Promenade Deck, it was a large circular room measuring 86 by 56 feet. The bow the semi-circular windows provided panoramic view of the ocean and horizon. To soften the light from the sun and sea, the interior designers included soft blue hand woven curtains, walls of ebonized beech wood and a rubber floor of deep brown and beige. A feature of the room is the large attractive bar, well stocked with the finest kinds of liquor, and staffed by bartenders adept in mixing popular drinks of the day. Comfortable Lackawanna leather covered chairs, blue outside and red inside, were grouped around tables of ebonized beach with bronze pedestals. United States Lines described it as ” The room that you can reminisce to your heart’s content and at night join in the exciting bidding of the auction pool of the next day’s ship’s mileage.”

scan0004————————————————————————————————————————-

America smoke people2Dining is a Pleasure !

   ” Especially in the air-conditioned Dining Saloons on the America ! The invigorating ocean breezes will tempt your appetite. From the many tasty dishes you have to choose from,       you’ll be sure to find just what you like. Gleaming china… snowy white table linens… highly polished silver…freshly cut flowers… sparkling goblets… soft, indirect lighting… a world famous cuisine-American and international-prepared by master chefs. Attentive stewards take pride in pleasing you” . US Lines Brochure

menu.h1     fstcld1                   ——————————————————————————————————————-    Those who venerated a good drink would come together around the bar in what was simply called the “Cocktail Lounge”. This H shaped room was a dark and elegant watering hole. A favorite meeting place before lunch and dinner and equally popular for the after dinner brandy. Dark ebonized paneling was offset by bright green leather banquettes and bar stools. Cream colored drapes kept out any offending natural light. Carved Lucite columns shed a low indirect glow on  imbibing patrons. The illuminated ceiling was covered by three amusing paintings depicted  shipboard life by Constantine Alajalov   When I traveled on the ship in 1950 I was too young to appreciate this room. Today I  imagine sitting on the soft green leather banquettes, a dry martini in hand, enjoying a good conversation and the gentle sway of the ship. And, for mental diversion, looking up and smiling at the shipboard foibles the 300 characters on the glowing ceiling. America barroom

America First class deck

Picture from the Brian Petersen collection