Last update February 2010
Sailing on the United States
The largest, fastest, most luxurious passenger liner ever built in the United States captured the Transatlantic "Blue Riband" on her maiden voyage July 3,1952 making the eastbound crossing in 3 days 10 hours 40 minutes.
I knew we were going fast by looking out the porthole and seeing the water rush by. The ship had all the things a kid would love, good food, swimming, and movies every day and miles of corridors, rooms and decks to explore. The adults had a better appreciation of the first class service, luxurious interior furnishings and an atmosphere that reflected smart elegance and quiet taste. We sailed on her two more times and I now look back on these experiences with a deep appreciation for the opportunity to have sailed on the last American superliner. Larry Driscoll
THE UNITED STATES LIVES ON
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Copyright by Larry Driscoll 1998. No content of these pages may be borrowed or copied without written consent. (All submissions become the sole property of L Driscoll)
Click on the picture for full size view
I took this picture during the August Conservancy meeting at IKEA in Philadelphia. You are more than welcome to post this picture to your site. It had been a cloudy and rainy day and just at sunset, the clouds parted and illuminated 'our lady in waiting'.
THE S.S. UNITED STATES IS IN IMMANENT DANGER OF BEING SOLD FOR SCRAP.
HELP SAVE THIS NATIONAL TREASURE.
Which Captain of the United States appeared on a game show? Harry Manning John Anderson Leroy Alexanderson
How old was the youngest stowaway?
7 15 11
In 1977 Norwegian Caribbean Line was searching for an existing ship that could be converted to a cruise ship. Their first choice was the United States. Why did they wind up purchasing their second choice, the France?
What did the United States maintain a spare set of ?
The blueprints for the United States show a carpentry shop, located in the bow on Main deck. If the only wood on board was in the piano and butcher block, what did the carpenters do?
William Chiodo was a Carpenters Mate and eventually Chief Carpenter. He describes his work on the BIG U as follows. " Twice each day we took soundings of all the bilges, pipe spaces and ballast tanks. Much repair work had to be done, you have to make everything out of aluminum or stainless steel. No wood could be used. We also replaced porthole glass when they leaked or were blown out by heavy seas. We also prepared the anchor for dropping. We had to maintain 24 lifeboats, by greasing the release gear and the boat fall wheels. We worked 8 hrs a day 7 days a week. Harry Manning was the first Captain. We called him Hurry Up Harry. He was always in a hurry to maintain schedule, regardless of the weather. The ship would pound all night and you got very little sleep. The company got on him to slow down when the weather got bad. the best Skipper was John Anderson.
Bill Lee spent nearly thirty years in the
shipbuilding industry, including Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. He
writes. Did you know that the UNITED STATES had a complete extra set of props,
maintained at the ship yard for years? When she came in for her
'annual', one of the first things they did was pull all four of the old ones and
replace 'em. Then, the ones removed were taken to machine shop,
inspected and rebalanced, as necessary. Rebalancing usually entailed
buildup and grinding of eroded areas; sometimes the replacement of chunks of
missing metal along the leading edges where the spinning blades had hit
something or other. It was something to see those multi-ton, about
25 foot in diameter 'wheels' (as we called them) being turned at 100-200 rpm.
Afterwards, they were put on sturdy stands that usually sat behind
the main office building (only because that was close to the main machine shop).
For the first few years, they were covered with canvas (the two-five
bladed props were supposed to be secret); then they just sat there.
NCL, the innovative Norwegian Caribbean Line, had grown so much that they needed another ship. In 1977 the cruise market was booming and there wasn't time to build a totally new ship. Buying a ship from a competitor in prosperous times meant paying too much. Conversion to an existing ship was clearly the ideal solution to quickly expand the fleet.
For a time the leading candidate was the SS United States. But the sale was thwarted by the fact that several features of the "Big U" remained classified a US Military secret. The Line had to settle on their second choice the France.
Two years latter, in 1980, the government sold the ship to a real estate developer. The ship has been in steady decline since then.
Turns out they were not the only interested buyer. Recently received (4/11/04) an email from Michael Yannaghas who worked for the Chandris Lines London office. "Anthony Chandris made a long and serious study of the United States for possible acquisition for the Australia Run with a capacity of 4,500 berths.... The talks with US Lines and the US Maritime Commission foundered however on amongst other things her US troopship status."
NCL did finally buy the United States with the potential of converting her to a state of the art modern cruise ship in their U.S. Flagged fleet. The ship still lies in Philadelphia awaiting a decision from NCL
Source. Devon M Scott for NCL cruise bulletin.
From the International Herald Tribune, In our pages section, September
Captain John Anderson
appeared on the game show What's My Line?, on EPISODE #297 of February 12, 1956.
What's My Line? was one of network television's longest running and most beloved
prime time game shows, with a broadcast run of seventeen and one-half years.
The game consisted of four panelists trying to guess the occupation of a guest contestant. As the questioning rotated, a panel member asked questions, and the guest would answer either "yes" or "no." A contestant received $5 for each "no" answer, and ten "no" answers ended the game in favor of the contestant.
That evening Dorothy Kilgallen blew a golden opportunity when she asked the commodore if his vessel was "smaller than an ocean liner," to which he promptly answered "no." It then left the door wide open for Bennett Cerf, who made the correct guess.
Thanks to Suzanne Astorino What's My Line database manager at TV Tome for the information including biography of Captain Anderson. For more information on Captain Anderson and the show check out What's My Line?: EPISODE #297 - TV.com
Dear S/S United States supporters,
Recently, NCL sent a project team to Philadelphia to conduct an
extensive technical review of the venerable ship. We would like to report that
she is in good shape and we are taking very good care of her. We have also
cataloged over a hundred boxes of blueprints that we received from the
previous owners. Although not a complete set, the drawings will be of
real help to our technical team with their work.
When we announced the purchase of the S/S United States in April last
year, we talked about her potential to become a state-of-the-art modern
cruise ship in our U.S. Flagged fleet. We also talked about the fact that the
purchase and restoration of the vessel would be a long-term project as
we focused on Project America and our work to restore a new U.S. flag
operation to the cruise industry. We intend to do our part to return the U.S.
maritime industry to the greatness it once enjoyed.
As I'm sure you can imagine, this is a huge task. For example, without
a single U.S. flagged oceangoing cruise ship presently in operation,
there is no trained base of American crewmembers to tap, so we must find them
and train them all. We have also invested millions of dollars to start
building a new brand, NCL America, and the infrastructure that is required for a
U.S.flag operation. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars are being
invested in building our initial U.S. flagged cruise ships.
Although we are well under way in our endeavor, we have experienced a
setback as the first of the Project America vessels, Pride of America,
has been delayed. As some of you may know, the vessel listed 15 degrees
while docked at her shipyard and took on water up to three decks in a heavy
windstorm in January. The ship, which was slated to begin cruising on
July 4th in Hawaii, was recently refloated and we are working with the
shipyard to assess damages and determine a new delivery date for that ship.
As you can imagine, this has been a hurdle in the process, but we will
not be deterred from launching our U.S. Flag operation this year and
ensuring the continued employment of the more than 1,000 U.S. seafarers we have
already hired. Accordingly, we have announced the early introduction of
the U.S. flagged ship, Pride of Aloha, to take over Pride of America's
itinerary and to begin service in July.
Only with the success of these U.S. flagged ships in Hawaii and our
new U.S. flag operation will we be able to succeed with the even more
complex challenge of bringing back the S/S United States.
The outpouring of goodwill from many of you on Pride of America and our
purchase of the S/S United States is wonderful, and we salute the S/S
United States Foundation for the work done over the decades to preserve the
legacy of this amazing ship.
I also wanted to let you know that very soon we will begin selling the
"S/S United States Worlds Fastest Ship" aboard our entire fleet. The
publisher will continue to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation.
The S/S United States has a great maritime heritage, and we believe
that she has a great maritime future as well. We urge you to join with us in
supporting the return of U.S. flag passenger/cruise ships to the oceans
of the world.
The love for the S/S United States is real. To you, she has always been
more than a steel hull. And better than anybody, you know this ship's past
and its potential. And we know it too.
Director, Public Relations
Norwegian Cruise Line