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Author Archives: Michael L. Grace

The SS UNITED STATES won’t be scrapped – For Now

Supporters of the SS United States have struck a preliminary deal “to protect and repurpose” the Newport News-built ocean liner, a monument to a bygone era seeking new life as a modern waterfront attraction. Details were scarce Monday in an announcement from the SS United States Conservancy, the nonprofit group that owns the ship. However, it was clear more work ... Read More »

The World’s First Cruise Ship…

The SS Prinzessin Victoria Luise… Built for the Hamburg America Line, she was launched on June 29, 1900 and served as a cruising passenger ship until December 16, 1906 after being accidentally grounded off Jamaica. With cruises targeted toward wealthy travelers, the Victoria Luise was designed to look more like a private yacht than any of her commercial counterparts. She ... Read More »

SOCIAL AND LINER HISTORY: SS Columbus of the North German Lloyd Ship Line

The plans for a German liner to be called “Columbus” had been made as early as 1914 when North German Lloyd had placed orders for two 34,000 ton ships to counter the impressive Hamburg American trio “Imperator”, “Vaterland” and “Bismark”. The North German twins were to be called “Columbus” and “Hindenberg”, but war would postpone their construction by over six ... Read More »

THE “FIRST” ALL GAY CRUISE… 28 years ago…

It is a retro look at gay life. Operated by gay pioneer RSVP the passengers dubbed the ship Bermuda Star Cruise Line ship the SS BRENDA STARR. Retro cruising on the “SS BERMUDA STAR” – the ship was a.k.a. “SS Brenda Starr”.. One of the first all gay cruises – Cruising on the SS BERMUDA STAR in 1987 aboard the second ... Read More »

EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINES – New York to Boston…

Eastern Steamship Lines was one of the last American flag coastal passenger services. In 1901, Charles Wyman Morse merged together the Boston &. Bangor Steamship Company, the Portland Steam Packet Company, the International Steamship Company, and several local lines on the Maine coast to form the Eastern Steamship Company. 1910 Postcard photograph of passengers arriving/departing from the Eastern Steamship Landing ... Read More »

Sailing aboard the wonderful RMS ORCADES in the 1950s and 1960s…

The RMS Orcades was an ocean liner serving primarily the UK – Australia – New Zealand route. She started service as a British Royal Mail Ship (RMS) carrying first and tourist class passengers. Orcades carried many migrants to Australia and New Zealand and was later used as a cruise ship. Built at the Barrow yard of Vickers-Armstrongs, Orcades (yard no. 950) ... Read More »

Fire at Sea: Tragedy of the SS Morro Castle

On the morning of 8 September 1934, en route from Havana to New York, the ship caught fire and burned, killing 137 passengers and crew members.   She was a luxury ocean liner of the 1930s that was built for the Ward Line for runs between New York City and Havana, Cuba. The Morro Castle was named for the Morro ... Read More »

Elsa Maxwell: the greatest celebrity of all-time…

Pianist, gossip columnist, TV star, and above all a giver of great parties, Elsa Maxwell was famous for being herself. She was most likely far more interesting than the celebrities she covered. Elsa Maxwell first worked as a theatre pianist after leaving school at the age of 14 and before touring with a troupe in various music halls. Elsa Maxwell, ... Read More »

OCEAN PRINCESS will be joining the Oceania Cruises fleet.

One of Princess Cruises’ smallest ships, the 672-passenger Ocean Princess, soon will be joining the Oceania Cruises fleet. Oceania’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), today announced a definitive agreement to buy the 15-year-old vessel from Princess with the transfer set to take place in March 2016. Originally designed for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises, the Ocean Princess is a sister ... Read More »

1960s – P&O liners…

Visiting San Francisco. 1960s – Photo from Cruise History – San Francisco, California…  P&O liners SS CANBERRA (docked at the Matson Line pier) and the SS ARCADIA (in background) sailing away. Read More »

The Pump Room at Chicago’s former Ambassador East Hotel

When Ernie Byfield opened The Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel on October 1, 1938, he undoubtedly had little idea that he was beginning an enterprise that would still be thriving to this day. Today, The Pump Room remains highly acclaimed restaurant and Chicago landmark. Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast inside the Ambassador East Hotel, the Pump Room’s traditional ... Read More »

1948 Olympic Team sails aboard liner America

The USA Olympic Team sailed aboard the SS America. The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in London, England, United Kingdom. The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in London, England, United ... Read More »

Canadian 1930s Liners – The “Drunken Duchesses”

SS Duchess of York was one of the several sturdy Canadian Pacific liners which were known as “Drunken Duchesses” for their lively performance in heavy seas. She was built as a sister ship to the SS Duchess of Bedford, the SS Duchess of Atholl, and the SS Duchess of Richmond. The vessel was created for transatlantic service; and she was ... Read More »