The SS Constitution was a passenger ship owned by American Export Lines. She was commissioned in 1951. She sailed on the New York-Genoa-Naples and Gibraltar route to Europe. The Constitution was a sister ship to the SS Independence. The ships were two of the world’s most famous, popular, and innovative ocean liners, following World War 2. They were symbols of American maritime design and construction. They were big, fast, and very comfortable.
1955: Officers and crew assemble aboard the SS Constitution docked in Manhattan.
- The SS Constitution was an ocean liner owned by American Export Lines. Commissioned in 1951, she started her long career sailing on the New York-Genoa-Naples-Gibraltar route to Europe. Constitution was a sister ship to the SS Independence.
- SS Constitution was featured in several episodes of the situation comedy I Love Lucystarring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, starting with episode 140, “Bon Voyage,” aired December 1, 1955. Lucy Ricardo missed the ship and had to be ferried by air by a then-novel helicopter.
- American movie actress Grace Kelly sailed aboard SS Constitution from New York to Monaco for her wedding to Prince Rainier in 1956.
- SS Constitution was featured in the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
She was also featured in the beginning and end of an episode of the Naked City TV series titled “No Naked Ladies in Front of Giovanni’s House!” aired April 17, 1963.
- The ship also featured prominently in the Magnum, P.I. television series episode titled “All Thieves on Deck” aired January 30, 1986.
- Following service on American Export’s “Sunlane” cruise to Europe in the ’50s and ’60s the two ships sailed for American Hawaii Cruises for many years in the ’80s and ’90s; as U.S. ships with U.S. crews meeting the criteria of the Passenger Services Act they were able to cruise the Islands without sailing to a foreign port.
- SS Constitution was retired in 1995; while under tow to be scrapped, the liner sank north of the Hawaiian Islands on November 17, 1997; 700 nautical miles (1,300 km).
Grace Kelly sailing aboard the Constitution, with her family and friends, sailing to Monaco for her royal wedding. Newsreel. She was major celebrity.
Beginning her career in 1951, the Constitution was a new kind of ship for a new kind of traveler. Far less intimidating than pre-war ships like the French Line’s Ile de France or Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, the ship was conceived with glamorous informality in mind. Unlike European steamship lines, American companies realized that indecipherable French menus and starchy staff had become off-putting to passengers. The owners of the new vessel, American Export Lines, meant to give their clientele a new, less demanding, kind of elegance.
12th April 1956: American actress Grace Kelly on the way to be married in Monaco trying out the captain’s sextant on board the liner SS Constitution.
The Constitution was seen in several episodes of the television situation comedy I Love Lucy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, starting with episode 140, “Bon Voyage,” which first aired 1 December 1955.
Lucy Ricardo missed the sailing of the ship and had to be ferried by air to the ship by helicopter.
The ship also played a prominent role in the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr. Location – the pool on the Lido Deck.
Following service on American Export’s “Sunlane” cruises to Europe in the 50s and 60s, the two ships sailed for American Hawaii Cruises for many years in the 80s and 90s; because they were US ships with US crews, they were able to cruise the Islands without sailing to a foreign port.
SS Constitution being loaded at dock in New York City – 1950s.
It was decommissioned in 1995 and, while under tow to be scrapped in 1997, sank 700 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands.
GRACE KELLY on the SS CONSTITUTION… glamour in the 1950s…