The “Del Triplets” – Del Norte, Del Mar, and Del Sud – were the first modern American flag liners to be built after World War 2 and became a top choice for cruising to South America.
- They offered first-class, mid-century modern passenger service from New Orleans to South America. Premiering in 1946 the three ships lasted until 1972.
- To return to some normalcy after the war years, and to meet the heightened demand for the resumption of shipping and free trade, many shipping lines rushed to the drawing boards with new ideas to stake their claim for a share in a new booming market that was rapidly expanding.
One American company, in particular, the Mississippi Shipping Company or Delta Line, with a home port located in New Orleans, led the way with the introduction of a forward-thinking and innovative design for a sleek three sister fleet of passenger/cargo vessels for their highly profitable passenger and cargo routes to sunny southern climes.
- From these ideas and endeavors, the “Del Triplets” were born. The S.S. Del Norte and her sister ships, S.S. Del Sud and S.S. Del Mar were the most distinctive and revolutionary vessels of their age.
- In keeping with the trade name of the company, ”Delta Line”, the three vessels were given “Del” names.
- The three “Dels” unusual design, created by the naval architect George G. Sharp of New York, made them unique among the New Orleans waterfront and the east coast of South America, an area where they had traded for nearly a quarter of a century.
STREAMLINED SHIPS AT SEA
With rounded edges promoting a more streamlined appearance, these vessels had the flavor of private yachts and they were considered to be “resorts at sea.” Since they were fully equipped and up to date with all the modern conveniences of the time, they offered the last word in ocean comfort.
- It was not too long before they were the pride of the fleet and the Southern Hemisphere itself. The “Dels” cemented their position and soon became synonymous with the revival of the Delta Line’s service from the USA to South America after the Second World War.
The SS Del Norte, SS Del Sud, and SS Del Mar were without a doubt the most distinctive and revolutionary vessels in their time, although not liked by all traditionalists.
- At the time of planning, the liners were originally based on standard C-3 design cargo ship hulls.
- Due to the world conflict and shortage of tonnage, that was all that was available for purchase during the late war years.
- In a time when shipping lines were scrambling to get ships back into peacetime service, the options were few.