The extraordinary French ocean liner began her maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York on May 29, 1935. Acknowledged as the center of High Society on the North Atlantic, the Normandie was the grandest, most luxurious and artistic ocean liner ever built. Until 1940 it was the largest ship in the world. Her interiors were like a living museum to l’art moderne. These shots were made on board the Normandie while she was in New York Harbor for the first time. One can clearly see: the gangplank area, the railings, the decks, and most notably the entire length of Le Grand Salon, featuring a costume ball. The camera also captures a fashion show with clothes by Milgrim. The announcer is award winning radio personality Alois Havrilla. Includes scenes on the fabulous ship, fashion show, dining, entertainment, at sea, film stars… all in 1935! Have times changed when you look at the “fashion” of cruise ships today…
In 1838 two brothers, Nicol & Robert Handyside set up business in Glasgow as ship brokers and merchants trading with Russia and the Baltic ports. Towards the end of 1852 Thomas Henderson, an experienced ship master, joined the firm. It was not until 1856 that the title of Anchor Line was adopted and the service between Glasgow and New York inaugurated. In 1855 three clipper ships were delivered and on the 3rd. April of that year the TEMPEST, with John Henderson (younger brother of Thomas) in command sailed for Bombay. She was the first ship of the fleet to be converted to a steamship in 1856. Her initial performance was not spectacular as it took her 28 days to cross the Atlantic. With the Glasgow-New York service well established the company looked around for new routes. The Calcutta service was opened by the BELGRAVIA from Glasgow in 1882. It was not until 1948 that the company’s eastern passenger service became properly organized. In April of that year the CALEDONIA (V) sailed on her maiden voyage to Bombay. The CALEDONIA and CIRCASSIA were not far behind. These three motor ships carried 300 First Class passengers and were able to maintain a regular monthly service.
Cruise History – Anchor Line’s “S.S. THE CITY OF ROME” the first great cruise liner. More souvenirs from the golden gage of cruising.
THE CITY OF ROME – Constructed of iron, clipper stem, three funnels, four masts, single screw and a speed of 16 knots. There was accommodation for 271-1st, 250-2nd and 810-3rd class passengers. She was considered by many to be the most beautiful steamer ever built and was one of the first ocean liners.
1894 – 4th Of July – Menu – aboard THE CITY OF ROME and poster from the Anchor Line
UNITED STATES LINES – New York to California and Mexico – $250 first class and up – s.s. MANHATTAN and s.s. WASHINGTON
AMERICAN PASSENGER FLEET IN THE 1950s – 46 Ships! Today there are three large cruise ships flying the American Flag while 80% of the cruise market is in the USA. Talk about outsourcing!
Many American flag steamship lines — APL, Matson, Moore-McCormick, Grace, etc. — faced a similar fate as Panama Pacific Lines did when the US withdrew their mail and operating subsidies to carry military personnel in the 1960s. The same fate happened to the American railway system in the late 1960s when the US withdrew railway post offices. The result was that the USA has no real American passengers ships, is stuck with a struggling rail service called Amtrak and the mail continues to decline in service. So much for progress.
This is the Time Magazine announcing the end of the Panama Pacific Lines…
From the May 9, 1938 issue of TIME MAGAZINE
PANAMA PACIFIC LINES OUT
SS California – Transiting the Panama Canal – 1930s…
When the S.S. California was built for the Panama Pacific Line in 1928, she was the largest (17,833 tons) commercial ship ever constructed on U. S. ways, the largest in the world with electric propulsion. Last week, when the California tied up at Pier 61, Manhattan, near her idle sisters, Pennsylvania and Virginia, it was the first time the three vessels had ever been in port together, the last time any one of them would slip a hawser for Panama Pacific.
Panama Pacific’s coffin had three big nails in it: Last June, after Congress withdrew all ocean mail subsidies, empowering the Maritime Commission to make a new deal, Panama Pacific lost its annual $450,000 mail subsidy and got nothing in its place. Beginning nine weeks ago, the Panama Canal changed toll charges in such a way that Panama Pacific’s annual expenses would have been increased about $37,000. Third coffin nail was a rusty West Coast labor problem.
As the line prepared last week to dismiss 1,200 men for good & all, Panama Pacific expressed the hope that the Maritime Commission would buy the three idle ships, charter them for operation by other companies between New York and the east coast of South America.
From a 1937 magazine advertisement. A year before Panama Pacific Line ended service.