ALCOA TO THE CARIBBEAN

Social and Travel History: Alcoa to the Caribbean. When ALCOA operated three passenger cargo liners to the West Indies.  Modern ships – elegant yet casual service.  A look to the cruising past.

Because of shipping shortages in World War I, Alcoa (formerly the Aluminum Company of America) developed its own shipping line to carry bauxite from its source in what is now Suriname and Guyana to aluminum mills in the United States and elsewhere. At first the line operated under foreign flags. From 1940 to 1969 it operated under the US flag.

Following World War 2, Alcoa Steamship Company acquired three unfinished Victory ship hulls in 1946.

The ships were redesigned and finished with accommodations for 96 first class passengers.  Alcoa hoped that by entering the passenger business, this would give the company an edge on any rival who might want to lure away some cargo, thereby reducing income per voyage.

In 1947 the ALCOA CAVALIER, THE ALCOA CLIPPER and the ALCOA CORSAIR established regular service between New Orleans and South America.  The ships were modern and provided excellent service.  But the mounting costs of U.S.-flag operations, forced the company to abandon their passenger service in 1960.

Portion of deck plan showing public rooms and suites.

The three cargo passenger liners.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

One comment

  1. We are a group of Norwegian sailors,who sailed as deck officers in the seventies and eighties on your vessels between US Trinidad and Suriname. So far on the net,we have not found any pictures of OUR ships.like The (old) Sentinel,The Wanderer,The Prospector,The Wayfarer,The Challenger,The Marlin,The Tarpon,The Pathfinder and so on. We are membere of a home page containing twelve thousand sailors,and your help would be highly appreciated.. If ex Port Manager in Templadora,Ola Olsen is still around,please send him my best regards.

    Regards

    Viggo Nordahl
    ex Chief Officer / Master.

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