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.


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 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.


    Viggo Nordahl
    ex Chief Officer / Master.

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