Home / CRUISING THE PAST / “Catcher In The Rye” author J.D. Salinger served as a cruise director aboard the MS Kungsholm…
“Catcher In The Rye” author J.D. Salinger served as a cruise director aboard the MS Kungsholm…
First Class Swimming Pool

“Catcher In The Rye” author J.D. Salinger served as a cruise director aboard the MS Kungsholm…

In 1941, the position of entertainment director for the Swedish America Line’s M.S, Kungsholm (built in 1928) was held by Salinger. He authored a number of short stories with the Kungsholm or a “liner” as the setting. Salinger was undoubtedly the Kungsholm’s most famous crew member.




 First Class Smoking Room

 Here is an excerpt from the short story in Mademoiselle Magazine…

kungsholm_small.JPG“The young man—his name was Ray Kinsella, and he was a member of the ship’s Junior Entertainment Committee—waited for Barbara at the railing on the port-side of the promenade deck. Nearly all passengers were ashore and, in the stillness and moonlight, it was a powerful place to be. The only sound in the night came from the Havana harbor water slucking gently against the sides of the ship. Through the moon mist the Kungsholm could be seen, anchored sleepy and rich, just a few hundred feet aft. Farther shoreward a few small boats corked about.” J. D. Salinger – A Young Girl In 1941 With No Waist At All – Mademoiselle Magazine – May 25th, 1947

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MS KUNGSHOLM on Carribean Cruise – by 1941, with the war in Europe, most liners were not crossing the Atlantic.

The First Class Lounge on board MS Kungsholm – by many regarded as one of the most beautiful rooms afloat.

1941 – Here’s some vibrant color 8mm of what looks like a fun cruise to Cuba aboard the Swedish America Liner Kungsholm, loving shot by one J. Quentin Jaxon of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (at least that’s what the Kodak box said!). A quick check with Kludas would suggest this film is from sometime between 1939 and 1941. Any car aficionados out there care to help identify the cars at the pier in the opening shot? And check out the deck games. I’m sure no cruise line today would allow passengers to straddle a log and beat each other with a pillow until someone falls. Music here is “Frenesi” performed by Don Felipe and His Cuban Caballeros, followed by “Smile of a Latin” by Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra. Enjoy another little Shipgeek trip back in time!

  • MS Kungsholm was a passenger liner owned and operated by the Swedish American Line from 1928 to 1941 on transatlantic services from Gothenburg to New York as well as crusing out of New York.
  • It was built at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. In 1942 the ship was requisitioned by the United States Government, who placed it United States Lines flag, and renamed it USAT John Ericsson (NY-307).
  • Following the end of World War Two the John Ericsson was sold back to the Swedish American Line in 1947. Instead of returning to service SAL it was sold to Home Lines in 1948 and renamed MS Italia.
  • With Homes Lines the ship served on a variety of routes, including Genoa—South America, Genoa—New York, Hamburg—New York, Hamburg—Quebec, New York—Nassau as well as cruises from New York to the Caribbean.
  • In 1964 the ship was sold to Freeport Bahama Enterprises for use as a floating hotel under the name MS Imperial Bahama. In 1965 the Imperial Bahama was scrapped at Bilbao.

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