Cruise History: American Export Line’s SS CONSTITUTION. The trans-Atlantic ship was featured in “I Love Lucy” and in the classic film “An Affair To Remember” – the famous liner also carried Grace Kelly from New York to Europe where she would go from American movie star to Princesse de Monaco.
1955: Officers and crew assemble aboard the SS Constitution docked in Manhattan.
The SS Constitution was a passenger ship owned by American Export Lines. She was commissioned in 1951. She sailed on the New York-Genoa-Naples and Gibraltar route to Europe. The Constitution was a sister ship to the SS Independence. The ships were two of the world’s most famous, popular, and innovative ocean liners, following World War 2. They were symbols of American maritime design and construction. They were big, fast, and very comfortable.
Beginning her career in 1951, the Constitution was a new kind of ship for a new kind of traveler. Far less intimidating than pre-war ships like the French Line’s Ile de France or Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, the ship was conceived with glamorous informality in mind. Unlike European steamship lines, American companies realized that indecipherable French menus and starchy staff had become off-putting to passengers. The owners of the new vessel, American Export Lines, meant to give their clientele a new, less demanding, kind of elegance.
12th April 1956: American actress Grace Kelly on the way to be married in Monaco trying out the captain’s sextant on board the liner SS Constitution.
The Constitution was seen in several episodes of the television situation comedy I Love Lucy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, starting with episode 140, “Bon Voyage,” which first aired 1 December 1955.
Lucy Ricardo missed the sailing of the ship and had to be ferried by air to the ship by helicopter.
The ship also played a prominent role in the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr. Location – the pool on the Lido Deck.
Following service on American Export’s “Sunlane” cruises to Europe in the 50s and 60s, the two ships sailed for American Hawaii Cruises for many years in the 80s and 90s; because they were US ships with US crews, they were able to cruise the Islands without sailing to a foreign port.
SS Constitution being loaded at dock in New York City – 1950s.
It was decommissioned in 1995 and, while under tow to be scrapped in 1997, sank 700 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands.
Cruise History – The Last Ocean Liners: When you could go around the world by taking a liner voyage and not a cruise!
Until the early 1970s, it was routinely possible to schedule extensive world journeys by transferring between three, four or more different ocean liners on point-to-point line voyages. The services were promoted to take advantage of a coordinated system of fares and schedules among cooperating shipping companies known as the “Interchange Lines.”
In January 1962, for example, one could begin at New York with an 11 day Atlantic crossing on American Export Lines’ Constitution (above) to Tenerife, Gibraltar and Naples. After visiting Italy, passengers caught the Asia of Lloyd Triestino outbound for 25 days via the Suez Canal to Pakistan, India, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Luncheon on deck aboard American President Line’s SS CLEVELAND – 1960s
Then the traveler could sail home across the Pacific for 19 days on American President Lines’ President Cleveland via Kobe, Yokohama and Honolulu to San Francisco. In those days fares for this alluring around the world voyage began at only US$935 in Tourist Class or US$1488 in First Class.
Here we survey a sample of the 1962 schedules and services of the Interchange Lines as they weaved together these romantic routes on splendid ships over exotic seas. Come along. It’s sailing hour, so let’s enjoy a pleasant journey back into the not-so-distant past when ocean liners could take you almost anywhere!
|HOME PORT||1962 Ocean Liner
|Last Ocean Liners To
AFRICA, ASIA & AUSTRALIA