SS Florida from Miami to Havana

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In the 1950s, you could cruise from Miami to Havana, Cuba for $42.00 per person aboard the S.S. Florida.  This fare included all transportation, two nights aboard ship, a day in Havana and all meals.

YouTube video of cruise ship arriving in Havana – this was recent – but it would have been the same view in 1958 aboard the S. S. Florida.  Nothing much has changed including the cars which are mainly American – vintage 1950s.

Sailing to Cuba aboard the S.S. Florida.

Up until now, due to the US embargo, no cruise ships visit Cuba from the States, and any ship that calls there cannot dock in the USA for six months afterwards.

The Peninsular and Occidental Steamship Company was a pioneer in today’s billion-dollar Florida cruise business.

Until Castro’s regime closed Cuba to cruise ships in 1960, the SS FLORIDA was sailing three times a week from Miami.

The SS FLORIDA had first sailed from Key West to Cuba until the 1934 devastating hurricane destroyed the terminal and rail connections to Miami.

Built in New Port News, Virginia, in 1931, the SS FLORIDA accommodated 612 passengers in first class and 130 in second class.

After World War 2 the overnight ship was turned into a one class liner.

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The S. S. Florida approaching Havana and picking up the pilot.

Today, Americans can travel to China but not Cuba. Seems one kind of Communist regime is okay for the current administration but not another.

Aboard the S.S. Florida.

Maybe that will change should President Obama lift the ban for travel to Cuba and Americans will be able to sail again to Havana!

Havana.

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Painting of the SS FLORIDA.

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The S. S. Florida, P&O Steamship Company’s Flagship during the 1950’s. The ship was a favorite sailing between Havana and Miami.  It also carried cars, so Cubans could bring their cars along when they came up to Miami to shop and visit.

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SS FLORIDA and the SS IROQUOIS.

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…

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