Cruise Line History: Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” sailed away on the French Line’s S.S. LIBERTE – Installment 1 – Cruiseships or Liners in the movies…



Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) being driven by her father (John Williams) to sail away on the S.S. LIBERTE.

This is one of the final scenes from Paramounts SABRINA directed by Billy Wilder in 1954. Sabrina Fairchild ( Audrey Hepburn) is seated in the front seat of a limousine with her chauffeur father (John Williams). Audrey is being driven into New York City to board the French Line’s LIBERTE for a one-way first class passage to France after being dumped by Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart). Sabrina’s father works for the Larrabee family. Linus was suppose to join Sabrina on the trans-Atlantic sailing from New York to Europe but reneges at the last moment leaving a heartbroken Sabrina.


The LIBERTE ready to sail.

But eventually Linus does join Sabrina aboard the LIBERTE – through the prompting of David Larrabee (William Holden). The ship has sailed but Linus boards a family owned tug and sails into New York harbor to the LIBERTE to join Sabrina. This scene was repeated (or stolen from Billy Wilder) in FUNNY GIRL when Fanny Brice (Barbara Streisand) sails aboard a New York Central tugboat to join her future husband. Director Billy Wilder was a patron of the French Line and sailed aboard the LIBERTE, the FRANCE and the ILE DE FRANCE many times.


The fabulous LIBERTE.

The S.S. Liberte was originally the S.S. Europa. She was the pride of Norddeutscher Lloyd Line in the 1930s. She was the sister ship of the S/S Bremen. Sadly the Second World War caused an end to her years in German hands and she was handed to the French as war reparations. As the S.S. Liberte, the ship Sabrina sailed away on became the stop gap flagship for CGT French Line as a replacement for the legendary S.S. Normandie that had been lost during the Second World War. She was transformed into the pride of France and finally was retired in 1961 after serving two great nations.

From youTUBE…

A newsreel scene taken from the new liner S.S. France of the S.S. Liberte passing on its final trans-Atlantic voyage in 1961.



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"…