Cruise Ship History: Judy Garland, Marlon Brando and Salvador Dalí aboard America’s greatest liner the SS UNITED STATES “crossing the pond” in the 1950s!

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Marlon Brando and Salvidor Dali enjoying after dinner coffee in the First Class Lounge of the SS United States.

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It’s Captain’s Dinner aboard the SS United States in 1956 in the First Class Dining Room.  And this is the one night Judy Garland left her stateroom. Pictured: Producer Sid Luff and his wife Judy Garland with friend John Carlyle (and number one fan) at right.

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The S.S. United States arriving at Bremerhaven Columbus Bahnhof – Germany. This dreamlike photo of the S.S. United States is a wonderful composition and gives the viewer a sense of the close relationship the people of Bremerhaven had with the shipping industry and its sea going passengers.

The SS United States (also known as “The Big U”) is an ocean liner built in 1952 for the United States Lines. At 53,329 gross tons, she is the largest ocean liner to date built entirely in the United States and still holds the record for the fastest westbound transatlantic crossing.

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The fastest way to cross!

In 1952, on her maiden voyage as the new flagship of the United States Lines, the United States captured the Blue Riband with the fastest eastbound and westbound transatlantic crossings on record. The entry of the United States marked the first time a U.S.-flagged ship held the Blue Riband, surpassing European speed records which had stood for decades.The United States lost the eastbound record in 1990, but still holds the westbound record. The United States plied the transatlantic with passenger service until 1969, and she outlasted the demise of her original owners.

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SS United States “waiting” at Philadelphia – December 2007.

Since 1969, the United States has not been in service.  She has bounced around the world with promises of service from owner to owner.  The ship is currently docked in Philadelphia until a decision is made about her fate which does not look good.

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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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