Cruise Ship History: Memories of an Empress – Canadian Pacific’s Big White Ships

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This nostalgic and highly detailed painting by Gordon Bauwens shows the liner anchored off Greenock in 1960.

The family of a serving officer watch from the Esplanade as the liner Empress of Britain, attended by a Clyde puffer, prepares for her imminent transatlantic departure. The turbine steamer Queen Mary II on a day-cruise ‘doon the watter’ from Glasgow, sweeps down the main channel behind. This superb quality ‘Memories of an Empress’ Artist-signed limited edition prints are carefully produced using fade-resistant inks on heavy, acid-free art paper. Each has its numbered Certificate of Authenticity, printed on attractive marbled parchment paper.  Order these wonderful prints by clicking here.

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Empress of Canada

Fondly remembered by many a child of the 1950s and 60s as the ‘big white ships’, Canadian Pacific’s final generation Empress liners were undoubtedly among the most distinctive and finest looking post-war passenger ships built in Britain.

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Single First Class Cabin – Empress of Canada

Empress of Britain was launched by HM The Queen from the Fairfield Shipyard, Glasgow, in June 1955. The 640-foot (197 m) 25,516 grt liner entered service on the UK – Canada transatlantic routes the following year.

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Garden Lounge

Joined by her Tyne-built sisters, Empress of England in 1957 and Empress of Canada in 1961, this handsome trio provided a reliable and regular service from Liverpool and Greenock to Quebec and Montreal.

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Shopping Arcade

Although sold by Canadian Pacific in 1964 due to the ever growing popularity of jet air travel, Empress of Britain was still operating in 2001 as a cruise liner (Topaz), as indeed was her younger sister, Empress of Canada.

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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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