Cruise Ship History: SS FLORIDA sails to Havana, Cuba in 1952 for $42.00 per person. Including all transportation, two nights aboard ship, a day in Havana and all meals.

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

Maybe that will change in November and Americans will be able to sail again to Havana!

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Painting of the SS FLORIDA.

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Postcard from the SS FLORIDA arriving in Maimi, Florida.

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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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