In a recent press conference, Crystal Cruises announced that it would be purchasing the SS United States and bringing her back to her former glory, and I have to admit that I am incredibly excited about this.
The vessel will have to undergo extensive rebuilding in order to meet modern demands and be in full regulatory compliance, but eventually she will be transformed into an 800-guest-capacity vessel, featuring 400 luxurious suites measuring approx. 350 square feet with dining, entertainment, spa and other luxury amenities that are true to the ship’s storied history. Features of the original SS United States such as the Promenade and Navajo Lounge will be retained, while new engines and sophisticated marine technology will be installed to maintain her title as the fastest cruise vessel in the world.
The SS United States has sat in disrepair for many years, waiting for someone to literally come along and save her and Crystal have done just that.
The SS United States, built at a cost of $79.4 million, was launched in 1952 and broke the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage (previously held by RMS Queen Mary) – she still proudly retains the Blue Riband to this day. She remains the largest passenger ship ever designed and built in America. Before her retirement in 1969, the SS United States was the most glamorous and elegant ship in the world, having transported four US presidents, international royalty, many of Hollywood’s “golden era” celebrities, as well as a million passengers. While the ship captivated travellers with her features and elegance, the ship’s origin was equally intriguing. She was designed as part of a top-secret Pentagon programme during the Cold War, which stipulated she could be quickly converted from a luxury liner into a naval troopship in the event of a war, carrying 15,000 troops with a 240,000 shaft horsepower propulsion plant capable of traveling 10,000 nautical miles – almost half way around the globe – without refueling.
I have said in many of my blogs that I would love to see a luxury liner from yesteryear brought back to life and I am so happy that this, thanks to Crystal, may now actually be happening! What her interiors will be like, I don’t know, I’d hope they would add some of that golden era charm and not make her too “glitz and glam”, but time will tell.
Say goodbye to Philadelphia for you are going back to sea…
Thank you, Crystal!