It is worth saying that, despite the almost total destruction, the cruise industry quickly recovered.
The US authorities began to subsidize the construction of new ships. The threat of a new war with the USSR was also one of the incentives. It was necessary to restore the transport fleet urgently and the best option was to revive the cruise industry... If worst comes to worst, it was possible to convert those ships into a navy fleet pretty quickly. Unfortunately, people had already experienced this twice in the past 50 years.
The picture was similar to the situation after the First World War. Once again, the passengers were refugees and emigrants to the US and Canada on one side and wealthy people on the other.
The ancestor of the cruise industry, the P&O company, lost 156 ships during the war! With such popular ships like Viceroy of India, Cathay, Oronsay and Orcades among them.
Some ships continued to operate.
In 1955, the company launched two new liners that were built for speed and worked in the Australian market:
Despite peacetime, this ship managed to participate in the Falklands war, 1982.
The second post-war ship of P&O – SS Oriana.
The ship served faithfully and truthfully to its passengers until 2005, though under other flags.
We’ll talk about the future fate of P&O later.
We also can’t ignore the American companies.
United States Lines became the most successful company after the war. The company was launched back in the 1920s.
We’ve already talked about some ships of this company. For example, George Washington that took part in the First World War.
By the way, SS Vaterland that became known as SS Leviathan was left to this company. We talked about this liner in the past articles.
To be honest, the company did not have its own strong shipyard, and it mainly used ships captured during the World Wars.
The beautiful ship SS Manhattan was built for the company in 1931.
After the war, in 1952, the magnificent SS United States ship was constructed with the help of the government.
In addition to the fact that she was the most modern liner and one of the few "megaships" built in the US shipyards, this ship has become the fastest in history. She won the Blue Ribbon in 1952 (they say she didn't even do it in full swing), and this record has not been cracked to this day (among ocean liners)! The ship moved at a speed of 34.51 knots (63.91 km/h)!!!
The ship had simple interiors, and it was a bit narrower than Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth so that it could pass the Panama Canal easily.
SS United States was one of the first to take cruises in the Caribbean from New York.
In 1964 the ship was sold to another company. In 1969, the liner was laid. In the late 1970s, Norwegian Cruise Line wanted to buy the ship, but they bought SS France instead.
Almost until 2016, the ship changed hands with the purpose of being restored and returned to the market. Only in August 2016, it was announced that the restoration of the liner was impossible.
The ship was left to "rust" in the port of Philadelphia.
Hamburg America Line was hardly affected by the First World War. The company actually didn’t survive World War II. In the 1970s, it merged with Norddeutscher Lloyd. The new company was called Hapag-Lloyd.
Norddeutscher Lloyd started from scratch after World War II. German companies were forbidden to build large ships, so NDL ordered the small ones, with a draught of up to 7200 tons.
After 1951, NDL was allowed to build a new fleet. At first, the company bought old ships, which began to sail to Canada, the US and the Canary Islands.
In 1955, the company resumed passenger service by rebuilding the Swedish 18,000-ton ship built in 1924 – MS Gripsholm.
The ship was named MS Berlin.
Until 1970, the company added two other large ships to its fleet.
As for the holder of the Blue Ribbon of the Atlantic, SS Europa: it was confiscated by the United States at the end of the Second World War, as we’ve already said in the last article. The ship was used as a military transport for about a year.
In March 1946, the ship was handed over to France as a military reparation in order to replace the SS Normandie that died in New York.
The French called the ship Liberté. The liner was towed to Le Havre where she got reconstructed into a "French ship".
The funnels were repainted first.
On December 8, 1946, during the repair, the ship was broken off from the mooring lines during a storm. She was carried to SS Paris that sank in the harbor in 1939. The ship was sunk because of the damage.
After the ship was raised, the restoration began again. However, the ship seemed to be cursed. In 1949, there was a fire, which destroyed almost all the new premises.
Finally, on August 2, 1950, Liberté set her first cruise. The liner entered the Transatlantic direction.
Other ships of Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, SS Île de France and SS De Grasse, became partners of Liberté in transatlantic sailings.
SS Île de France
Île de France returned to the transatlantic route after the war. However, she returned only after the modernization and repair. The ship made the first post-war voyage only in 1949.
The ship became quite popular among tourists. In 1956, the liner took an active part in rescuing the passengers from the sinking "Andrea Doria".
Boats of Île de France rescued almost half of the passengers.
We will return to "Andrea Doria" later.
SS Antilles was another well-known liner of that time.
She made her first sail in 1953 and cruised the Caribbean.
You can see SS Flandre, the sister ship of SS Antilles, in the picture.
Unfortunately, her fate was not lasting. On January 8, 1971, she went on a reef near the island of Mustique (the Grenadines).
All of her passengers and crew were rescued by RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (which we'll talk about in the next article).
Remains of the ship are still visible in the water and even on Google Map (12° 54'04"N 061°10'44"W).
In 1959, the famous art deco ship Île de France was scrapped. In 1960, the liner was used during the filming of the movie-catastrophe called "The Last Journey".
The ship’s funnel is destroyed in the movie. Also, the ship was partially flooded during the filming.
At the same time, it became clear that Liberté was also the outdated liner. The ship was scrapped, and she was replaced by the modern 65,000 ton SS France liner.
At the time of construction, SS France became the longest ship ever built. Moreover, this record was kept until 2004 (!) year, until RMS Queen Mary 2 was floated out.
In addition, the ship became the largest ship! This record was cracked only in 1988.
Looking ahead, we’d like to mention that SS France was a flagship of Compagnie Générale Transatlantique until 1974. She was one of the most perfect liners of her time.
In 1979, the liner was bought by Norwegian Cruise Line, but that's another story.
It is worth saying that the company actually ceased to exist and was merged with Compagnie Générale Maritime after that.
Now, this company is known as CMA CGM and, from what we know, the company does not have passenger ships.
We’ve already talked about "Andrea Doria". It's time to tell you about the Italian Line.
The company quickly returned to the market after the war.
Several large ships appeared:
Cristoforo Colombo that made her voyages until 1981.
MS Augustus – a luxury liner that served a long service for different companies and was a hotel at the end of her career. She was sawn in 2012.
MS Giulio Cesare took sailings for more than 22 years (1951-1973).
SS Andrea Doria was the company’s flagship, a beautiful liner, one of the most perfect ships of her time.
However, the ship went down in history for a completely different reason. The most successful rescue operation in the history of navigation is associated with this ship. In July 1956, the liner collided with another cruise ship ("Stockholm") near New York.
It’s possible to write a separate article about this collision, but we’ll just focus on what’s important.
Despite the terrible accident, a wonderful rescue operation was carried out. "Stockholm" reached the shore on her own and SS Andrea Doria was sinking for 11 hours. Almost all passengers and crew members were rescued from the ship during this time.
51 people died (maybe more, the data varies).
As for MS Stockholm, surprisingly, the liner survived the hit, recovered and is still in service.
Let’s return to the Italian Line. Except for Andrea Doria, they had another flagship – SS Leonardo da Vinci.
The liner faithfully and loyally served the company, she made transatlantic cruises. The ship had a difficult destiny. She laid up several times and finally sank near La Spezia after a fire in 1980.
In addition, the company had several more liners:
SS Guglielmo Marconi that sailed under the flag of
The ships of this company took part in the Second World War.
SS Nieuw Amsterdam became the most famous ship of the company during the war.
After the war, the ship was in service until 1974.
After the war, the company got more well-known ships. For example, SS Rotterdam.
The ship sailed until the 2000s!
Now the ship serves as the hotel.
As for the White Star Line, Cunard completely swallowed the company by 1950. Only the history remained about the former owner of the Titanic and holder of the Blue Ribbons of the Atlantic. Although some ships still sailed in the livery and under the flags of White Star until the 1960s. For example, Nomadic constructed in 1911.
The ship, despite her difficult history and several owners, has survived to this day and, apparently, is now being restored to become a museum. Every year, on April 15, The White Star Line flag is raised on the ship in memory of the victims of the Titanic.
Finally, let's talk about Cunard.
After the war, the company swallowed White Star Line.
It should be noted that the company suffered significantly during the war.
Though RMS Mauretania returned to service and cruised the Mediterranean until 1965.
RMS Queen Elizabeth was converted back into a passenger liner and did an excellent job until 1968.
In 1968, it was decided that the ship became unprofitable. The ship was sold to businessmen from Philadelphia. They wanted to make a floating hotel but eventually resold the ship to Hong Kong. Other vicissitudes waited for the ship there. In January 1972, the ship caught on fire which resulted in the ship sinking in the bay of Hong Kong.
In addition to the ships mentioned above, Cunard was going to put new liners into operation. For example, beautiful Queen Elizabeth 2 that joined the fleet in 1969.
However, the launch of the Boeing 747 prevented the hegemony of cruise liners.
In 1958, the Pan American company began regular flights between New York and London.
Already by the end of 1959, the number of passengers that flew across the Atlantic became equal to the number of passengers that sailed across the Atlantic.
By the late 1970s, the Boeing 747 and Europe-US direct flights completely killed transatlantic cruises. This time finally.
There was no need in such cruises any more, even from an economic point of view.
Here we could say that the cruise industry died once again...
New modern companies appeared on the horizon, such as: Costa Cruises (it was founded in 1854) – launched specifically only the cruise ships across Europe in 1959.
Franca C was the first among them.
MSC Cruises (1960), the first ships of which were:
The cruise market has changed with the establishment of these cruise companies...
We can say that the world watched the birth of the modern cruise industry in the late 1960s.
This is exactly what our next and last article will be about...
Later, we will also discuss the history of cruise liners of each cruise company. ;)
To get you even more excited, we’d like to show you the first ship of the Royal Caribbean company and the most modern one (as of today) – Harmony of the Seas one more time: