S/S 'United States'— A Second Life For World's Fastest Passenger Liner?
The recent drydocking and inspection of the SS United States at Norshipco's yard in Norfolk showed the 28-year-old ship to be in excellent condition, both inside and out.
Since the world's fastest passenger liner was mothballed in 1969, the Maritime Administration has provided her with meticulous care. A sophisticated dehumidification system utilizing some 5,000 feet of galvanized tubing has kept the relative humidity in the interior spaces at less than 20 percent—about what you might expect in King Tut's sealed tomb.
Even more remarkable, during a recent tour of her public rooms and service areas, the ship appears like she had been out of service for only days or weeks— not the more than 10 years that she has been laid up. Her galley, once capable of serving 9,000 meals daily, is still stocked with its 80,000 pieces of crockery, 25,000 pieces of crystal, and 48,- 000 pieces of silverware. Her engine rooms are almost as spotless as the galley. And in her library, note paper, envelopes, and playing cards are still in slots on the writing desks!
When the United States was completed in 1952 as the flagship of United States Lines, she quickly set a record to win the coveted "Blue Riband" by crossing the Atlantic from New York to Le Havre in 3 days, 17 hours, and 48 minutes, attaining an average speed of more than 35 knots, a record that has never been equaled. Until recently, her top speed was a military secret; it is now known that she attained a maximum speed in excess of 39 knots during her official time trials.
Now it appears that the Big U may resume service as a luxurious cruise ship operating between the West Coast and Hawaii, and on cruises to other areas of the world. U.S. Cruises Inc. of Seattle agreed to purchase the mothballed liner from the Maritime Administration in September 1978 for $5 million. The Seattle company is privately owned by Richard H.
Had ley, a real estate builder and developer. He plans to spend $35 million on a 12-month refurbishing of the United States to make her one of the most luxurious liners in the world.
When construction and outfitting of the United States was completed in 1952, the total cost was about $79.5 million. Were she to be duplicated today, the cost would be approximately $400 million.
The SS United States was designed by William Francis Gibbs, then one of the world's leading naval architects, to be an "outstanding express liner of remarkable speed, safety, and efficiency." The 38,216-gt ship has an overall length of 990 feet and a beam of 101 feet 6 inches—measurements that would just allow her to squeeze through the Panama Canal, although she has never made that transit.
When last in service, the United States carried a crew of 1,000 to serve the needs of her 2,000 passengers who were carried in 694 cabins. After the refurbishing program planned by U.S. Cruises, she will have about 650 luxury staterooms accommodating more than 1,300 passengers. She will carry a crew of about 450, and will operate at speed of 18-20 knots.
Present plans for refurbishing include the construction or remodeling of five gourmet restaurants, the classic ship's dining room; a half-acre shopping arcade ; two theaters for films and stage shows; formal ballroom; Hawaiian lounge and disco; "San Francisco" style pub; library and card room; full-size tennis court; two racquetball courts; three new outdoor, fresh-water swimming pools and one indoor pool; and a gymnasium, sauna, and spa. In addition, a closed-circuit television system will offer daily entertainment, as well as worldwide and ship's news and reports.
The goal of U.S. Cruises for the SS United States is at once enormous and simple: to make her the world's greatest luxury cruise ship.
Other stories from September 15, 1980 issue
- MMS Forms Subsidiary To Serve Clients In United Kingdom/Europe page: 4
- J.M. Colonell Appointed Senior Project Engineer For Woodward-Clyde page: 4
- Third Navy Destroyer Tender Launched At NASSCO Yard page: 6
- SSI Introduces Emergency Anchor Windlass System- Literature Available page: 6
- F. Shepherd Promoted At Designers & Planners— Pramud Rawat Joins Firm page: 7
- Canonie Forms New Subsidiary- Appoints Three New Executives page: 10
- Armco Restructures Western Steel Division Into Three Groups page: 10
- Toronto Firm Proposes Truck/Trailer RO/RO Run Across Lake Ontario page: 11
- Avondale Lays Keel For Fourth Navy Fleet Oiler page: 12
- TBW Industries Gets $5-Million Order For SMATCO Deck Equipment page: 12
- Thomas Ternes Joins Guralnick Associates As Supervisory Engineer page: 13
- HUD Moves Head Office To Tsing Yi Island— Kowloon Yard Closed page: 13
- Multi-Purpose Mobilization Ship page: 14
- S/S 'United States'— A Second Life For World's Fastest Passenger Liner? page: 14
- Dixie Dredge Delivers Four Vessels To Egyptian Dredging page: 18
- Twin Disc Forms New Task Force To Market Marine Transmissions page: 18
- Quality Delivers Towing/Supply Vessel To Gulf Fleet Marine page: 18
- New Company Will Offer Underwater Vehicle Inspection Services page: 22
- Ferrous Has Proportioning Pump For Fuel Additive- Literature Available page: 22
- Joseph Quinn Named President Of Reorganized Devoe Marine Coatings page: 23
- Furuno Radar Simulator Installed At California Maritime Academy page: 23
- Boeing Jetfoil Sold To Argentine Owner—Christened Montevideo Jet page: 24
- National Supply Patents Subsea Template System —Literature Available page: 25
- Hitachi Gets Jackup Rig Orders From Danish And Netherlands Owners page: 26
- E.H. Barron Joins Overseas Enterprises As Director Of Chartering page: 26
- New Brochure On Gears And Gear Units Now Available From Farrel page: 26
- Promet Gets Repeat Orders From Two U.S. Companies page: 28
- New Jackup Drilling Rig page: 30
- AWO's Shipyard Conference Honors Renshaw For Leadership page: 30
- Wichita Has PTOs For Large Diesel Engines- Literature Available page: 32
- New UPSCO Shipyard Begins Production page: 36
- Bath Saves Time-Money With New Ship Insulation —Literature Available page: 38
- Lance Melik Appointed Director Of Marketing For Twin Disc, Inc. page: 38
- MTC '80 page: 40
- Rockwell Publishes New Cast Steel Valve Catalog page: 42
- MarAd Awards CDS For Mormac Conversions To Cost $4.4 Million Total page: 42
- New Brochure Explaining Combustion Catalysts Available From Ferrous page: 42
- MarAd Study Reports $9.8 Billion Needed To Expand U.S. Ports page: 43
- Coal-Burning Bulkers Ordered From Yards In Italy And Japan page: 48
- CDI Marine Awarded Navy Design Contracts Totaling $3.2 Million page: 48
- Tacoma Boat To Build Nine USCG Cutters At Cost Of $646 Million page: 50
- Michigan Wheel Will Market Bow Thrusters —Literature Available page: 51
- U.S. Yards Invited To Bid On First Maritime Prepositioning Ships page: 51
- Dravo Lays Keel For Towboat Ordered By People's Republic Of China page: 52
- Jeffboat-Built 'Conti-Karla7 Christened At Chicago's Navy Pier page: 53
- Mid-Coast Marine Delivers Second Trawler And Tugboat page: 54