SS United States Blue Riband Celebration by Paul Motter
The Blue Riband award for fastest Atlantic crossing will be on display for the first time in 60 years.
The Blue Riband Trophy There are many technical accomplishments our nation can be proud about; the moon landing and the entire space program are one good example. But before the space program this nation led in other areas, the world's fastest flying machines, for example, and the world's fastest ocean liner.
The ocean liner S.S. United States is a triumph of American ingenuity, and fortunately it still survives. The ship was primarily designed as a passenger liner to service the transatlantic market before air travel took over. It still holds the world's record, known as the Blue Riband, for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a passenger vessel. That record was made 60 years ago.
The ship, built in the Virginia-based Newport News shipyard in 1952, has been anchored at pier 82 on the Delaware River in the port of Philadelphia since 1996. The ship was built at a cost of $78-million (in 1952 dollars) and she remained in regular service from the early 1950s through 1969.
I was a teenager at the time my family rode on the SS United States. We knew it was to be one of its last voyages, which at the time seemed such a shame. We had been living in Nigeria, which was in the midst of a civil war at the time, as my father was teaching there at the university.
We departed from Le Havre, France & headed for NY. It was a 5 day cruise. It was about September 1968. Unfortunately we did not see any sunshine until the final day. The weather was a bit tumultuous. However, it was fun trying to play pinball when the sea was rocking us up & down.
The quarters, food, service, etc., were all excellent. It was my 1st & only (so far) cruise on a luxury liner. I am glad it was on the US United States.
My parents were busy with things (a very active 2 yr old son & a very petitie 1 yr old daughter who had been born back in Nigeria 1967). My parents had to use a harness for my brother. Some lady thought it was cruel b/c it looked liked we were walking him like a dog. However, had it not been for that harness my little brother would have been shark bait in the mid-Atlantic for sure. You could not hold him for long, so this was the best thing for him. Now that I look back on it, I wonder if we could have set up a run line for him...hmmm. Then it would have been really interesting to see what that lady would have said.
I had a tendency to hang around older folks. My memory is not the greatest but I believe the couple I hung out with were called the Goodmans. I even got to play bingo with them. I think I wrote them once or twice. My follow thru was not the best. By the time I was 50 I was diagnosed with ADHD, which helped to explain a lot of things. No excuse...I was still responsible for my actions. But I have had to learn to do things a lot differently.
Well, I've rambled on enough. I just happened upon this site quite by accident, & saw the notice about the SS United States. I think I still have a menu & something else from our trip on that ship. Thank you for a wonderful memory.
Respectfully yours, doug jacobson
Last edited by whooleeoh; September 11th, 2012 at 05:34 PM.
Reason: I meant to put SS United States in title.