Skip to main content

VIDEO: Historic ship seeks new role in modern world

TheSS United States, which was the pinnacle of naval architecture and maritime engineering in ocean liners, faces an uncertain future.

In February 2016 the luxury travel company Crystal Cruises commissioned a study to determine whether the ship could return to sea.

The results were revealed in August, and they describe a series of engineering and regulatory obstacles that have caused Crystal Cruises to abandon the project. One of the biggest hurdles involved in updating the 65-year-old ship to modern standards is the need to replace its steam engines. That would require rebuilding 25 percent of the hull.

The ship is the biggest, fastest and perhaps most glamorous American-made ocean liner. Among its numerous feats and claims to fame, the ship is known for making the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing ever on her maiden voyage in 1952.

This Soundings video has more about the ship:

For now, efforts will be directed toward putting the SS United States to a stationary use. Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, said in an interview with Travel Weekly that “the conservancy is now pivoting away from cruise lines toward developers that might be interested in operating a hotel, a museum or a mixed-use venue.”

This story from the August 2016 issue of Soundings was published before Crystal Cruises announced its decision, but it has detailed information about the history of the ship.