December 10, 1989 |
It was a planner's dream. The year was 1968, and a group of investors had proposed docking the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner at the foot of Philadelphia International Airport, in Tinicum Township. There, it would be converted into a luxurious floating hotel and attraction. That's all county planners needed to get them going. Within the year, they had cranked out a visionary plan for the Tinicum of the future that included several other tourist attractions, such as a menagerie and stables inside the Tincium National Environmental Center.
October 27, 1998 |
With the demise of transatlantic ocean liners, the sea-voyage term rough crossing has pretty much passed from the lexicon. Tom Stoppard revived it as the title of his 1984 comedy, which takes place on an ocean liner. But unfortunately, as a metaphor, it aptly describes both the play and the Lantern Theater production at St. Stephen's Theater. Stoppard, author of Arcadia, Travesties, The Real Thing and many other works, is one of the best playwrights in the language, but this tepid farce demonstrates that even a master can have an unsuccessful outing.
August 24, 2009 |
Bill Clinton was in his first term as president when the peeling hulk of the SS United States was towed up the Delaware River for temporary moorage. The massive ocean liner has now idled in the shadow of the Walt Whitman Bridge for so long that its 12-story stacks are virtually part of Philadelphia's skyline, hardly noticed by the thousands who drive overhead each day. But the once-grand ship could soon slip away as quietly as it arrived. Its owner, Star Cruises of Hong Kong, has put the vessel up for sale.
July 31, 2004 |
The SS United States, docked in Philadelphia at a cost of $1,000 a day for eight years, hasn't fired its boilers since 1969. Once the pride of the American fleet, the 990-foot-long ocean liner lost out after jet airplanes took away its main reason for being: fast transport of passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. But Colin Veitch, chief executive officer of Miami-based NCL Corp., the ship's owner, says he thinks the United States can turn a profit - even though the $500 million cost of reviving the 52-year-old vessel is perhaps $150 million greater than building a new one. Industry experts think he is dreaming.
August 7, 2016 |
The SS United States won't sail again. Earlier this year, a luxury cruise operator and the nonprofit that owns the long-retired ocean liner docked in South Philadelphia announced an effort to return the aged ship to its former life as a glamorous ocean liner. But after a feasibility study, Crystal Cruises and the SS United States Conservancy have determined that refurbishing the ship to sail would be too challenging, the groups announced Friday. "Unfortunately, the hurdles that would face us when trying to bring a 65-year-old vessel up to modern safety, design, and international regulatory compliance have proven just too great to clear in both a technically and commercially responsible manner," Crystal president and CEO Edie Rodriguez said in a statement.
August 18, 1996 |
The S.S. United States arrived at Pier 96 in South Philadelphia last week from the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal under the Walt Whitman Bridge. The ship, which has been out of service since 1969, was towed into the area last month after undergoing asbestos removal overseas. Owners hope to raise enough money to restore the 990-foot ocean liner. The vessel holds the record as the fastest passenger ship afloat.
February 6, 2002
Queen Elizabeth II (I speak here of the titular regent of the United Kingdom and not of the ocean liner) is celebrating her 50th year on the throne. To mark the occasion, it would be good . . . to give thanks for the British monarchy, which Elizabeth has done so much to make both irrelevant and entertaining. Which is precisely what a monarchy should be. - Bill Tammeus, column, Kansas City Star, Feb. 5
August 16, 1996 |
Dwarfed only by the Walt Whitman Bridge, the SS United States is towed north along the Delaware to its new anchorage at Pier 96 in South Philadelphia. Its owners are trying to put together funding to restore the ocean liner. The 990-foot ship has been undergoing asbestos removal overseas the last few years. Out of service since 1969, the United States still holds the record as the fastest passenger ship afloat.
March 6, 2013 |
Reading her grandmother's diary descriptions on the way to Philadelphia, Susan Gibbs imagined the great ship in its heyday: ladies in their mink stoles, ballroom dancing, indoor pool, champagne, luxurious spa, and pleasant sea breezes. Her grandfather, William Francis Gibbs of Rittenhouse Square, had designed the world's fastest, safest, and most technologically advanced ocean liner - the SS United States - and saw its launch in 1951. His "queen of the seas" represented, for many, America's optimism and can-do spirit after World War II. The 2,000-passenger ship still holds the transatlantic speed record.
June 5, 1991 |
Even if the age of the grand ocean liners is just a memory for those lucky enough to have savored the experience, there are compensations . . . bits and pieces known these days as ocean liner collectibles. Those who never set foot on an ocean liner may collect ships' silver, luggage labels or tags, adorned with nostalgic names like The Normandie, Ile de France and The Breman. The items can be as elegant as a glass panel from the Normandie designed by Lalique or as functional as a wood deck chair from the Europa.