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scrap metal - the worlds last great ocean liners

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This is Italian Line's "Leonardo Da Vinci", a spectacular ship built to replace the lost Andrea Doria. The Da Vinci came four years before the Michelangelo (see my pix in previous post) and Rafaello. The Da Vinci can also be seen to the left of the United States in Bill's third picture on page 1 of this post. The Leonardo Da Vinci was manificent, a floating work of art as were all of Italian Line's vessels. I will try to find some interior pix my family took in 1966 on board....

By the way, can any of you identify the cruise ship (or ocean liner) in that picture?

quite obviously, it has to be about nine times bigger than USS Enterprise....hee, hee...

17b_cruise_ship_and_USS_Enterprise.jpg

That white "pin stripe" down the length of the hull makes it look pretty classy, doesn't it?

I think it was the late 50's or early 60's that a new class of Navy subs switched to 'Patriot' names, like George Washington and Ethan Allen.

Leonardo Da Vinci interior shots, Christmas Cruise 1966. That is my grandmother enjoying the onboard elegance!

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Thanks Maverick! Once somebody suggests the answer, it's not too hard to find corroborating evidence-

here's a Leonardo Da Vinci postcard on eBay- apparently the ship was just 2 years old when my dad shot the picture of it in Athens near Enterprise.

rb41.jpg

My first guess had been Christina- Aristotle Onassis' yacht (which was known to anchor there in the bay when we lived in Athens- Onassis would have his crewmen motor him on a speedboat into one of the Piraeus tavernas at night and he would dance on the tables, drunk as a skunk- at least that's the stories my dad heard in the U.S. embassy annex.)

But I took a closer look at this photo and compared it to some pictures of Christina, and this big momma boat is way bigger- a mega-tonnage liner.

....so.....Leonardo it is!

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I found this personal recollection on the 'net, that explains what Leonardo was doing in Athens in the winter of '62-63:

In addition to her regular mid-Atlantic crossings, the DA VINCI also ran an annual 8-week wintertime Mediterranean-Black Sea cruise and later sailed to the Caribbean and South America. "We always seemed to have lots of celebrities aboard the DA VINCI," added Giancarlo Roccatagliata, a former maitre d'onboard. "On those big Mediterranean cruises, we'd always have celebrities. On the regular crossings, I recall Paul Newman, Gore Vidal, Gloria Swanson, Zachary Scott, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. I especially remember Gloria Swanson bringing along lots of her own food and all of her own mineral water. We also had Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He was great fun, but Miss Taylor wanted lots of privacy and even used the crew stairwells when going to and from the first class restaurant. I also remember Spencer Tracy, Charlton Heston, Prince Rainer and Princess Grace of Monaco, and lots of Catholic hierarchy - the Cardinals and the Archbishops and their entourages."

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Randy, after you mentioned the Onassis yacht, I scratched my head because it sounded familiar to me... then I remembered seeing it in the West Indies last year. Thats me on the left!

Apparently the new owners undertook a major restoration of the vessel, and unlike most people would do actually restored it to the way Ari had it in the 60's, down to bar stools upholstered in whale foreskins. No joke.

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By the way, not all subs are named after fish. Many of the WW II fleet boats were, but the ones I were on were named after famous Americans, and the last ones I worked on were being named for US cities. They probably ran out of fish!!

Well, you have to realize my "facts" are from the 1964 U-505 tour!

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The Queen Mary II will pass by the original Queen Mary in Long Beach twice on Feb. 22 as it sails in and out of San Pedro. The QM2, which is 113 feet longer and nearly twice the gross tonnage of the original, will signal the Long Beach-based vessel, and vice-versa, with their historic whistles at about 7a.m., officials for both ships have said.

The QM2 is scheduled to leave later in the day for a three-day voyage to Ensenada, Mexico, when it will again pass the city's Queen Mary icon.

Both times it passes the Queen Mary, the QM2 will sound a special greeting- a salutation that uses one of her namesake's original whistles, a deep bass A note that can be heard up to 10 miles away.

Another section of the original whistling system will be played aboard the Queen Mary.

I recall from the guided Queen Mary tour that although they 'blow the ship's whistle' (or 'horn') to demonstrate it during the guided tour, warning tourists to cover or plug up their ears, it's nowhere near as loud as it once was. That's because it was originally vented directly off the ship's steam engine system, while today that's impossible since the boilers have been removed, so it's instead ported off an electric powered compressor which is comparitively wimpy (but still impressive). I don't think I had heard the news that they had taken one of the original whistles and mounted it on the QM2. A nice nostalgic touch.

And it sounds like a great 'photo op' on Feb. 22nd- the kind of thing that might make a nice page 1 color spread in the morning papers.

Is it safe to assume that cruise ships arriving (or departing) in New York Harbor are no longer greeted by fireboats putting on a big spray display?

As it turned out, today was the big day, and a welcoming fire boat was out there to make it spectacular, although with these two classic mega-ships, who needed a fireboat?

Here's a slide show covering the 'encounter of the Queens' :

http://lang.presstelegram.com/flash/rendezvous/index.asp

17b_cruise_ship_and_USS_Enterprise.jpg

As if it wasn't enough that Leonardo got attacked by the U.S. Navy.....now Bill Cotter posts a picture of it being attacked by Sinclair's dinosaurs....

10-16-63-dinosaurs.jpg

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Eric Paddon had loaned me a group of slides from the RMS Queen Mary. I just finished scanning them and thought I would share a few here:

queen-mary-1.jpg

Arrival in Long Beach - December 9, 1967

queen-mary-2.jpg

Tourist Class Lounge

queen-mary-3.jpg

Continental Breakfast - On the Promenade Deck

queen-mary-4.jpg

Veranda Grill Paintings

queen-mary-5.jpg

Queen's Salon - Showing Stage

and for Magikbilly:

qm-1.jpg

Model of the Mauretania in the Museum of the Sea

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Hi Bill,

Thanks!!!

"American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt admired Mauretania and mourned her passing into history, commenting, “Every ship has a soul, but the Mauretania had a soul you could talk to”. His personal collection included a large model, over one hundred photographs of the vessel and a brass oil lamp from her “main lobby”. Bob Blake, American Head of Cunard, presented the model, curiously and incorrectly repainted white with green antifouling paint at some point, to Roosevelt. Once displayed aboard the Queen Mary, this model is now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Roosevelt donated his entire collection to the Smithsonian during her final voyage, remarking that he “…found it hard on July 2, 1935 when we read that the MAURETANIA was on her way to the ship-breakers to be turned into shot and shell for the next war”. " - from Mauretenia: Final Voyages, Demolition and Surviving Fittings by Eric Longo (Magkibilly)

P.S. - She was actually not used for "shot and shell", or the superstructure of the QM.

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Speaking of the Queen Mary.

Back in the 80 I was playing a corperate party. During the day we managed to sneek all the way down past where the boilers were (big pipes) and into the bow below the water line with flashlights. This part of the ship was original, dark,rusting catwalks pipes. There was even some water down there

We then hear sombody running toward us.

The LOUD footsteps ran right past us right through the bow followed by a blasy of chilled air, nobody in sight visable. The steps then started coming back

We ran like hell screaming all the way up to the top deck and ran into the guided tour almost knocking them over. (the guide thaught we were all drunk).

It was the most frightning nerve wrecking experience I ever had

-Joe

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Sad news. The S.S. France, more recently known as the S.S. Norway and Blue Lady has been beached at Alang India for demolition this morning. Now there is one less elegant, purebred transatlantic liner in the world.

I just don't know how anybody could have the heart to put a cutters torch to such a magnificent creation.

RIP S.S. France!

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Hi All,

Yes, sad indeed, but not unexpected. I saw an image if it. I have been contacted, for at least a year, by various groups looking to "save" her, buy her, make a museum or hotel - not happening. Even 2-3 weeks ago people were clamoring to do something. One guy wanted me to personally contact all the "wealthy authors and people" I know in the liner area and ask them to help fund this nonsense. Did not even respond to that one. I'm sad to see her go, but hardly surpised. I don't believe she was updated frequently enough - maybe if she had been converted to diesel we'd not be having this conversation.

Besides, it could have wound up as bad as the tasteless atrocity in Branson where stuff never even onboard Titanic is passed off as "genuine" and they "lie" right in the advertising online - quoting Captain Smith as saying "Quote from Titanic's Captain Smith, "I can not conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel." April, 1912." - when he said that in 5 years earlier about the Adriatic when interviewed in NY after her first crossing I believe.

Best,

MB

PS - For you liner fans - you might enjoy the article below if you missed its progress in my sigline:

<a href="http://Northatlanticrun.com" target="_blank">R.M.S. Mauretania: Farewell to the Tyne</a>

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I would see the NORWAY in St.Thomas is was to big to bring in the harbor they used shuttle boats to bring the people in. It was really a sight, its was HUGE and looked like a SHIP

I dont like the newer ships they look like office buildings.

Isnt there a 30 year limit on hulls before needing a major overhaul or is that just for Navy ships. The USS Constilation (CV64) is awating the same fate in the Puget sound

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".....to help fund this nonsense....."

Ouch! Hey Magicbilly, this is liner fans' day of mourning!!! No blasphemy allowed on this day !!

It takes people to save a liner... it doesn't happen by itself. Don't you wish people were interested enough in 1935 to try and preserve Mauretania for future generations to enjoy and learn from? Aren't you grateful that people put a little elbow grease into finding the Queen Mary a new home in 1967 ?? The France was a manmade wonder of the world, and the Dubai investors really really wanted to save the ship and find reuse for it, and they worked hard to do so. But the breakers, in my opinion wouldn't let it happen because it would set a negative precedent for their industry, giving environmentalists and ship lovers too much leverage.

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My parents sailed on the Norway for the Mellenium Cruise. Luckily I have a few stray things from it. Oh how I wished they would have taken more interior photographs. It wasn't until after their cruise that I learned it's past as the S.S. France. It literally makes me sick thinking the once longest vessel in the world will be cut up!

The ship just went through odd remodels and additions that made it stuck in the 60s 80s and 90s.

I really hope those large light fixtures from the first class smoking room/club internationale will be spared. I know NCL has saved much of the artwork in the Norway and will recycle it throughout differen't ships maybe even a Norway Room that would be awesome!

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".....to help fund this nonsense....."

Ouch! Hey Magicbilly, this is liner fans' day of mourning!!! No blasphemy allowed on this day !!

It takes people to save a liner... it doesn't happen by itself. Don't you wish people were interested enough in 1935 to try and preserve Mauretania for future generations to enjoy and learn from? Aren't you grateful that people put a little elbow grease into finding the Queen Mary a new home in 1967 ?? The France was a manmade wonder of the world, and the Dubai investors really really wanted to save the ship and find reuse for it, and they worked hard to do so. But the breakers, in my opinion wouldn't let it happen because it would set a negative precedent for their industry, giving environmentalists and ship lovers too much leverage.

As a fellow "liner fan" I think I can have my opinion on the ex-France. I called the attempts to save her, one only a month ago, when doing so was obviously NOT going to happen, nonsense. It was non-sense. You'd need some of the wealthiest people in the world to get "onboard" for that project - it costs a pretty penny to remove the asbestos and whatever else, replace the power plant and god knows what else - and with what parts? Too little WAY too late. Unrealistic anyway.

As far as the Mauretania - save her for what? Does Long Beach really need another bankrupt hotel? (Is she still bankrupt? I don't know). At that point in 1934, despite still being able to pull 32 knot bursts and the excellent condition of her engines as reported to MI by the Cumberland Engineering Company during her breaking, she was an outdated Edwardian fuel hog with a tremendous appetite and no swimming pools proper and not enough bathrooms, electrical outlets or air conditioning or other things expected by 1930-35 or so. She was becoming more expensive to operate and maintain. She had a long life - she was about ready to be scrapped until after the 1921 fire and refit - her speed was way down by then as well. However, she got a new lease with conversion to oil. Her eventual scrapping at Rosyth, and that of Olympic at Inverkeithing, provided much needed work in those areas of the North where people were really hurting at that time. Olympic was also not in the great shape she was said to be in.

As for 534, her replacement, several of the people I know, including those that worked aboard her in the 1960's-70's, and those that sailed aboard her, find what was done to her distasteful to some degree - one thread online calls it "cultural vandalism". The funnels are fake (for a reason), the engine room and power plant, save for one room, completely gutted (and for what again? Did those plans ever come to be? Of course, there is no paying public for a 1934 engine room, but that is a seperate discussion I guess) ...public spaces "re-interpreted" etc... "room exhibits" yes - but decks away from the correct locations?? What is left is deteriotaing and not being looked after - she is in rough shape right now from what I hear, and not the best representation of what she was like when she was a grand liner. I believe there was water reported in the Chartroom aft of the bridge, and several other areas as well including the Capstan Club, as recently as March. One guy I know summed up his visit with the bungee jumping in the parking lot as the highlight of his visit - and he is a respected liner author(ity)! Another used the word "filthy" to describe its condition. QM in Ca better than nothing? Yes. Money is the bottom line and will remain so. Some actually suggest turning it into a reef. Until then, or some other event, paranormal tours ("I don't know exactly what we'll see on this tour" - umm, right), recreations of Third Class "last suppers aboard Titanic" (minus the unimaginable horrible death - new meaning to "tasteless" as this is a dinner party) and exhibits of fake Marilyn memorabilia will be available. The famous "grey ghost" of WW2 is really a ghost ship now - I think hotel bookings are failing unless I am mistaken.

Best,

MB

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Location, Location, Location. They chose a horrible place to "park" it. It needs to be towed and berthed someplace else- and they wouldn't have to go far (right there within Long Beach Harbor) to put it at a better "destination location". Right across the channel, near the Aquarium, Shoreline Village, and the Convention Center, would be a thousand percent better.

I can see the "fake stacks" from my office window here adjacent to Long Beach Airport.

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Well, I for one have enjoyed both of my visits to the QM in Long Beach. I am glad I have been able to experience her in my lifetime, which began in 1974. I definately was struck by the lack of people and furnishings on board and in the cavernous public rooms, but that is what imagination is for. At least I can see the wood veneers, tasteful decor, round portholes, punkah louvres, linoleum, etc... items totally absent on modern cruise ships. What about the NYS Pavilion? There are many passionate people here who would like their kids to be able to see this type of relic, even if hopelessly outdated, in distrepair and out of its original context (which is usually always impossible to recreate fully in any history lesson).

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"It needs to be towed and berthed someplace else- and they wouldn't have to go far (right there within Long Beach Harbor) to put it at a better "destination location"."

Randy,

From what I understand and have been told, that is practically impossible and would likely result in her sinking. Among other things, the double bottom was filled with solid ballast to weight her down when she was permanently docked at Long Beach, and she is now officially classified as a "building". She is also extremely top heavy - it has been remarked that, were the supports removed, she would capsize.

MB

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When they removed the engines they probably had to replace the keel weight with extra ballast to prevent the top-heavy capsizing that you mention. However, I had thought that the QM is still floating- it's not resting on the bottom (with the possible exception of that partially submerged "room" that they built outside the hull to allow tourists to walk around one of the propellers).

If it's floating, it could be carefully towed/moved/tugged/nudged a short distance inside the harbor. We're only talking a few hundred yards. It's like the distance between the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, right across the Harlem River. But I certainly wouldn't want to try to tow it outside the breakwater, subjecting it to open water currents, tide action and big waves.

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Well, I for one have enjoyed both of my visits to the QM in Long Beach. I am glad I have been able to experience her in my lifetime, which began in 1974.

I second that. The QM was always my choice when visiting LA. They have a wonderful Sunday Brunch in the formal diningroom.

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I don't either- there are no proposals to do so as far as I know.

And the reason?

There are a LOT of parallels to the NYS Pavilion here!!!!

The City of Long Beach has title to the QM and doesn't want to give it away.

Instead they look for somebody to manage it for them under a contract with the City.

And it's those management companies that keep going bankrupt. It never threatens to force the City to sell the ship or anything because there's that legal firewall between the asset and the management of the asset.

So the City of Long Beach has no incentive to reposition the ship to increase accessibility, because they always seem to be able to find some sucker management company to give it a try. If it ever came down to a single management contract bidder, and they demanded that the City reposition the ship or they'd withdraw their management proposal, then maybe it would get the City to think about it.

It sounds like the QM management model is what NYC Parks wants to do too, but unlike Long Beach they can't find anybody willing to manage the NYS Pavilion asset- which they're not sure is even an asset any more (except a silly Air & Space Museum proposal )

Maybe Long Beach and NYC Parks can trade concepts- turn the NYS Pavilion into a hotel/restaurant complex, and stuff airplanes & rockets into all the big rooms in the Queen Mary. That's the ticket!

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Thanks to my grandfather and his movie camera I do have film of the France when she made her maiden voyage to New york in 1962. He and his friend walked through many of the public rooms and a few cabins. It includes some great views of the New York Skyline from her Decks.

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