Empress of the Seas
Empress of the Seas is a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. She was operated by Pullmantur Cruises as Empress; the ship was ordered by Admiral Cruises and was intended to be called the Future Seas and join the other Admiral ships, the Azure Seas and the Emerald Seas. However, when Royal Caribbean merged with Admiral in 1987, the Admiral brand was dissolved and the newbuild was incorporated into the Royal Caribbean fleet. A few signature Royal Caribbean brand elements were added, including the Viking Crown and Windjammer Cafe; the ship was named Nordic Empress and was the final Royal Caribbean ship whose name did not end with "of the Seas" until the name was changed to match the rest of the fleet following an extensive rebuilding that ended on 8 May 2004. Nordic Empress was the first mainstream cruise ship designed for the 3 and 4 day cruise market, her initial itinerary was a short cruise to the Bahamas, combined with 3 and 4 day cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1999, following the sale of the Song of America, the Nordic Empress took over the New York City to Bermuda route.
In 2000, Royal Caribbean announced that the Nordic Empress would be undertaking a series of cruises in South America. Shortly after these cruises were put on sale, Royal Caribbean decided to replace the Nordic Empress with the Splendour of the Seas on the South American itineraries, leaving the Nordic Empress in the Caribbean. In June 2001 the Nordic Empress suffered extensive engine room fire damage while sailing 140 miles north of Bermuda. Subsequent investigation revealed the cause of the fire was failure of a loose bolt in a fuel line flange assembly, improperly repaired; the broken bolt caused the flange assembly to separate. Moments after a low fuel pressure alarm sounded in the engine room, the leaking fuel ignited against the hot engine surfaces, causing a large explosion, visible on the engine room CCTV; the engines were stopped and all fuel pumps switched off. Crew members attempting to enter the engine area to fight to fire with fire hoses were forced to turn back from the intense heat.
6 minutes into the fire, the engine room overhead fire sprinkler system was activated along with the ship's general emergency alarm. The sprinklers appeared to have extinguished the fire after 4 minutes, crew once again attempted to re-enter the engine area, only to have the residual fuel in the engine area ignite a flash fire, extinguished with fire hoses. During the subsequent inspection of the engine room and surrounding areas, burning wires were discovered in an adjacent compartment; the space was evacuated before lowering watertight doors and releasing 885 kg of halon and restarting the overhead sprinkler system. 3 hours after the first fire broke out, the incident was logged as resolved. The ship was able to return to Bermuda under reduced power, was subsequently taken out of service for 2 weeks for repairs. Total expenses and lost revenue related to the fire totaled over $8.8 million. Actress Tina Fey and recently married husband Jeff Richmond were on board at the time; the incident was recounted in Bossypants.
On 26 March 2007, it was reported that in March 2008, the Empress of the Seas would be transferred to the fleet of Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises. Her final voyage for Royal Caribbean took place on 7 March 2008; the maiden voyage as Empress for Pullmantur Cruises took place on 15 March 2008. In November 2012, the Empress was the first of the fleet to receive a brand new logo as well as new hull color scheme. In October 2015, it was announced that Pullmantur would be transferring Empress of the Seas back to Royal Caribbean. On 21 December 2018 Empress of the Seas rescued two fishermen who were without food, fuel or water after having set sail in the Caribbean sea twenty days earlier. Crew members operating the radar system for the Empress of the Seas had noticed an anomaly that turned out to be the small fishing boat. Royal Caribbean lowered one of its lifeboats to rescue the fishermen. Pullmantur refocused on Europe after concentrating passenger sourcing efforts on Latin and South America after the Spanish market went soft.
As a result, MS Empress returned to Royal Caribbean after a dry dock in Spring 2016 and was again named Empress of the Seas. The Royal Caribbean "Crown and Anchor" logo was reinstalled onto her funnel, she was repainted with Royal Caribbean's livery, although without her original hull striping. On 21 December 2015, Royal Caribbean started offering 4- and 5-night Empress of the Seas cruises from Miami scheduled to begin 30 March 2016, with the Bahamas, Key West, Grand Cayman among ports to be visited. On 18 March 2016, Royal Caribbean announced that the reintroduction of Empress of the Seas into its fleet would be delayed until 25 April 2016, on 20 April 2016, Royal Caribbean announced a further delay to 28 May 2016 to give them time to rebuild the ships galleys. In the novel World War Z, by Max Brooks, the Nordic Empress is found to be infested by zombies and drifting near Dakar, Senegal by the Chinese Type 094 submarine Admiral Zheng He. Empress of the Seas operates sailings from Miami with calls at Key West and CocoCay.
In 2019, the ship is scheduled to take more extended cruises to Cuba. Besides Havana, she will visit Santiago de Cuba. Empress of the Seas at Royalcaribbean.com High-resolution cutaway of Empress of the Seas
Bellamya was a supertanker, built in 1976 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire for the French branch of Shell Oil. She was the second Batillus class supertanker. Bellamya, together with her sister ships Batillus, Pierre Guillaumat and Prairial, was one of the biggest ships in the world, surpassed in size only by Seawise Giant built in 1976, extended in 1981, although the four ships of the Batillus class had a larger gross tonnage. If size is indicated by gross tonnage—a measure of volume--Bellamya was the largest ship built; the contract to build the Batillus class supertankers was signed on April 6, 1971, the first sheet metal was cut in January 1975. Meanwhile, the oil shock caused by the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 resulted in higher oil prices and reduced imports by industrialized countries; the cancellation of the orders was considered, but Shell concluded that it was better to continue to not put the shipyard in a difficult position by withdrawing such a huge initiated project.
It was hoped for an improvement in market conditions. The ship was completed and put in service in 1976, months after the completion of her sister ship Batillus, that of the new, purposely built, oil terminal Antifer, near Le Havre, one of few ports in the world capable of accommodating Batillus class tankers; the international oil market however, did not improve. Active service ended when Bellamya was laid up at Vestnes, Norway, on January 26, 1984, she arrived at Ulsan, South Korea, on January 6, 1986 to be scrapped. Length overall was 414.22 m, beam 80.0 m, draft 28.50 m, deadweight tonnage 553.662, gross tonnage 275.276. Propulsion was provided by two propellers each driven by two Stal-Laval steam turbines developing a total capacity of 64.800 Hp. The service speed was 16.7 knots, with fuel consumption of about 330 tonnes of heavy oil per day and fuel enough for 42 days. The cargo was carried in 40 tanks with a total volume of 677,300 m3, they were divided into central and lateral tanks, whose dimensions was designed to reduce the risk of pollution caused by collision or grounding.
Ahead of the international standards of the time, the wing tanks had a maximum unit volume not exceeding 17,000 m3, reduced to 9,000 m3 in the most vulnerable parts of ship. Batillus class supertankers Batillus Pierre Guillaumat Prairial Gallery and technical information at aukevisser.nl Article "Le Marin" du 5 juillet 1996 Bellamya at helderline.nl Les pétroliers de 550.000 tonnes Gallery and various information
A shipyard is a place where ships are built and repaired. These can be military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction; the terms are used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has caused them to change or merge roles. Countries with large shipbuilding industries include Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Vietnam; the shipbuilding industry is more fragmented in Europe than in Asia where countries tend to have fewer, larger companies. Many naval vessels are built or maintained in shipyards owned or operated by the national government or navy. Shipyards are constructed near tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships; the United Kingdom, for example, has shipyards on many of its rivers.
The site of a large shipyard will contain many specialised cranes, dry docks, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities and large areas for fabrication of the ships. After a ship's useful life is over, it makes its final voyage to a shipbreaking yard on a beach in South Asia. Shipbreaking was carried on in drydock in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions. Welding, sandblasting and other maintenance work contribute pollution. Ship hulls have many layers of anti-fouling and anti-corrosion paint. Shipyards around the world paint ships by airtight spraying or by thermal spraying. Studies have shown that painting generates half of the dangerous waste at a shipyard due to using high-pressure equipment to wash or remove any unwanted material, on it like rust; this material will make its way to the water as water pollution. In a study in 2011 samples of sediments were collected from two sites in coastal marine area of Yongho Bay, one from the shipyard and the other 500m away.
Both samples contained metals that included Al, Fe, Li, V, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Sn, Pb. In addition, it had been confirmed that the concentration was higher in the first sample, by the shipyard the sample taking 500m away and was due to paint fragments applied to the steel ship hulls. After a ship has been used it is scrapped at a shipyard, but the process can release excessive amounts of pollution. Paints used for hulls are anti-fouling paints. Over time weathering from ships will sink to the bottom of the seabed and the most common component, toxic in paint used in shipyards is triphenyl tetrazolium and can be treated by using dolomitic sorbents. In 2005, a study showed the high level of toxicity of TBT compounds to organisms in the ocean and what can be done to reduce the pollution by using dolomitic sorbents. In the study, a sample of shipyard water was used in the experiment in a period over 14 days. At the end the experiment it was concluded that dolomitic and dolomite were successful in reducing the contaminants from the shipyard wastewater.
Welding is the most important factor in ship building and should be performed by qualified welders in order to protect the ship structure. It is achieved by heating the surfaces to the point of melting using oxy-acetylene, electric arc, or other means, uniting them by pressing, etc, but in shipyards, there are times when the welder weld. Welding can produce toxic fumes such as Nitric Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Carbon Dioxide can result in serious damage to human health or death if ventilation is not present. A case study was performed to see where would be most effective place to exhaust the hull cells on the bulkhead in between two spaces using an air horn versus air with an electric blower, they asked them to weld in a specific space. One that had shipyard dilution ventilation and the other had local exhaust ventilation recorded to see which typed of ventilation worked the best. In the results, they found that local exhaust ventilation reduced particulate concentrations but the efficiency of either method depended on equipment maintenance and their own work practices because everyone has a different way of getting things done.
The world's earliest known dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2600 BC in Gujarat, India. Lothal's dockyards connected to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert was a part of the Arabian Sea. Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse to serve the purposes of naval trade; the dock was built on the eastern flank of the town, is regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. It was located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, but provided access to ships in high tide as well; the name of the ancient Greek city of Naupactus means "shipyard". Naupactus' reputation in this field extends to the time of legend, where it is depicted as the place where the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade the Peloponnesus. In the Spanish city of Barcelona, the Drassanes shipyards were active from at least the mid-13th century until the 18th century, although i
The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of 1,012 kilometres, it drains an area of 117,054 km2, or more than a fifth of France's land area, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône, it rises in the highlands of the southeastern quarter of the French Massif Central in the Cévennes range at 1,350 m near Mont Gerbier de Jonc. Its main tributaries include the rivers Nièvre and the Erdre on its right bank, the rivers Allier, Indre and the Sèvre Nantaise on the left bank; the Loire gives its name to six departments: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley, located in the Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire regions, was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. Vineyards and châteaux are found along the banks of the river throughout this section and are a major tourist attraction; the human history of the Loire river valley begins with the Middle Palaeolithic period of 90–40 kya, followed by modern humans, succeeded by the Neolithic period, all of the recent Stone Age in Europe.
Came the Gauls, the historical tribes in the Loire during the Iron Age period 1500 to 500 BC. Gallic rule ended in the valley in 56 BC when Julius Caesar conquered the adjacent provinces for Rome. Christianity was introduced into this valley from the 3rd century AD, as missionaries, converted the pagans. In this period, settlers began producing wines; the Loire Valley has been called the "Garden of France" and is studded with over a thousand châteaux, each with distinct architectural embellishments covering a wide range of variations, from the early medieval to the late Renaissance periods. They were created as feudal strongholds, over centuries past, in the strategic divide between southern and northern France; the name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, itself a transcription of the native Gaulish name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legʰ-, meaning "to lie, lay" as in the Welsh word Lleyg, which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, law, etc.
Studies of the palaeo-geography of the region suggest that the palaeo-Loire flowed northward and joined the Seine, while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "palaeo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise, producing the present river; the former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing. The Loire Valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period from 40–90 ka. Neanderthal man navigated the river. Modern man inhabited the Loire valley around 30 ka. By around 5000 to 4000 BC, they began clearing forests along the river edges and cultivating the lands and rearing livestock, they built megaliths to worship the dead from around 3500 BC. The Gauls arrived in the valley between 1500 and 500 BC, the Carnutes settled in Cenabum in what is now Orléans and built a bridge over the river. By 600 BC the Loire had become a important trading route between the Celts and the Greeks.
A key transportation route, it served as one of the great "highways" of France for over 2000 years. The Phoenicians and Greeks had used pack horses to transport goods from Lyon to the Loire to get from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coast; the Romans subdued the Gauls in 52 BC and began developing Cenabum, which they named Aurelianis. They began building the city of Caesarodunum, now Tours, from AD 1; the Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, around 150 km downriver from the source. After AD 16, the Loire river valley became part of the Roman province of Aquitania, with its capital at Avaricum. From the 3rd century, Christianity spread through the river basin, many religious figures began cultivating vineyards along the river banks. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire declined and the Franks and the Alemanni came to the area from the east. Following this there was ongoing conflict between the Franks and the Visigoths. In 408, the Iranian tribe of Alans crossed the Loire and large hordes of them settled along the middle course of the Loire in Gaul under King Sangiban.
Many inhabitants around the present city of Orléans have names bearing witness to the Alan presence – Allaines. In the 9th century, the Vikings began invading the west coast of France, using longships to navigate the Loire. In 853 they attacked and destroyed Tours and its famous abbey destroying Angers in raids of 854 and 872. In 877 Charles the Bald died. After considerable conflict in the region, in 898 Foulques le Roux of Anjou gained power. During the Hundred Years' War from 1337 to 1453, the Loire marked the border between the French and the English, who occupied territory to the north. One-third of the inhabitants died in the epidemic of the Black D
The SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. She entered service in 1935 as the fastest passenger ship afloat, her novel design and lavish interiors led many to consider her the greatest of ocean liners. Despite this, she was not a commercial success and relied on government subsidy to operate. During service as the flagship of the CGT, she made 139 westbound transatlantic crossings from her home port of Le Havre to New York. Normandie held the Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing at several points during her service career, during which the RMS Queen Mary was her main rival. During World War II, Normandie was seized by U. S. authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette. In 1942, the liner caught fire while being converted to a troopship, capsized onto her port side and came to rest on the mud of the Hudson River at Pier 88, the site of the current New York Passenger Ship Terminal. Although salvaged at great expense, restoration was deemed too costly and she was scrapped in October 1946.
The beginnings of Normandie can be traced to the Roaring Twenties when shipping companies began looking to replace veterans such as RMS Mauretania and RMS Olympic. Those earlier boats had been designed around the huge numbers of steerage-class immigrants from Europe to the United States; when the U. S. closed the door on most immigration in the early 1920s, steamship companies ordered vessels built to serve upper-class tourists instead Americans who traveled to Europe to escape the Prohibition of alcohol. Companies like Cunard and the White Star Line planned to build their own superliners to rival newer boats of the day; the French Line began to plan its own superliner. The French Line's flagship was the Ile de France, which had modern Art Deco interiors but a conservative hull design; the designers intended their new superliner to be similar to earlier French Line boats. They were approached by Vladimir Yourkevitch, a former ship architect for the Imperial Russian Navy, who had emigrated to France after the revolution.
His ideas included a slanting clipper-like bow and a bulbous forefoot beneath the waterline, in combination with a slim hydrodynamic hull. Yourkevitch's concepts worked wonderfully in scale models, confirming his design's performance advantages; the French engineers asked Yourkevitch to join their project. He approached Cunard with his ideas, but was rejected because the bow was deemed too radical; the French Line commissioned artists to create posters and publicity for the liner. One of the most famous posters was by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, a Russian emigrant to France. Another poster by Albert Sébille, showed the interior layout in a cutaway diagram 15 feet long; this poster is displayed in the Musée national de la Marine in Paris. Work by the Société Anonyme des Chantiers de Penhoët began on the unnamed flagship on 26 January 1931 at Saint-Nazaire, soon after the stock market crash of 1929. While the French continued construction, the competing White Star Line ship was cancelled and Cunard's Queen Mary was put on hold.
French builders ran into difficulty and had to ask for government money. Still, building was followed by newspapers and national interest was deep, as she was designed to represent France in the nation-state contest of the great liners and was built in a French shipyard using French parts; the growing hull in Saint-Nazaire had no formal designation except the contract name. Many names were suggested including Doumer, after Paul Doumer, the assassinated President of France. Normandie was chosen. In France, boat prefixes properly depend on the boat name's gender, but non-sailors use the masculine form, inherited from the French terms for boat, which can be "paquebot", "navire", "bateau", or "bâtiment", but English speakers refer to boats as feminine, the French Line carried many rich American customers. French Line wrote that their boat was to be called "Normandie," preceded by neither "le" nor "la" to avoid any confusion. On 29 October 1932 – three years to the day after the stock market crash – Normandie was launched in front of 200,000 spectators.
The 27,567-ton hull that slid into the Loire River was the largest launched and the wave crashed into a few hundred people, but with no injury. The boat was christened by wife of Albert Lebrun, the President of France. Normandie was outfitted until early 1935, her interiors, funnels and other fittings put in to make her into a working vessel. In May 1935, Normandie was ready for trials, which were watched by reporters; the superiority of Yourkevitch's hull was visible: hardly a wave was created off the bulbous bow. The boat reached a top speed of 32.125 knots and performed an emergency stop from that speed in 1,700 m. In addition to a novel hull which let her attain speed at far less power than other big liners, Normandie was filled with technical feats, she had turbo-electric transmission, with turbo-generators and electric propulsion motors built by Alsthom of Belfort. CGT chose turbo-electric transmission for the ability to use full power in reverse, because, according to CGT officials, it was quieter and more controlled and maintained.
The engine installation was heavier than conventional turbi
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area, it separates the "Old World" from the "New World". The Atlantic Ocean occupies an elongated, S-shaped basin extending longitudinally between Europe and Africa to the east, the Americas to the west; as one component of the interconnected global ocean, it is connected in the north to the Arctic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, the Indian Ocean in the southeast, the Southern Ocean in the south. The Equatorial Counter Current subdivides it into the North Atlantic Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean at about 8°N. Scientific explorations of the Atlantic include the Challenger expedition, the German Meteor expedition, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the United States Navy Hydrographic Office; the oldest known mentions of an "Atlantic" sea come from Stesichorus around mid-sixth century BC: Atlantikoi pelágei and in The Histories of Herodotus around 450 BC: Atlantis thalassa where the name refers to "the sea beyond the pillars of Heracles", said to be part of the sea that surrounds all land.
Thus, on one hand, the name refers to Atlas, the Titan in Greek mythology, who supported the heavens and who appeared as a frontispiece in Medieval maps and lent his name to modern atlases. On the other hand, to early Greek sailors and in Ancient Greek mythological literature such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, this all-encompassing ocean was instead known as Oceanus, the gigantic river that encircled the world. In contrast, the term "Atlantic" referred to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the sea off the Strait of Gibraltar and the North African coast; the Greek word thalassa has been reused by scientists for the huge Panthalassa ocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea hundreds of millions of years ago. The term "Aethiopian Ocean", derived from Ancient Ethiopia, was applied to the Southern Atlantic as late as the mid-19th century. During the Age of Discovery, the Atlantic was known to English cartographers as the Great Western Ocean; the term The Pond is used by British and American speakers in context to the Atlantic Ocean, as a form of meiosis, or sarcastic understatement.
The term dates to as early as 1640, first appearing in print in pamphlet released during the reign of Charles I, reproduced in 1869 in Nehemiah Wallington's Historical Notices of Events Occurring Chiefly in The Reign of Charles I, where "great Pond" is used in reference to the Atlantic Ocean by Francis Windebank, Charles I's Secretary of State. The International Hydrographic Organization defined the limits of the oceans and seas in 1953, but some of these definitions have been revised since and some are not used by various authorities and countries, see for example the CIA World Factbook. Correspondingly, the extent and number of oceans and seas varies; the Atlantic Ocean is bounded on the west by South America. It connects to the Arctic Ocean through the Denmark Strait, Greenland Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea. To the east, the boundaries of the ocean proper are Europe: the Strait of Africa. In the southeast, the Atlantic merges into the Indian Ocean; the 20° East meridian, running south from Cape Agulhas to Antarctica defines its border.
In the 1953 definition it extends south to Antarctica, while in maps it is bounded at the 60° parallel by the Southern Ocean. The Atlantic has irregular coasts indented by numerous bays and seas; these include the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, part of the Drake Passage, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea all of the Scotia Sea, other tributary water bodies. Including these marginal seas the coast line of the Atlantic measures 111,866 km compared to 135,663 km for the Pacific. Including its marginal seas, the Atlantic covers an area of 106,460,000 km2 or 23.5% of the global ocean and has a volume of 310,410,900 km3 or 23.3% of the total volume of the earth's oceans. Excluding its marginal seas, the Atlantic covers 81,760,000 km2 and has a volume of 305,811,900 km3; the North Atlantic covers 41,490,000 km2 and the South Atlantic 40,270,000 km2. The average depth is 3,646 m and the maximum depth, the Milwaukee Deep in the Puerto Rico Trench, is 8,486 m.
The bathymetry of the Atlantic is dominated by a submarine mountain range called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It runs from 87°N or 300 km south of the North Pole to the subantarctic Bouvet Island at 42°S; the MAR divides the Atlantic longitudinally into two halves, in each of which a series of basins are delimited by secondary, transverse ridges. The MAR reaches above 2,000 m along most of its length, but is interrupted by larger transform faults at two places: the Romanche Trench near the Equator and the Gibbs Fracture Zone at 53°N; the MAR is a barrier for bottom water, but at these two transform faults deep water currents can pass from one side to the othe
SS France (1960)
SS France was a Compagnie Générale Transatlantique ocean liner, constructed by the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard at Saint-Nazaire and put into service in February 1962. At the time of her construction in 1960, the 316 m vessel was the longest passenger ship built, a record that remained unchallenged until the construction of the 345 m RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. France was purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1979, renamed SS Norway and underwent significant modifications that better suited her for cruising duties, she was renamed SS Blue Lady and sold to be scrapped in 2006, scrapping was completed in late 2008. France was the French Line flagship from 1961 to 1974, combining regular five days/nights transatlantic crossings with occasional winter cruises, as well as two world circumnavigations. During her last years, to save fuel costs, crossings took six days/nights; as Norway she was the flagship of the Norwegian Cruise Line from 1980 to 2001. Some, like ship historian John Maxtone-Graham, believe that France was purposely built to serve as both a liner and a cruise ship, stating: "Once again, the company had cruise conversion in mind... for cruises, all baffle doors segregating staircases from taboo decks were opened to permit free circulation throughout the vessel."
However, such as ship historian William Miller, have asserted that France was the "last purposely designed year-round transatlantic supership." France was constructed to replace the line's other ageing ships like SS Ile de France and SS Liberté, which were outdated by the 1950s. Without these vessels the French Line had no ability to compete against their rivals, most notably the Cunard Line, which had plans for constructing a new modern liner, it was rumoured that this ship would be a 75,000-ton replacement for their ships RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth. Further, the United States Lines had put into service in 1952 SS United States, which had broken all speed records on her maiden voyage, with an average speed of 35.59 knots. At first, the idea of two 35,000-ton running mates was considered to replace Ile de France and Liberté. Charles de Gaulle opined that it would be better for French national pride flagging due to the ongoing Algerian War of Independence, to construct one grand ocean liner, in the tradition of SS Normandie, as an ocean-going showcase for France.
The idea of such a publicly funded liner was controversial, leading to raucous debates in the French parliament. The dealing lasted three and a half years, though the letter commissioning the construction was signed by the Chairman of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, Jean Marie, on 25 July 1956, debate about the form and construction schedule for France lasted a further year. Beyond the luxuries, the French Line had to face the realities that transatlantic passenger trade was forecast to decline due to increased air travel. Costs to operate ships were increasing due to prices of crude oil. Thus, the new ship would be smaller and cheaper to operate than Normandie, she would only be a two-class liner, which would, like the built SS Rotterdam, be able to be converted from a segregated, class restricted crossing mode to a unified, classless cruising mode, thereby allowing the ship to be more versatile in its operations. Despite these requirements, she was still to be the longest ship built, as well as one of the fastest, meaning not only an advanced propulsion system, but a hull design which would withstand the rigours of the North Atlantic at high speed.
Hull G19 was built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, in Saint-Nazaire, her keel being laid down on 7 September 1957. She was built in a pioneering manner: rather than constructing a skeleton, covered in steel hull plating, large parts of the ship were prefabricated in other cities; the hull was welded, leading to weight savings, two sets of stabilisers were fitted. She was blessed by the Bishop of Nantes, Monseigneur Villepelet, launched on 11 May 1960, at 4:15 pm, by Madame Yvonne de Gaulle, wife of the President, was named France, in honour both of the country, of the two previous CGT ships to bear the name. By 4:22 pm France was afloat and under command of tugs. President De Gaulle was in attendance at the launch, gave a patriotic speech, announcing that France had been given a new Normandie, they were able to compete now with Cunard's Queens, the Blue Riband was within their reach. In reality, the 35 knots speed of United States would prove impossible to beat. After the launch, the propellers were installed, the distinctive funnels affixed to the upper decks, the superstructure completed, life boats placed in their davits, the interiors fitted out.
France undertook her sea trials on 19 November 1961, averaged an unexpected 35.21 knots. With the French Line satisfied, the ship was handed over, undertook a trial cruise to the Canary Islands with a full complement of passengers and crew. During this short trip she met, at sea, Liberté, on her way to the shipbreakers. France's maiden voyage to New York took place on 3 February 1962, with many of France's film stars and aristocracy aboard. On 14 December 1962, France carried the Mona Lisa from Le Havre to New York, where the painting was to embark on an American tour, she sailed the North Atlantic run between New York for thirteen years. By the beginning of the 1970s jet travel was by far more popular than