22 Facts About SS Normandie


SS Normandie was a French ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the French Line Compagnie Generale Transatlantique .

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SS Normandie's entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat, crossing the Atlantic in a record 4.

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Origins of Normandie can be traced to the 1920s, when the U S put restrictions on immigration, greatly reducing the traditional market for steerage-class passengers from Europe, and placing a new emphasis on upper-class tourists, largely Americans, many of them wanting to escape prohibition.

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SS Normandie's concepts worked wonderfully in scale models, confirming the design's performance advantages.

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SS Normandie approached Cunard with his ideas, but was rejected because the bow was deemed too radical.

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SS Normandie's was outfitted until early 1935, her interiors, funnels, engines, and other fittings put in to make her into a working vessel.

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Finally, in May 1935, SS Normandie was ready for trials, which were watched by reporters.

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The room could seat 700 at 157 tables, with SS Normandie serving as a floating promotion for the most sophisticated French cuisine of the period.

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SS Normandie's reached New York City after four days, three hours and two minutes, taking away the Blue Riband from the Italian liner Rex.

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SS Normandie had a successful year but Queen Mary, Cunard White Star Line's superliner, entered service in the summer of 1936.

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SS Normandie carried distinguished passengers, including the authors Colette and Ernest Hemingway; the wife of French President Albert Lebrun; songwriters Noel Coward and Irving Berlin; and Hollywood celebrities such as Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, Walt Disney, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, and James Stewart.

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SS Normandie's never repaid any of the loans that made her construction possible.

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SS Normandie remained in French hands, with French crewmembers on board, led by Captain Herve Lehuede, into the spring of 1940.

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SS Normandie's was renamed Lafayette and reclassified as an aircraft and transport ferry, APV-4, on 15 September 1943 and placed in drydock the following month.

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SS Normandie's was cut up for scrap beginning in October 1946 at Port Newark, New Jersey, and completely scrapped by 31 December 1948.

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The ambience of classic transatlantic liners like SS Normandie was the source of inspiration for Disney Cruise Line's matching vessels, Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy.

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SS Normandie inspired the architecture and design of the SS Normandie Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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The hotel's roof sign is one of the two signs that adorned the top deck of SS Normandie but were removed from it during an early refitting.

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SS Normandie name inspired that of The Normandy apartment building in New York City.

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Items from SS Normandie were sold at a series of auctions after her demise, and many pieces are considered valuable Art Deco treasures today.

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The cruise ship had a separate SS Normandie Restaurant, designed to reflect the interiors of the liner, and containing gold lacquered panels from the SS Normandie's First Class Smoking Room.

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Pieces from SS Normandie occasionally appear on the BBC television series Antiques Roadshow and on its American counterpart.

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