Crystal Cruises announced something truly unique this morning, its intent to revitalize the fastest oceanliner in the world, the S.S. United States.
“The prospect of revitalizing the SS United States and reestablishing her as ‘America’s Flagship’ once again is a thrilling one. It will be a very challenging undertaking, but we are determined to apply the dedication and innovation that has always been the ship’s hallmark,” says Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez. “We are honored to work with the SS United States Conservancy and government agencies in exploring the technical feasibility study so we can ultimately embark on the journey of transforming her into a sophisticated luxury cruise liner for the modern era.”
I have written about “The Big U” before. While I have no personal connection to the ship, the S.S. United States is historically important, and frankly reminds me of a time when we used to do shocking stuff in this country like build things that matter. The ship’s construction was heavily subsidized by the U.S. government and was designed as part of a top-secret national defense project. The S.S. United States was capable of being converted into a troop transport that could carry as many as 15,000 troops up to 10,000 nautical miles. Her top speed was classified, but she still holds the Blue Riband for fastest trans-Atlantic crossing.
Will the SS United States Sail Again?
Obviously, a lot has changed since the ship first set sail in 1952, and bringing the United States up to the latest maritime standards will require an enormous investment of time and money. I’ll be honest, I never would have guessed that anyone would consider refurbishing the ship for service was commercially viable. To be clear, Crystal has actually agreed to pay the berthing costs for the ship while they study the possibility of making her commercially viable again. Anything is possible. Color me hopeful. No matter what, I’m glad that the Big U is not immediately destined for the breakers. The ship is way too historically important for that.
-MJ, February 4, 2016