Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Great Ship "S.S. United States" Is Looking Long in the Tooth (Like Me!)

In the summer of 1967 I had the miraculous opportunity of studying in Salzburg and Innsbruck, Austria for my Sophomore year in college (I was a student at the University of Notre Dame). This was an astonishing thing for a working class boy from Euclid, Ohio.

For the same tuition that we paid for my Freshman year at Notre Dame, we got ship passage (S.S. United States) to and from Europe, train passage from Le Havre, France, to Salzburg, room and board in Austria, plus tuition and field trips. The total cost was around $2500--not cheap back then, but not like the $50,000 per year price tag of today's elite universities (including Notre Dame).

The S.S. United States was not as luxurious as today's cruise ships, but it was big and very fast. It also was safe and it worked--it didn't break down like so many cruise ships today. We made the passage from New York City to Le Havre, France, in 4 or 5 days. I wonder how long it took my Irish and German ancestors to come from Europe to America by sailing ship (weeks? a month? longer?).

I had heard that the ship was now mothballed in Philadelphia Harbor. A former classmate of mine, Charlie Bradley, sent around the following video and news report on the sorry state of the ship right now. It looks like a gigantic rust bucket! Attempts are being made to raise money to save it. Good luck!

Check out this link for video, a slide show, and a story on the S.S. United States:

No comments: