The Story of the S.S. America

Plans for the S.S. America were laid down under the first Maritime Commission contract on August 22, 1938. The builder was to be the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry dock Company, in Newport News Virginia. The America was designed by noted naval architect William Francis Gibbs and constructed for the United States Lines company.  She was one of the few ocean liners of the time that had interiors designed by women.

The S.S. America was launched on August 31, 1939 and was sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the President of the United States.  The America served her owners faithfully for 55 years until she was finally run aground in the Canary Islands in 1994.  To this day she sits stranded, and deteriorating.


The S.S. America was the flagship of the United States Lines when she commenced her maiden voyage on August 22, 1940. In less than a year, she was called up to assist the allied efforts during World War II.


Military Call-up

After entry in World War II, the United States military was desperate for transport.  Non-essential civilian ships were often temporarily employed for use by the armed services.

For the S. S. America, the call would come whilst on cruise to Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. In late May of 1941 she was ordered to return to Newport News to be handed over to the Navy.

The America was moored at Norfolk and acquired by the Navy on June 1, 1941, to be used as a troop transport. The ship was renamed the USS West Point. (AP-23, below right)

SS AmericaIn 1945 the U.S.S. West Point traveled to Italian and French ports. Its mission was to take part in the “Magic Carpet” voyages, bringing home American troops from the European battlefronts.

During her Naval service she would carry over 350,000 troops – the most of any Navy troopship in service during World War II.

The West Point would also carry Red Cross workers, United Nations officials, children, civilians, prisoners of war, and U.S.O. entertainers.

Eventually she was re-titled the America and returned to the civilian sector. In 1952 she was joined by a sister ship run by United States Lines, the S.S. United States. With the introduction of the larger and faster ship in 1952, America’s reign as queen of the US merchant marine was short-lived.

S.S. United States (background) & S.S. America (foreground)


Post-US service: The Chandris Group

The S.S. America was sold to the Greek-owned Chandris Group in 1964 and renamed “Australis“. At twenty-four years old, she was facing competition from newer, faster ships as well as airplane travel.

The postwar emigrant run from Europe to Australia proved to be a lucrative market for aging passenger ships due to the cheaper cost than air travel. Australis was the last liner providing a regular service from Southampton to Australia and New Zealand until her final voyage on November 18, 1977.

After arriving at Auckland, she was laid up at Timaru on December 23, 1977.


Embarrassing years under Venture Cruises

SS AmericaFollowing a brief layup in Timaru New Zealand, Australis was sold to Venture Cruises of New York. Under Venture Cruises ownership, the ship was renamed the S.S. America once again in an attempt to capitalize on the ship’s heritage.

Venture Cruises’ S.S. America set off on her first cruise on June 30, 1978. Her refit, however, had not been completed in time for the maiden voyage.

The ship was reportedly filthy, with piles of soiled linens and worn mattresses strewn about. There were scattered piles of trash and plumbing issues resulted in toilet backups.

Water in overhead pipes leaked. Boards on the floor creaked when you walked on them. Doors wouldn’t shut properly. Along with numerous maintenance issues, visible attempts to spruce the ship up hadn’t fared well either.

SS AmericaMultiple layers of exposed paint was visible on the outer bulkheads, lifeboat davits, and lifeboat gear. Additionally, the public rooms were carelessly repainted, the America’s stainless steel trims now scarred with brush strokes.

Customers reported having discovered cockroaches and rats on the ship as well.

Due to overbooking and her incomplete state of repair, a number of passengers immediately mutinied. The captain was forced to return to New York, having only barely just passed the Statue of Liberty. 960 passengers were offloaded upon the ship’s arrival. On a second attempted disembarking later that day, an additional 200 passengers left via tender at Staten Island.

The S.S. America left for a five-day cruise to Nova Scotia on July 3, 1978. When the cruise was over, she was met with $2.5 million in civil claims from passengers. Further issues plagued Venture Cruises and they would eventually scuttle operations. All cruises were cancelled and on July 18th the S.S. America was seized for non-payment of debts.

The America received an inspection score of 6 out of a possible 100 points by the US Public Health Service. On August 28, 1978, the S.S. America was ordered to be sold at auction by the United States district court to satisfy debts.


Second turn at Chandris Lines

Chandris Lines re-purchased the S.S. America for one million dollars and renamed her Italis (“Italian Lady”).

Chandris had the first funnel (stack) removed and Italis operated under Chandris Lines as a hotel ship from June 23 to July 20, 1979 when she was chartered for the OAU Conference held in Monrovia, Liberia.

Italis then carried out three 14-night cruises from Genoa and Barcelona to Egypt, Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean beginning on July 28, 1979.

SS America

At the end of this series of cruises she was finally laid up in Elefsina Bay, Piraeus on September 12, 1979.


The Beginning of the End

SS AmericaThe ship was sold to Intercommerce Corporation in 1980 and renamed the S.S. Noga. Intercommerce planned to convert the ship into a private contractor-operated prison ship. They intended to anchor the ship in Beirut, but this would never happen.

In September 1984 the ship was sold to Silver Moon Ferries and was again renamed, now called Alferdoss (“paradise” in Arabic).

While under the ownership of Silver Moon Ferries, a rusted bilge pipe burst and caused flooding in the engine room and crew quarters.

The ship started to list quickly; her starboard anchor was raised, her port anchor cut away, and she was quickly beached to prevent her from sinking. After the water was pumped out and repairs were made, she was returned to her original location.

SS AmericaIn the late 1980s the ship owners made $2 million when they sold the Alferdoss for scrapping. The scrap merchant made an initial deposit of $1 million and began work.

Soon after the demolition of the lifeboats and lifeboat davits, the scrappers defaulted on payments and terminated operations.

The Alferdoss would sit in this state, partially-disassembled, until 1993.


The Final Chapter: Wrecked at Fuerteventura

In February of 1993 the ship was sold yet again with the intention of being re-fitted as a five-star hotel ship off Phuket, Thailand. Dry-docking at that time revealed that despite years of neglect, her hull was still in remarkably good condition. In August she was renamed the American Star, her propellers were removed and placed on the deck, the funnel and bridge were painted red, and ladders were welded to her starboard side.

On New Year’s Eve of 1993, the American Star left Greece for the final time, towed by Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz 67; the one-hundred day tow began.

The American Star and Neftegaz 67 ran into a thunder storm in the Atlantic. The tow lines broke and six men were sent aboard the American Star to reattach the emergency tow lines. This proved unsuccessful. Two other towboats were called to assist Neftegaz 67. On January 17, the crew aboard the American Star was rescued by helicopter and the ship was left adrift.

On January 18, the ship ran aground off the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

SS America

While authorities debated their options, the ship was left to her own devices. Storm activity sent violent seas to attack the stranded vessel.

The waves were brutal; within 48 hours of running aground, the pounding surf broke the ship in two just past the funnel. The American Star was declared a total loss on July 6, 1994.

SS America

The stern collapsed completely to port and sank in 1996, while the bow continued to remain intact.



In November 2005, the port side of the bow section collapsed, which caused the liner’s remains to assume a much sharper list and the funnel to detach and fall into the ocean.

The collapse of the port side also caused the hull to begin to break up and by October 2006, the wreck had almost completely collapsed onto its port side.

SS America

In April 2007 the starboard side finally collapsed causing the wreck to break in half and fall into the sea. Throughout 2007 what little remained had been slowly disappearing beneath the waves. As of February 2010, only about 15 – 20 feet of the bow remained above the water.

2004: SS America

2005: SS America

2006: SS America

2007: SS America

2008: SS America

2009: SS America


Overhead Satellite view & Map:  click here

(update 2013: Sadly the S.S. America is no longer visible on Google Maps)


S.S. America Online Museum & Memorabilia

The following section contains reader-submitted materials memorializing the S.S. America.  Do YOU have a piece of her history to share?  Let us know!  Don’t have a camera or scanner? No problem.  Send it to us, we’ll digitize & return your materials to you.

• 1944 Troop Cards from the S.S. West Point (courtesy S-I reader Tom Felvey)

These troop cards were brought back by Tom Felvey’s dad after his voyage aboard the SS West Point in April 1944 to New Guinea, as well as his return voyage to the United States aboard the SS Monterey. Thank you Tom for sharing these with us!

(click thumbnails to enlarge)


• 1958 Manifest (courtesy S-I reader Thomas Bruce)

Mr. Bruce was kind enough to share with us a copy of the S.S. America ship manifest from its journey between March 16-18th, 1958.

(click thumbnails to enlarge)


• September 1960 Photograph (slide) of the S.S. America (courtesy S-I reader Melissa Humphrey)

Thanks to Melissa, who shares with us a photograph slide of the S.S. America dated September 1960.



• 1962 S.S. America Gala Menu (courtesy S-I reader Tony Penn)

onboard-america-tpenn-1962-smallMr. Penn shares with us the Gala dinner menu from his 1962 journey aboard the S.S. America. Tony was a young teenager at the time when this photo was taken during a lifeboat drill procedure (at right).

“I still fondly recall scouring every inch the crew would allow me.”

For full-scan .pdf of the menu, click here. Viewing images below:

(click thumbnails to enlarge)


• Photo: Inside the SS America Dining Room (courtesy S-I reader Mike Grant)

Aboard the SS America in March of 1962 (courtesy Mike Grant)
“I immigrated from the Port of Southampton, England, to America aboard the SS America in 1962.  This picture was taken at my 19th birthday celebration March 4th 1962. it was the day before we disembarked. I’m sitting next to the gentleman wearing the birthday hat. This was the 6th day of our 7 day journey. 
At the time, according to British news papers, it was considered one of the worst storms to hit the North Atlantic in decades.  For almost 3 of the 7 days we were pitching and tossing to such a degree that no one was allowed on deck and many injuries occurred.  We were a half a day out of Ireland (the 2nd day out of England) when the ship listed heavily to port, chairs, tables and people were sliding across the floor to the port side of the large lounge, the table at which I was sitting had already been secured and had a non skid table cloth. The storm was expected but came too fast for total preparation.  The shelves of the bar immediately emptied, bottles and glass shattering to the floor as the ship listed.
The storm worsened to the point that this huge (for it’s time) ocean liner was diving so deep waves crashed over her bow. The crew were great and did their very best to keep us happy and safe. The day after this picture was a calm and festive day, I stayed up all night with friends I had made aboard, we watched as the horizon began to get brighter and brighter, I had never seen such a sight, we were approaching New York and the sky was aglow with light, long before the city came into view.  There were a few servicemen aboard, they had been stationed in Europe.  They were now on their knees and kissing the deck, they were so happy to be coming home.
My adventure was about to begin.”
– Mike Grant, Marengo, IL.


• S.S. America Luggage Ticket, autographed by Charlie Chaplin (courtesy S-I reader Kim Applebury)

We are thankful to Kim for sending in photos of her S.S. America Cabin Class Stateroom luggage ticket, something we had not seen previously. If that wasn’t enough of a treat, this particular ticket is autographed by Charlie Chaplin.

Fantastic find, thank you Kim for sharing this with us.


SS America April 1954• Photo: In the Dining Room of the S.S. America (courtesy S-I reader Danny Behan)

Danny sends us this photo from his family’s trip to Cork, Ireland in April of 1954. He tells us they returned on the same ship in February of 1960. Thank you Danny for your submission!


SS America ship souvenir kerchief
SS America souvenir kerchief

• Artifact: Original S.S. America Handkerchief (courtesy S-I reader Cassandra Salas)

Cassandra sent us an image of a handkerchief found among her Grandfather and Grandmother, Bob and Grace Becker.  While sorting through her grandparents’ things she ran across memorabilia from their journeys such as this wonderful souvenir S.S. America handkerchief.

Thank you Cassandra for sharing this wonderful find with us!


S.S. America luggage tag Southampton
S.S. America luggage tag

Artifact: Original S.S. America Luggage Tag from Southampton 

This fantastic artifact from the S.S. America was donated to us by a reader who wished to remain anonymous.  Interestingly this was found on an old trunk in the loft of an old Victorian house in Liverpool.

We are appreciative of all our readers who are willing to send and share these images with us.  Thank you!


• Brochure:  S.S. America Brochure & Tourist-Class Deck Plan (courtesy S-I reader Adrian Gauthier)

Adrian Gauthier’s grandmother came to the United States on the S.S. America in 1964.  She kept her brochure and tourist-class deck plan from her journey.  Today Adrian holds on to these excellent souvenirs.

Many thanks to Adrian, who has taken the time to scan and send us the following pages.  The file photos of the modernized interior are some of the best we have, thank you Adrian for sharing this wonderful keepsake from the S.S. America!


If you have any S.S. America memorabilia you would like to share with the world, please get in touch with us.




Other Sometimes-Interesting shipwreck articles: The World Discoverer and the chilling remains of the Mar Sem Fim.



  1. hey, this is a really good piece of information. I recall stumbling about something like this before, this is really excellent stuff.

  2. Hello, I was wondering if anyone has or knows where to get the ships manifesto or passenger list for 1948 My father and his two brother and my grandparents came over on this ship to America in 1948 they were in the !st class section
    any info would be a blessing to me, thank you

  3. I enjoyed this post. Sleek and beautiful ship, eerily beautiful in repose. I recall seeing another United States Line ship; the more famous United States in NY Harbour in 1959. You write that this ship was meant to counter Cunard’s Titanic. It sank in 1912, and in any case was not a Cunarder but a ship of the White Star Line. It would suffice it to say that the America ship was built to provide an American counter to the many Cunard liners period.

  4. Amazing story of a great ocean liner. It’s a pity that many beautiuful ships are left to die in that way. Irresponsibility (and stypidity) is, by far, the stronger storm that destroys those emblematic constructions.
    In the area between the northern part of Salamina and Aspropurgos-Elefsina, west of Athens-Piraeus (Greece), there are some abandoned cruise ships.
    One of them can be seen from googlearth, cause is has collapsed her portside.
    Maybe one day I’ll inform you about some greek wrecks I know.

  5. My family returned to the USA from a military deployment in Europe via voyage on this once grand vessel, into New York City arriving May 1962. Never would I have imagined what an inglorious fate awaited the good S.S. America, as I ran around the decks back then, But I was younger then too. Fifty years younger now to be exact. And after viewing the snaps, my bones feel even older….I can still float though, so I got that going for me …heh heh…!

  6. I have just finished reading the novel “Maggie’s Breakfast, by Gabriel Walsh. The author sailed from Dublin to Newyork on the SS America so thought I would take a look at it and read this interesting history and, what do you know, my other took a cruise from NZ to Southhampton, in 1966 and travelled on the Australis. Small world.

  7. Read with great interest your well-written account of the life and sad death of S.S. America. I sailed aboard her in the 50’s with my parents from New York to France. What an adventure that was. She was elegant, smooth and carried a staff that understood service and good manners. Even as a young boy I knew this was an exceptional ship. I did not know of her decline after so many ownerships, and was especially unhappy to see the pictures of her final days. She deserved a much more dignified passing. Thanks for the good memories, however.

  8. my “America” has gone forever. i weep! cruel tears of her demise, for having been born on this wonderful vessel i consider her mine.

    • My father was with the 201st General Hospital during WWII. He traveled to Liverpool in October 1944 the SS West Point, the converted America. Does any one have any information about the journey?

      • Thanks for posting requests in this space. I’d encourage all to do so. When those who have these items reach out to me I will gladly post them here to update & centralize any information on this ship and her journeys.

        Thanks everyone!

      • Walter, I am looking for the same info. My late father in law was discharged from 201st General Hospital as Corporal according to his d/c papers. We know he sailed first to England, but thought he landed with the 2nd wave on D-day in Normandy. He was not medical, he was possibly MP or some sort of driver/mechanic/engineer? We have no one to ask about this. Hopefully, someone on this site can help.

  9. durinng oct 1943 i was a lab tech with 189th gen hospital and we sailed from boston to liverpool eng and on to cherbourg fr . we set up in carentain fr. i. later in reims fr when thewar ended in april . we were a complment of 450 men and nurses. it took four and a half days to make the trip — wil never forget it. regards to all whoever new

  10. My family and I went to Australia on the Australis in 1966, I was 10 and we had a brilliant time on board, it’s sad to see what became of it.

  11. In 1954, when I was 11, my mother sister and I sailed on the SS America from New York to Germany … I recall docking in a port in France and then a train from Frankfurt. We spent the summer in Germany visiting my parents’ relatives. My mother loved the “Captain’s Dinner” and dressing up in her best clothes. She got very seasick and all the chairs and tables were tied together because of a storm. I believe the trip took 12 days or so. I have a picture of the 3 of us in the dining room. Nice article which brought back so many memories. Sad to see the deterioration of that ship but nothing ever stays the same … impermanence is part of our existence.

    • Thanks for stopping by Leslie, I enjoyed your story. Glad to hear you have positive memories, I’ve noticed most have had positive recollections. Speaks well of the ship and its crew.

  12. My sister Mary Neary and I Catherine Neary davenport imigrated to the u s march 31st 1949 we boarded the S S America in South Hampton and landed in New York City what a great 6 days the swimming pool was in the hold great food such luxury met lots of nice people

  13. Great research… wonderful information…I shipped off to Portugal from Brazil as a 5 year old with my family on the Pasteur in 1965… wonder what ever happened to her… she was a sight to see before the 707’s came into play. Have any info on her? Loved to play in the galleys and make friends with the crew… never forget it.

  14. My friend, James Casey arrived in the USA Buffalo NY 14, Aug 1949. He will be 90 years old this August 15th, 2013. I printed out a copy of the SS America, but would love to be able to get a ship manifest for his birthday present. He is not family, just a very dear friend. Can anyone direct me to the appropriate place.

  15. In July of 1957 my dad, mom, brother and myself traveled from Europe back to the United States on the S S America…..the Captain at that time was Captain Frederick Fender U.S.N.R..

  16. My parents and I returned to the U.S. from Germany on the S.S. America in January 1955; it was one of the most exciting experiences of my entire life. The sea was rough for much of the crossing, and many of the adults were seasick; velvet ropes were strung all over the place to assist people walking across the large public rooms. I had connected with some kids my age, and for some reason we were not that affected. Whenever any of us felt mildly queasy, we would take the elevator down to the swimming pool and lounge area, close to the bottom of the ship, where the pitch and roll were not so noticeable. However, the water in the swimming pool was just one huge wave that hit against one wall and broke like surf over and over. The food was fabulous–and available any time of day or night. We also discovered that people’s pets were boarded in a kennel on the very top deck, so we would stop in to visit the dogs and cats. The public rooms were all exquisitely decorated, and there were a number of organized entertainments: movies, bingo, music, floor shows, etc. Famous people on that voyage were crooner Rudy Vallee, Broadway and movie actress Gwen Verdon, and western movie star Scott Brady. It was like a fairy tale–unforgettable.

    • Lorna, thanks for sharing your story! Apologies for the late reply, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to comment and share your experience. Your insight is not the kind I can gain from reading articles – so thank you again for that. Cheers.

    • I, too, was on the SS America in 1955…I think it was April…on our return from Bremerhaven, Germany to New York. It was a magnificent ship and one that holds many memories for me as I was then twelve years old. My brother and I explored the ship, swam in the downstairs pool with our life jackets on, went up and down in the elevator, and he had tea every afternoon. A man named Mickey served him every day! My brother was eleven. We dressed for dinner with our parents each evening…It was a glorious trip. Reading of the demise of the beautiful ship is sad…I know that the SS United States is being restored. It would have been wonderful to have the sister ships restored together. Thanks for the memories!

  17. My mother and myself came to the US in Feb. 1947 on the S.S. America. We sailed from England, my father was in the military and that”s where they met. Would like to find manifest.

    • Hello Ian, apologies for the belated reply. Thanks for reading. I’m going to see if I can start collecting ship manifests to have them here for reference. I’m reaching out to those who have copies to see if they would be willing to share in the spirit of creating a central archive. Stay tuned!

  18. I visited my sister in Fuerteventura and visited this ship wreck, was down a long windy dirt track, i even have a photo of it that I brought in my bathroom

  19. we stood and looked at this piece of history and it felt like you had to go on board but at least 10 divers have been lost swimming under and trying to board her

  20. My Dad, Mom, and I sailed on this ship, from Germany to US, March 16th, 1958, I was 5 years old.

      • Hi, I have no problem will share it, But I got to find the menu. it’s in a box some where and I got lots of boxes. I don’t remember a damn second of trip, wish I did, and No pictures parents couldn’t afford camera on Sgt. pay. only thing I remember was said Mom was in bed most of trip due to sea sickness. We went from Munich where Mom and I was born via Frankfurt by train, they said I threw up in middle of train station, thats all they would talk about. Unfortunately dad died ’99 and Mom is in a home for dementia. doesn’t even know me any more. nasty disease.

        • Ugh, sorry to hear about your mother Tom. I have a family member struggling with Alzheimers. That and dementia are some of the worst things to have to witness happening to loved ones.

          Thanks for the emails with the ship information. I’ll try to get that up shortly. And thanks for sharing your personal story. 🙂

    • Hi Tom, just came across your posting of your crossing in 1958
      I sailed in September that year from Le Havre to NY and also would like to make some connections although I am already 78 y old and it may be a bit hard to find people who were with me during this journey.
      I will work on that because it is so “very interesting”

      • Hi, Norma Glad you where able to see this. it is fascinating to see all these people and their experiences. Wish it had started many years ago. Unfortunately we have lost a lot of fellow passengers. At my age, and my memory I don’t remember anything about the voyage, wish I did. I want to say good luck in finding more of your shipmates. please keep us informed on your progress.

  21. I have the 1st class passenger list for march 16th, 1958, also a menu for one of the days of crossing.

    • Tom, would you be willing to share this with me? I would like to add it to the article – with credit to you for the contribution, of course. If you don’t mind the arrangement please email me: sometimes.interesting (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

  22. Could this be the ship my father was on in WWll? He left Ft. Dix for India in August of 1943. My mother’s notes state he sailed on The American, a luxury liner, used to move troops during the war.

  23. Thanks to Tom for sending his copies from the ship’s 1958 journeys. I have uploaded them and added them to the end of the article. If any other readers have copies of S.S. America memorabilia, I would be happy to host them here and give full credit. Just let me know, thanks. And thanks again Tom. 🙂

  24. my grandfather Neil Macpherson was I believe chief steward on S S America around 1950`s I remember him visiting us in Southport when he docked in UK. he had dual
    nationality and returned to his native Scotland to retire.

  25. My family and I (age 8) traveled from NY to LeHarve in 1950. On board was Ralph Edwards. My brother (age 11) left a note under his door saying he wanted to meet him. He responded and invited us to his stateroom for a meeting.
    Also on board was Hildegard.
    I remember my mother packed a long formal gown and my dad brought a tux for the captain’s dinner. (not sure but I think the captain’s last name was Anderson)
    Children’s party was a dress up affair too. Kids all posed for a picture which I still have.
    I also still have a First Class dinner menu dated May 20, 1950. Interested?

  26. my dad immigrated from germany to the usa in 1962 I am looking for a log ..crew and passenger list.. any pictures from that sailing… I could use any help I can get! 🙂 working on my family tree and stuck! please email me

    My dad then sent money when he had enough for a ticken for my mom … she came from germany on the SS UNITED STATES her sistership and wanted to also ask the same information if anyone has any on this journey from Bremerhave Germany to NY HELP!!

  27. My mom and I immigrated to the United states on the SS America in the fall of 1952. We encountered a storm. I was in the nursery (I was 5 years old) I remember being so scared when water came through the porthole. I wonder if there is a listing of names available. My mom’s name was Marie Bokr. I have a picture of myself with some of the children on the SS America.

  28. I just ran across the passenger list and menus of the maiden voyage on August 10 1940 is there a museum for them and are they worth anything.

    • Elsie, thanks for stopping by. I am sure these items would be of interest to those with relatives who might have been passengers on that voyage.

      If you are willing and able to share digital copies of these items, I would be happy to host them here for all to see and reference. Thank you!

  29. I don’t know why but these stories of once gallant buildings and ships just decaying into the earth always make me a little sad. But I suspect that’s the point….

    • Definitely a little bit of that, I agree. On the other hand, part of the mission here is to memorialize and celebrate the history behind this stuff. I look at these posts as almost a celebration of its life, really. At least that’s what I am aiming for. Thanks Noelle, have a great weekend. 🙂

      • Well clearly they aren’t sad enough to dissuade me from reading. I never read anything that makes me feel bad. I love the history and frankly, some of the bizarre human drama in many of your pieces. They always seem to highlight our peculiar nature to screw up a good thing.

  30. I am so glad to see so many people still interested in this ship. I crossed on it in 1962 at 13 yrs old and still think of it on a weekly basis. I do have a pristine original gala dinner menu dated 4/20/62 and would offer it to any worthy cause at no cost just to keep it from going to waste. Any serious interest can contact me at I have followed both sadly and gladly this great vessel and enjoyed every moment that I scoured her decks while my mom was too seasick to follow me around. I loved every moment.

  31. My mother and I came to America from Ireland on the SS America in March 1961 and my father came in June 1960, I would like to locate the manifests from that time. Sad but good memories.

  32. My parents and I came to the US on America in 1952. We left out of South Hampton to NYC. I have a few pictures. My son found the Passenger list on google and it was heartwarming to see our names on there since both of my parents are now gone. It’s sad to see that she was allowed to deteriorate that way.

  33. I sailed on this ship from New York to Southampton sometime in the fall of 1954. I was seven years old, but I do remember how grand and beautiful she was. I was a military brat and travelling with my mother and brother to meet my father (who had travelled ahead) and spend three years stationed in England. I believe the voyage took seven days.
    Reading the history of this once great ship was very interesting and touching, although a little sad considering its demise, in fact I’m going to research the dates of my voyage and try to find a passenger manifest with our names on it.

  34. I have the first class passenger list from November of 1958 as well as the menu. Happy share if you’d like.

    • Hi Lori, I would love a copy of that if you wouldn’t mind allowing me to add it to the page. If you can, send me an email at sometimes.interesting(at)gmail(dot)com with the files. If you have them scanned you can send it there, otherwise we’ll figure out another way to get them online. Thanks!

  35. Our army dependent family left Bremerhaven Germany to return to the US in 1958. It was said that the bridge was damaged by a bad storm the previous trip but was repaired in time for us. Will share if possible.

  36. Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Desmond Doss, whose story is depicted in the Academy Award winning Hollywood blockbuster, Hacksaw Ridge, worked at the Newport News (Va.) shipyard to deconstruct the SS America to be used as a transport ship for WWII. This is the job that would have allowed him to take a deferment, but he wanted to do more since he believed the war was justified. It’s not specifically listed on the Desmond Doss website, but it’s covered in the Booton Herndon book, “Redemption at Hacksaw Ridge,” formerly “The Unlikeliest Hero.”
    Jeanie L. Allen, PR/Social Media Consultant
    Desmond Doss Council | Georgia-Cumberland Association

  37. I travelled with my parents from Bremerhaven to NYC in July 1952, when I was 4 yrs old. “America” met her sister ship “United States” on her maiden trip in the middle of the Atlantic on the 4th of July and both ships sounded their horns loud and many times!!!
    I have a photo from the “kiddie/nursery room”. We are about 25 kids, all dressed up and with paper hats on our heads – many big smiles. I remember eating corn-on-the-cob for the first time.
    We were in the States for a few months (my mother became an American citizen during our stay, which I and father already were).
    We returned to Germany on the “United States”. By then she had received the Blue Riband, being the fastest ship to cross the ocean. And this time we arrived at Le Havre in France. I still loved corn-on-the-cob, but had now developed a taste for lobster!
    By the way, we met actress Rita Hayworth onboard. My father took a few photos. She and my parents met again in Paris at a restaurant by coincidence. She called to them saying “Hi folks”!!
    We lived in Munich when all this happened, and in 1955 we returned to the USA on “America”
    Best regards,

  38. I sailed on the Italis when I was ten years old on one of her three 14 day cruises that started on July 28th 1979 before she was laid up in Piraeus. It was a fantastic experience – such a classic ship. Had a great onboard library.

  39. How about this….my father, Monroe Ikner helped build this great ship! I was born in Newport News, VA in 1936 while my dad worked, and my mom Martha Ferguson was a riveter. (Danville, VA) I have his ‘Certificate of Apprenticeship’ dated April 26, 1934, issued by the Newport News Shipbuilding & DryDock Company. Monroe was with them four years and completed the course to be a competent Plumber.
    Just imagine all the pipes he had to put together! His diploma is 15×11 and has four signatures, including HL Ferguson, President and General Manager.

  40. “During her Naval service she would carry over 350,000 troops – the most of any Navy troopship in service during World War II.”

    Troops carried:
    RMS Queen Mary – 800,000+
    RMS Queen Elizabeth – 750,000+

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