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Compangnie Generale Transatlantique


The S.S.FRANCE was built at the world famous shipyards of Chantiers de l'Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, Penhoet, France and was christened by Madame DeGaulle on May 11, 1960. At 1,035 feet she was the longest liner in the world, a title she would hold until December 2003 when the 1,135 foot QUEEN MARY 2 entered service. The S.S. FRANCE would be the last great transatlantic liner built for the French Line. From January 19 - 27 1962 the S.S. FRANCE would embark on her inaugural 7-day cruise to the Canary Islands with 1,700 passengers onboard. The S.S. FRANCE would cross the Atlantic on her maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York from February 3 through 8, 1962. In February 1963 she would make her first cruise to Rio de Janeiro. Her first cruise to Canada would be made during the Montreal Expo in May 1967. In November 1968 she would pass the million miles sailed mark. The S.S. FRANCE would make two world cruises from New York on January 5 - April 10, 1972 and January 4 - April 11, 1974. She would also make cruises to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

With the French Governments decision to end subsidizes the French Line announced on July 8, 1974 that the S.S. FRANCE would be taken out of service in October. On what would be her last transatlantic crossing to Le Havre in September, disgruntled crewmembers would mutiny and hold the liner hostage for 28 days. Passengers on the stricken liner had to be transfered to a car ferry and finally landed at Le Havre. By December the S.S. FRANCE flagship of the French Line would go into lay-up and an uncertain future. During her lay-up there were plans to sell her to Club Mediterranean as a cruise ship, using her as a floating hotel in Philadelphia during the bi-centennial celebrations, possibilities also had her being used during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal as a hotel ship. In 1977 she was sold to Akram Ojjeh a Saudi financier who had wanted to transform her into a floating hotel and French cultural center. This and other ideas never came to pass. In June 1979 the laid-up liner was bought by Knut Kloster, Chairman of Klosters Rederi A/S, parent company of Norwegian Caribbean Lines for eighteen million dollars. Under tow she would leave Le Havre renamed the S.S. NORWAY.

From a February 1962 National Geographic.


Top Right: First Calss Smoking Room ~ Top Left: First Class Dining Room

Bottom Right: Theatre ~ Bottom Left: First Class Children's Play Room

Photos: French Line brochure.

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