Bowyer01

The Abbondandolo family during their 1953 voyage from NYC to Germany. Courtesy of Inga Bowyer (née Abbondandolo).

My father was a US Air Force Sergeant assigned to Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. Family housing on the base was not yet ready for us, so we were headed to Germany to stay with my grandparents while our home in Puerto Rico was built.

READ MORE

Photo of Sean Connery courtesy of Mario De Biasi/Mondadori Portfolio, image of the first class ballroom courtesy of Cruising the Past.

Photo of Sean Connery courtesy of Mario De Biasi/Mondadori Portfolio, image of the first class ballroom courtesy of Cruising the Past.

The SS United States was a major part of my childhood and adolescence. Starting in 1953, we sailed back and forth across the Atlantic for family vacations. Later, my brother and I commuted to and from boarding school by ourselves each fall and summer.

READ MORE

The Conservancy is deeply saddened by the passing of Frieda Kerstgens Green, beloved wife of Jim Green, longtime Conservancy supporter and former crewmember. 

Frieda, who sailed on the SS United States’ maiden voyage with her parents, met Jim thanks to a chance encounter aboard the ship during her second voyage in 1957. Their love story was featured in the acclaimed documentary film, “Lady in Waiting.” We send our heartfelt condolences to Jim and their children, John, Heidi, and Chris.

READ MORE

The SS United States departing for Europe. Photo courtesy of Louise Kleber.

The SS United States departing for Europe. Courtesy of Louise Kleber.

We sailed out of New York Harbor while the Verrazano-Narrows bridge was still under construction. The workers waved to us as we passed underneath, and we waved back. I was bound for Southampton — the first leg of my trip to India on a Fullbright fellowship. I shared a cabin with two other Fullbright scholars also bound for India, and a new member of the diplomatic corps.

READ MORE

Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

Reporters from NJ.com, Curbed Philadelphia, Penn Live, and CBS 3 Fox Chasing News came aboard the SS United States to cover Santa’s inspection of the region’s largest chimney — the ship’s six-story-tall forward smokestack.

READ MORE

 

Mary Anne Chamberlain (right) poses with a friend she made aboard the ship (left), a young girl from Germany. Although neither girl could speak the other’s native language, they quickly formed a friendship. “Dad knew enough German to communicate with her parents, and her father knew enough English,” Chamberlain recollects. “Perfect!” Photo courtesy of Mary Anne Chamberlain.

Mary Anne Chamberlain (right) poses with a friend she made aboard the ship (left), a young girl from Germany. Although neither girl could speak the other’s native language, they quickly formed a friendship. “Dad knew enough German to communicate with her parents, and her father knew enough English,” Chamberlain recollects. “Perfect!” Photo courtesy of Mary Anne Chamberlain.

I remember thinking it was funny being in a pool when there was a huge ocean right there, and sneaking into first class with my brother to explore the front half of the ship. A very nice steward caught us and gently brought us back to our parents in cabin class. Once, while we were playing cards on deck, a gust of wind came up and blew the cards away – some of them ended up in strangers’ tea cups! Everyone was quite good-natured about it.

My father took a great interest in the SS United States, he was so impressed by her speed and grace in the water. My brother and I loved standing on the deck and watching the wavy, light green-blue trail the SS United States left behind as she sped through the water. We also loved people-watching, listening to the many different languages spoken on board, and going through the safety drills.

The SS United States was a true and strong seafaring beauty, with real elegance and magnificent attention to detail in every way. Today’s ships seem to be more about cramming thousands of people into floating cities, it’s like being at a giant shopping mall with dozens of restaurants, pools, climbing walls, and bars, yet very little attention to passenger comfort or aesthetics. As the years go by, our appreciation for the SS United States grows exponentially!

– Mary Anne Chamberlain, who sailed SS United States with her father, mother, brother, sister in 1964 and 1966.

READ MORE

As Christmas Nears, Santa Claus to Survey Philadelphia’s Largest Chimney Aboard the SS United States; Philadelphia Welcome Delegation includes Mummers Fancy Brigade and Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks sponsored by MBB Management

NORTH POLE, December 19, 2016 — Santa Claus will be in the Philadelphia area on Wednesday evening in advance of his annual trip around the world to deliver presents to good girls and boys. He will be conducting a survey of chimneys throughout the city to ensure swift delivery of presents on Christmas Eve. While in Philadelphia, he will be able to be spotted visiting the area’s largest chimney – the six-story-tall forward smokestack on America’s Flagship, the SS United States. Santa’s visit to the ship will coincide with the lighting of the ship’s funnels and other portions of the famed ocean liner for the holiday season.

READ MORE

Annual Appeal 2016_donation ask

The SS United States Conservancy has achieved many major milestones over the past year:

READ MORE

Photo courtesy of Brian M. Lumley

Photo courtesy of Brian M. Lumley

“Every so often something so rock and roll comes past our desk that we just can’t pass it up,” writes journalist and photographer Brian Lumley. Lumley, who primarily covers the music scene in Cleveland, Ohio, recently got the opportunity to tour the SS United States.

READ MORE

Menu from a 1958 crossing made by Wilma Herzog (née Eis). Courtesy of Wilma Herzog.

Menu from a 1958 crossing made by Wilma Herzog (née Eis). Courtesy of Wilma Herzog.

I wanted to see the “Big Apple,” New York City, but had no money to go there. I had no intentions to stay in the United States forever, either. I was lucky enough to get a job contract, I thought I’d stay for one year at the utmost. And what a beginning: a trip via the SS United States. I felt like a king!

READ MORE

Heinz Bayer sees the SS United States for the first time since it brought him to the United States from Germany in the 1960s. Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

Heinz Bayer sees the SS United States for the first time since it brought him to the United States from Germany in the 1960s. Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

A news team from PennLive was on hand at our crew reunion in September to interview attendees about what the SS United States means to them. You can now watch stories from five individuals — Heinz Bayer, who emigrated from Germany aboard the SS United States; Joe Rota, a long-time crew hand; Harold Goldfarb, who once served as the ship’s surgeon; and Susan Gibbs, granddaughter of the ship’s designer, William Francis Gibbs, and the Conservancy’s executive director.

READ MORE

 Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

Courtesy of Julia Hatmaker.

This excellent article by Julia Hatmaker delves into the rich history of the SS United States — including William Francis Gibbs’ legendarily obsessive fireproofing — and projects what the future could hold for “the jewel of the American maritime experience.”

READ MORE