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MAY 11th 1960




66,348 TONS


1,003 FEET


110 FEET







The French Lines France entered service at a time when airlines were taking an ever-increasing percentage of the Trans Atlantic trade. With the numbers of passengers using liners declining each year, the French Line retired their aging liner Liberte soon after the France entered service. Although the French Line’s new flagship was the longest liner built in the 20th Century, Cunard’s 83,676-ton Queen Elizabeth had a greater volume. Her funnels were the first to be designed with ailerons that vent exhausts from the sides rather than the top. This innovative design can now be seen in many of the large cruise ships operating in the 21st Century. Although intended for the Atlantic run, the France first set out on a cruise from Le Havre - Canary Islands January 8th 1962. Her first crossing to New York departed Le Havre February 3rd 1962.


The France had to compete against Cunard’s two queens and the world’s fastest liner United States for the dwindling amount of transatlantic trade. Capable of carrying 407 1st and 1,637 2nd class passengers, she attracted a good slice of the market. The two more luxurious queens were sold off in 1968 as they lost out more to the new jet aircraft. After the United States was withdrawn from service in 1969, the France and Cunard’s newest liner QE2, that entered service in 1969, were the only two large liners left operating between Northern Europe and America. The French Line began operating her more as a cruise ship from the late 1960s in an attempt to reduce the amount of government subsidies needed to keep her in service. After two successful world cruises in 1973/1974, the French Government announced they were ending all financial assistance. This led to the French Lines final transatlantic liner being laid up near Le Havre after only 12 years in service.


The Norwegian Cruise Line bought the France in 1979 for $18 million and spent $80 million converting her into the world’s largest full time cruise ship. The refit included fitting a huge lido deck on her stern and two outdoor pools. A twin diesel propulsion system capable of 16 knots was also fitted at that time to make her more economical to run. After the conversion had been completed in 1980, she became an instant success on cruises from Miami - Caribbean under the name Norway. She was by far the largest cruise ship in the world at that time with entertainment facilities in the style of Las Vegas. With the success of Norway, the design of cruise ships increased in size so dramatically, they had exceeded the tonnage of the largest Trans Atlantic liners by 1996. Norway had another two passenger decks built on top of her original structure in 1990. The completion of that work increased her passenger capacity to 2,565 and volume to 76,049 tons.

Norway was taken out of service and laid up at Bremerhaven/Germany in 2003. NCL then offered her for sale for around $20 million (her estimated scrap value). With no firm offers from other cruise lines, or for her to be converted to a floating museum by 2005, she was sold to a scrap yard in the Far East.

On the morning of August 15th 2006, the former S.S. Norway, helped by tow tugs, was beached on an Indian beach where most of the large tankers are dismantled.

A decision was reached September 11th 2007 (the 33rd anniversary of the SS France's last day on the Atlantic), that the Blue Lady was safe to scrap.

The ship had been dismantled by late 2008.

More information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Norway

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