Final voyage for SS Norway

Dec 29, 2005
Author: P&S

As the old year fades on us, reports indicate the end is now nigh for SS Norway, that magnificent ship which typified so much of the glory of 20th Century passenger travel.

These reports have appeared before but this time it appears the ship, currently lying up in a South Asian port, was sold during December to Bangladeshi breakers and will end her days on a beach either near Chittagong or in India.


picture by Ian Shiffman

In July this year the ship passed on tow through Table Bay, which was when Ian Shiffman captured the ship with the two photographic images on this page, and the ship looking as glorious and majestic as ever despite being essentially a ‘dead’ and empty vessel.

SS Norway was launched in May 1960 as SS France for the Trans-Atlantic service, becoming the longest of the transatlantic liners with an overall length of 315.5m. Two years later she entered service but her career as a Trans-Atlantic liner was to last a short 12 years until 1974 when she was withdrawn amid widespread criticism at home in France.

However the days of the grand passenger liners had truly come to an end and SS France spent the next five years in mothballs until the Klosters Group purchased her before returning her to service in 1979 in a new guise as the SS Norway - the world’s first large cruise ship. Extensive interior and exterior alterations had been made and SS Norway immediately set the pace for the giant mega cruise ships that were soon to follow.


picture by Ian Shiffman

In 2003 while berthed in Miami an unfortunate boiler explosion left a number of her crew dead and others injured, marking the end of the way for this grand lady of the sea. Subsequently laid up in a European port she was then transferred to South East Asia during the course of 2005, with a brief call outside Cape Town while her tug took bunkers for the Indian Ocean crossing. Rumours abounded as to her destination and fate, including stories that she would become a floating hotel and others that she was to go on the beach.

Now, sadly but inevitably, it seems the breakers will have the last and final look at this fine old ship.


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