In a major announcement that is sure to send shock waves throughout the cruise industry, Crystal Cruises have announced that they will be transforming the SS United States into a luxury ocean going cruise ship.
The announcement comes after the SS United States Conservancy issued a rallying call for potential investors to help save the ship after her future was faced with uncertainty after drying up of funds in order to keep the ship berthed in Philadelphia.
Crystal Cruises plan to extensively re-fit the ship to in order for her to meet current maritime law and regulations. United States by Crystal Cruises will accommodate around 800 guests within 450 suites measuring around 350 square feet.
Crystal Cruises will also be looking to encapsulate the spirit of SS United States by saving original features such as the Navajo Lounge and the Promenade.
With a complete rebuild and new engines and navigational equipment, it is anticipated that SS United States by Crystal Cruises will retain her title as the fastest ocean liner/cruise vessel in the world.
Once completed, United States by Crystal Cruises will be around 60,000 gross tons and is anticipated to partake in global voyages, from cruises in US waters to world cruises . She will also resume her traditional Transatlantic crossings from New York.
SS United States was launched in 1952 and the pride of the US Merchant fleet. She was built to also accommodate up to 15,000 troops in times of war if need be and could go half way around the world, around 10,000 nautical miles, without having to refuel. Her speed was her crowning glory and on her maiden voyage, she captured the Blue Ribbon. Unfortunately, SS United States was retired in 1969 and never again saw active service on the high seas.
Speaking of her delight at the announcement, Edie Rodriguez, CEO and President of Crystal Cruises said:
“It is truly a privilege for the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line to be entrusted with the opportunity of restoring a ship that served as a symbol of patriotism and maritime supremacy and bring her into the modern day, while also giving guests a taste of a bygone era of luxury travel”
The granddaughter of the ships’ designer, William Francis Gibbs, was equally delighted at the announcement. Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, added:
“Crystal’s ambitious vision for the SS United States will ensure our nation’s flagship is once again a global ambassador for the highest standards of American innovation, quality and design”
Crystal Cruises and the SS United States Conservancy will undertake a technical feasibility study and once that has been completed, it is hoped that United States by Crystal Cruises could be sailing again within 2-3 years.
Indeed this is a significant announcement indeed and Cruisemarsh will be following developments closely.