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SS Normandie, LE HAVRE / ETRETAT [1938]


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  • 4 weeks later...

The Normandie doesn't tend to get much opposition to being considered the greatest liner of all time amongst shipping historians and I can't really disagree.

As with movie stars there is some eternal payback in dying young but just look at her in this video - by repute she was so decoratively and socially overwhelming that some passengers chose to go on one of those frumpy Cunarders instead just to give the senses a break from wall to wall gold and gilt and the pressure of perfection.

 

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We can say that NORMANDIE was and still is the most beautiful ocean liner in the world. We've reached a level of total perfection. NORMANDIE was far superior to QUEEN MARY in First Class. Nevertheless QUEEN MARY was a better second-class liner. As often French creations often forget profitability. NORMANDIE was above all a prestigious tool for France, even if its exploitation was profitable from 1935 to 1939. NORMANDIE would probably have sailed until 1970 and the future of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique would have been different.

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16 minutes ago, LHCity said:

We can say that NORMANDIE was and still is the most beautiful ocean liner in the world. We've reached a level of total perfection. NORMANDIE was far superior to QUEEN MARY in First Class. Nevertheless QUEEN MARY was a better second-class liner. As often French creations often forget profitability. NORMANDIE was above all a prestigious tool for France, even if its exploitation was profitable from 1935 to 1939. NORMANDIE would probably have sailed until 1970 and the future of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique would have been different.

True; but as a silver lining, had Normandie survived we would never have had the France of 1960 so there's that.

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9 hours ago, hhvferry said:

True; but as a silver lining, had Normandie survived we would never have had the France of 1960 so there's that.

NORMANDIE was to be assisted by a sister ship, the BRETAGNE. It was to be started at the end of 1940. We can consider that FRANCE is BRETAGNE achieved with a lot of delay 🙂

Interpretation of what BRETAGNE could have been :

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Edited by LHCity
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True; but as a silver lining, had Normandie survived we would never have had the France of 1960 so there's that.

I'm not so sure of that. QE2 effectively replaced Queen Mary and I agree that France might have replaced Normandie at around the same time had Bretagne not been built. Liberte was a bit of a stop gap in some respects and not all that well built so France was built earlier than QE2.

It was the misfortune of France to be built as a traditional Atlantic liner and she was essentially obsolete when she came into service as travellers switched to the airlines. Cunard nearly made the same mistake with their Q3 Queen Mary replacement projecr but had second thoughts and built QE2 instead which was designed for a dual liner/cruise ship role.

France of course did enjoy great success as ss Norway when converted to a cruising role and lasted for over 20 years in her second career which was very respectable.

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9 hours ago, cvabishop said:

I'm not so sure of that. QE2 effectively replaced Queen Mary and I agree that France might have replaced Normandie at around the same time had Bretagne not been built. Liberte was a bit of a stop gap in some respects and not all that well built so France was built earlier than QE2.

It was the misfortune of France to be built as a traditional Atlantic liner and she was essentially obsolete when she came into service as travellers switched to the airlines. Cunard nearly made the same mistake with their Q3 Queen Mary replacement projecr but had second thoughts and built QE2 instead which was designed for a dual liner/cruise ship role.

France of course did enjoy great success as ss Norway when converted to a cruising role and lasted for over 20 years in her second career which was very respectable.

FRANCE was built 10 years too late, to benefit from the post-war period [...] or 10 years too early, to benefit from the cruise boom. Yet everyone knew what to do to adapt FRANCE to the service of cruises. That is what the Norwegians have done. Unfortunately, the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique , like all French national companies (SNCF, Air France, Port Authority ...) was unable to question itself.

 

Edited by LHCity
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  • 4 weeks later...

Nice comparison; I've never been able to positively ascertain whether the whaleback bow of the ferry was a deliberate design choice to echo that of her namesake or just good detailing  (the Barfleur has similar but their cousin the Juan J Sister, for whom it appears the yard was left to do much of the detailing, doesn't quite get there).

Certainly by giving to their ship in 1992 the name of the most celebrated passenger ship in history BF needed to be pretty confident that she came up to scratch - and at the time she certainly did.

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