Today Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Maiden arrival of the s/s France in New York.
February 2, 1961, French Line's brand new s/s France sailed from Le Havre via Southampton to New York. The France arrived in New York on her maiden voyage on the cold and wintry afternoon of February 8, 1962. The France was greeted by a flotilla of fire-boats, tugs, pleasure craft and others vessel, which escorted the great liner to her berth at Pier 88. For the next 12 years, the s/s France would sail for French Line on Transatlantic, World Cruises and occasional Caribbean and Brazilian sailings.
In 1974, the France was taken out of service. After a period of being laid-up and rumors of future employment in various roles including a floating hotel, a floating trade show, she was eventually sold to Saudi Arabian interests for use as a floating Casino for $24M. Unfortunatley the ship remained laid-up. In 1979 she was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line for $18 Million dollars.
Renamed Norway, she was towed to Lloyd Werft Shipyard in Germany and underwent an $80 Million dollar revitalization. She was officially christened the Norway on April 14, 1980.
After sailing a number of seasons, the Norway returned to Lloyd Werft to have two decks of balcony cabins added. Unfortunately the balcony cabins did detract from her original beauty and sleek lines.
She sailed for NCL until May 25, 2003. After docking in Miami at 5:00 a.m., the Norway was seriously damaged by a boiler explosion at 6:37 a.m. Beyond economic repair, The Norway was laid up and remained in storage at various locations including Miami, Bremenhaven, Germany, and Port Klang Malyasia. In April, 2006, the Norway was renamed the Blue Lady. As the Blue Lady, she eventually arrived at Alang India for scrapping and after years of legal battles due to the high concentration of asbestos and PCBs the dismantling of the Blue Lady began on December 4th, 2007.
Long Live the Memories of the Once Great France!