Following an intensive, six-month evaluation, Crystal Cruises has announced that it has dropped its plans to rebuild and reintroduce the SS United States into service.
In February, Crystal and the SS United States Conservancy announced they had entered into an exclusive option agreement with the goal of converting the iconic 1950s-era vessel into a modern, luxury cruise ship that would comply with all modern safety and technical standards – which would have been unprecedented for a single vessel refurbishment. Crystal said it commenced a comprehensive feasibility study and professional evaluation, convening a world-class team of engineers and experts while incurring over $1 million in costs.
According to Crystal, the technical feasibility study regrettably concluded that while the ship is remarkably intact and structurally sound, modifying the ship for today’s standards for oceangoing service (SOLAS) would require significant changes to the hull that would pose stability challenges. Additionally, the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art diesel electric propulsion plant would have necessitated altering of the existing shaft lines and rebuilding about 25 percent of the hull to reconfigure the ship to a twin shaft-twin rudder arrangement. While it was known that the vessel would need to have been essentially rebuilt from the inside out, these specific challenges, among others, collectively posed significant risk to the success of the project.
“Our company has great affection for this historic and irreplaceable vessel, and we will be making a $350,000 donation which will help support the Conservancy preserve the vessel through the remainder of the year,” said Edie Rodriguez, president and COO of Crystal. “We firmly believe the SS United States is an American treasure and deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a stationary destination for future generations to experience and enjoy.”
(Crystal/Cruise Industry News)
SS United States: NCL’s Broken Promises: HERE
Exploring the decaying SS United States: HERE
Malcolm says: Such very disappointing news! Crystal are the second cruise line (see ‘Broken Promises’ above) to strongly suggest that they would return this legendary ship back to service.
You would think that a responsible cruise line would do the feasibility study first, BEFORE suggesting that they would return the ship back into to service. After all Crystal even prepared some concept rendings of the renovated ship – see above.
What were Crystal thinking? After all, they have never operated historic ships before. Crystal are all about ‘luxury’ and NOT ‘nostalgia’.
I’m no navel architect, but an aging Ocean Liner must be a little like a vintage car. If you decide to renovate a rusty one and get it road-worthy again, you are going to spend a small fortune. The restored car is never going to perform as well as a new car or be as comfortable. You are very unlikely to do this for profit, it’s normally done for love.
It’s always going to be cheaper to build a brand new cruise ship, than attempt to renovate an old one which complies with modern safety standards and includes todays creature comforts.
For example the hulls of old ocean liners often do not meet the modern regulations for stability.
Even Cunard’s fleet are three state-of-the-art ships themed to resemble historic Ocean Liners, inside and out. However they still offer all of the modern amenities, expected by modern consumers, including hundreds of balcony cabins.
On the subject of Ocean Liners, Clive Palmers ‘Titanic 2’ turned out to be a rich mans five minute wonder!