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The FRANCE, above, of the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (French Line) 1961 - 1974, grt 66,350, length 1,035 feet. Builders were Chantiers et Ateliers de St. Nazaire. Steam turbines provided an average speed of 30 knots.

After completing her sea trials in 1961 the FRANCE inaugurated her Atlantic run from Southampton in January of 1962. The French Line and the United States Line agreed that the French ship and the United States Line should take it in turn to make a weekly sailing from New York to Europe, sharing the Atlantic ferry between them. This arrangement lasted from 1962 until the withdrawal of the UNITED STATES from service in October of 1969.
Interestingly, the FRANCE always operated at a loss. It began with 1 million pounds and reached 6 million pounds in 1973. According to one estimate every passenger was subsidised by the French government to the tune of 20 pounds a day. In 1974 she was withdrawn from service. On September 11th of 1974 members of the ship's company, protesting at her withdrawal, took her over as she approached LeHavre after leaving Southampton. The French Line cancelled her last three trips, due to have been made before her scheduled withdrawal on October 25th. The sudden protest by the crew hastened the end of her active career under the French flag.
 

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French Line/s finest of 1961 taken in the Ocean Dock at Southampton in 1973.Her days could possibly be numbered following the boiler explosion as NORWAY.
In the foreground is another historic ship,Sitmar/s FAIRSKY which started life as a WW II aircraft carrier.
 

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Fairfield said:
French Line/s finest of 1961 taken in the Ocean Dock at Southampton in 1973.Her days could possibly be numbered following the boiler explosion as NORWAY.
In the foreground is another historic ship,Sitmar/s FAIRSKY which started life as a WW II aircraft carrier.
i think France/Norway will be a snapped up for a static role soon
 

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Smitten by the FRANCE when I first saw her in 1981 in Miami, just after her refit as the NORWAY,
I was happy to find this glorious photo as she leaves Manhattan.

The ferry at far left is the Penn RR-Cortlandt St. Ferry (Jersey City-Manhattan);
just above that are the low buildings of Radio Row, future home of the World Trade Center,
so the pic dates from no later than 1964-65.

Hope you enjoy the view!
TG
 

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Was at the docking in Hamburg as Norway, '86?. Looking at the hull from the floating dock bottom, not a flat plate in sight! The most beautiful underwater hull I've ever seen.

When the vessel was building the suppliers were requested to deliver their wares at the normal one year guarantee, but also to give their word that the quality of all parts supplied were good for a minimum of 25 years.

Walking along the bilge plates from Aft to For'd, all the watertight doors (7?), had the slots of the mounting screws in line, around the door frame!

Lunch everyday of the docking was in the saloon where there was the larges stained glass partition I've ever seen on a ship, it was a Picasso!

In the generator room a French turbo alternator on full load of 2.5MW was so quiet, it was difficult to feel the shaft running through the bearing block, it was the wind from the alternator that gave the game away.

The Chief engineer manoeuvred the engines from a broom cupboard on the Main deck, one finger for each four inch joystick.

I could go on forever.......!
 

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Please do. Most interesting. Many old rock dogers like me love to hear about the BIGGER ships BB2
 

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She was a lovely shapely ship and I recall visiting her when she was new at Le Havre. I was on Cunard cargo ships and CGT were our agents and thats why I got shown round her. Also recall seeing her in New York at N>River piers 93/94? alongside Queen Mary and QE different times and she was of course longer than either of those two and her bow could be seen from Market Diner pub. Saw her many times sady laid up in Le Havre before finally being sold and renamed Norway. Have an old publici.
ty oil painting of her in my bar. STUART
 

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I took a photo of her some time in the eighties whilst working on the Caribe in Miami,
I'll have to dig it out and post it.

Ray.
 

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I was lucky enough to sail on the Norway (France) in the early 1990's on a Caribbean cruise. It was my first and only experience of sailing on a great Atlantic liner and one I will always treasure. A lovely ship but certainly not designed as a cruise ship.
 

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Please do. Most interesting. Many old rock dogers like me love to hear about the BIGGER ships BB2
In August 1964 we were camping at St. Addresse overlooking Le Havre.
In the early morning hours (0400hrs.) of 13th. we were awakened by the sound of a ships siren, followed by general noise from the camp site which included the singing of the Marseillaise.
The SS France had just sailed into Le Havre - lit up from bow to stern.
Our initial annoyance at being awakened was quickly forgotten as we were invited to share food & wine with our fellow campers.
It was said by some that the France had just claimed the Blue Riband, but I never did check it out.
Incidently the Nieuw Amsterdam was in port the previous day, whilst on the 14th. we went down to the port to see the France, Rotterdam & Flandre - Quite a gathering.
 

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I walked onto the floating dock in Hamburg as the yard cleaners were just starting a high pressure wash down, the only flat plates I could see were the blanks over the outboard stern tubes. The whole underwater section of the hull was curved plate to give the best hydrodynamic form. Two bow thrusters forward and a stern thruster aft, must have made berthing very simple for the master.

When the ship was built, all chosen suppliers were informed that, although normal ship suppliers guarantee of 12 months from delivery, was the basis of their materials; Mon General, Expected; that all materials supplied for the basic structure and machinery of the vessel, would be delivered with an unwritten agreement that they would be suitable for aminimum of twenty five years trouble free service, normal wear and tear being accepted.

Walking the length of the ship at bilge flat level, I passes through all the emergency watertight doors, seven I think it was, all the screw slots of the doorway fitted bolts, on each door frame were in line around the the opening; I've never seen this attention to detail on any other vessel.
 

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I have happy memories of the France from my time in Southampton as an Immigration Officer. Of all of them, the strongest is waiting for the ship to dock one morning in thick fog. I literally could not see the ship as she docked but I can remember very clearly the swirling fog and the loud, deep sound of the ship's horn as she came alongside.
 
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