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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Built by the Penhoet Yard in St.Nazaire, keel laid in January 1931.
The vessel had to become the largest liner in the world and also the fastest.
She managed both, launched October 1932 but the depression held back ongoing construction.
Her maiden voyage was in May 1935 with an average speed of nearly 30 knots beating the Italian "REX".
The ship was extremely elegant and 1028 ft in length. She was fitted with 3 dominent funnels.
GRT was initially just below 80.000 , yet they built an extra deck house during the winter of 35-36 in order to beat the size of the Queen Mary.

The Blue Riband changed hands between these two vessels, with the Normandie eventually outclassing the Q.M. with a speed of 31.2 knots.
She was laid up in New York in August 1939 and in Dec 1941 the conversion into a troop ship began.
She caught fire in Feb 1942 and later capsized due to the quantities of water pumped in by the Fire Brigade.
Although raised in 1943 but refitting was not worthwile. The vessel was sold to the breakers for USD 161.000 , a fraction of the USD 60 million construction cost.

interesting website:

Painting by John Gardner
Copyright: Hempel A/S Copenhagen `07/90


Premium Member
5,620 Posts
There was very little difference in the speeds achieved by Normandie and Queen Mary Jan, but the Queen Mary was the fastest of the two across the Atlantic. Separate records were kept for westbound and eastbound crossings. Rex only broke the record westbound. The statistics are as follows: -


1933 (June); Europa; NDL; 27.92 knots.
1933 (August); Rex; Italia; 28.92 knots.
1935 (May); Normandie; CGT; 29.98 knots.
1936 (August); Queen Mary; Cunard; 30.14 knots.
1937 (May); Normandie; CGT; 30.58 knots.
1938 (August); Queen Mary; Cunard; 30.99 knots.


1933 (June); Bremen; NDL; 28.51 knots.
1935 (June); Normandie; CGT; 30.31 knots.
1936 (August); Queen Mary; Cunard; 30.63 knots.
1937 (March); Normandie; CGT; 30.99 knots.
1937 (August); Normandie; CGT; 31.20 knots.
1938 (August); Queen Mary; Cunard; 31.69 knots.

The Queen Mary held the record until the introduction of United States in 1952. Normandie was the largest ship until the completion of Queen Elizabeth.


23 Posts
She was such a great ship. What a pity she had to end in such an avoidable disaster. One of the greatest nautical mishaps!

229 Posts
I seem to recall hearing that the Mary and Elizabeth burned around 1,000 tons of bunker at their normal cruising speed of 28.5 kts. I can only imagine what their consumption must have been at 30+ kts. I don't recall ever hearing a figure for the Normandie, but since she was turbo electric rather than geared turbines it would seem logical that she might have been a bit less efficient.
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