William Francis Gibbs News

18 Jul 2017

SS United States Thrown a Lifeline

SS United States sits out of commission in Philadelphia. (Photo: SS United States Conservancy)

Just days away from a verdict on its ultimate fate, the historic cruise liner SS United States has received a lifeline in the form of a $150,000 donation to a fundraising effort which aims to save “America’s flagship” and restore the storied vessel to its former glory. The $150,000 contribution from cruise industry executive Jim Pollin to the SS United States Conservancy's "We are the United States" campaign has enabled the national nonprofit organization to extend its fundraising and outreach effort through mid-September.

24 Feb 2016

S.S. United States Historic Ship may get a Second Lease on Life

“We are ready to save history, full speed ahead” said Susan Gibbs (left). Gibbs and Edie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Crystal Cruises, announced plans to save the SS United States at a press conference in New York.  (Photo: Eric Haun)

Crystal Cruises has come to the rescue of the historic luxury liner SS United States, announcing plans for an exclusive purchase option agreement to begin work on returning America’s flagship to seagoing service, pending a technical feasibility study. Launched in 1952 as the fastest, largest and safest passenger liner in the world, “Big U” was regarded as an American symbol of elegance and technological prowess, capturing the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage and transporting more than one million passengers over her lifetime, including four U.S.

04 Feb 2016

SS United States to Sail Again

Rendering of the restored SS United States by Crystal Cruises (Image: Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Cruises has come to the rescue of historic luxury liner SS United States, today announcing an exclusive purchase option agreement to begin work on returning America’s flagship to service as the world’s fastest cruise ship. Once the world’s fastest, safest and largest passenger liner, the historic ship still holds the transatlantic speed record, yet it has spent years mothballed at dock holding off a looming trip to the scrapyard, having last sailed under her own power more than 40 years ago.

28 Jan 2016

SS United States: Deal Reportedly brokered to Save Historic Ship

(Image: Maritime Reporter & Engineering News)

A deal has been brokered to save the historic liner SS United States, with full details scheduled to be announced in New York City on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Once the queen of the express liners, and the fastest, safest and biggest passenger liner in history, the SS United States for years has quietly awaited rescue in Philadelphia. Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. (now Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII) and designed by legendary  William Francis Gibbs (Gibbs & Cox, Inc.

25 Feb 2014

SS United States: Leading Lady to Damsel in Distress

This is now ... United States seen from S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia.

Once queen of the express liners, and the fastest, safest and biggest passenger liner in history, the SS United States today quietly awaits rescue from a pending cruise to the scrapyard. The Big Ship the Big U, the one that didn’t sink. The S.S. She is waiting for a rescue that may never come from an appointment with the scrap yard looming large on her summer schedule. And that would be a shame according to her many supporters, not the least of which was the late newsman and sailor, Walter Cronkite.

19 Feb 2014

Something Old, Something New ...

Greg Trauthwein

I must admit that exploring the historical nature of our business is one of my favorite endeavors, and this month we are pleased to continue our series of articles in celebration of our 75th anniversary. Patricia Keefe again graces our pages with her overview of the creation and fate of what is arguably the greatest if not most famous ship in the history of U.S. shipbuilding, the passenger liner SS United States. The SS United States is one of those ships that  has intricately interwoven itself into the culture of this industry…

17 Oct 2013

SS United States: When Washington Got Things Done

Susan Gibbs With Dedication Plaque

Susan Gibbs is the Executive Director of the SS United States Conservancy and granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, designer of America’s Flagship. Here Ms. Gibbs shares her opinions on the intersection of U.S. politics and America’s historical flagship, SS United States, while addressing the American condition, past and future. With the government shutdown having sent Washington into a tailspin, validating Americans’ disdain for beltway politics, you can’t help but think about a time in our history when people believed government actually worked.

26 Mar 2012

Renewed Effort to Save SS United States

As momentum builds for the effort to save and repurpose the greatest American ocean liner ever built, the SS United States Redevelopment Project (SSUSRP) announced that it has named New Canaan Advisors LLC (NCA) as real estate advisors to a growing team leading this exciting redevelopment program. New Canaan Advisors will assist the SSUSRP on a number of aspects related to transforming the historic ship into a stationary, multi-purpose waterfront destination. The SS United States, which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its maiden voyage this year, remains the largest passenger vessel ever constructed in the United States. At nearly 1,000 feet long, she remains the fastest ocean liner to cross the North Atlantic and one of the last surviving of the great 20th Century liners.

31 Jan 2012

Gibbs Brothers Medal to Keane Jr.

Stevens alum Robert G. Keane Jr. (M. Eng. ’67) will receive the Gibbs Brothers Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit institution that recognizes achievement in science and provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations. The Gibbs Brothers Medal is awarded every three years for outstanding contributions in the field of naval architecture and marine engineering. It was established through the Gibbs Brothers Fund by gift of William Francis Gibbs and Frederic H. Gibbs and is presented with a $20,000 prize.

09 Aug 2006

Documentary Planned on SS United States

Reston, Virginia based company, Rock Creek Productions, Inc. is producing a historical documentary entitled The Big U. The film focuses on the life and times of the superliner SS United States and her Philadelphia born designer, William Francis Gibbs. The SS United States has been on the National Register for Historic Places since 1999. The filmmakers are aiming for a 2008 national release on PBS. “I sailed on the ship when I was a little boy, and it’s remained in the back of my mind all these years. I’ve learned what an instrumental figure Gibbs was in the success of our nation’s navy fleets at a time when the United States ruled the oceans. Now it’s time for America to hear and learn about these forgotten icons,” stated Rock Creek’s Vice President and Producer/Director Tim Phillips.

05 May 2003

NCL Acquires S/S United States

Furthering its commitment to its U.S.-flag cruise ship initiative, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has purchased the S/S United States, one of the country's most venerable ships built in the glory days of trans-Atlantic sea travel. NCL will convert the vessel to a state-of-the art, modern cruise ship and add it to NCL's planned U.S. flagged fleet. Widely considered to be the greatest superliner ever built in this country, the S/S United States was engineered to be faster, safer and more technologically advanced than anything else afloat when it was christened. To this day, its Atlantic crossing record has never been matched and it remains the holder of the fabled Blue Riband. Knowing that S/S United States faced an uncertain future, NCL moved swiftly to purchase the vessel.

04 Jun 2003

America's Super Liner to Set Sail Once Again?

As a child, I often noticed a framed postcard that hung in the living room of my parents' home in Long Island. It was a simple silver rimmed frame with blue matting that showed back and front of the postcard — the front depicting a large ship with red, white and blue smokestacks — the back holding an autograph of former President Dwight Eisenhower (see photo below). For years, I passed this by as if it were of no significance. However, I would have never thought that one day I'd be writing about this framed postcard. The "large ship" to which I am referring is the United States Lines flagship, the S.S. United States, which my mother, Evelyn (Sullivan) Ciardiello, traveled on from New York to Europe in 1963 — 11 years after the vessel held its maiden voyage on July 3, 1952.

14 Apr 2003

NCL Acquires S/S United States

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has purchased the S/S United States, one of the country's most venerable ships built in the glory days of trans-Atlantic sea travel. NCL will convert the vessel to a state-of-the art, modern cruise ship and add it to NCL's planned U.S. flagged fleet. A relaunched S/S United States will add more than 1,000 American maritime jobs and 5,000 shoreside jobs to the 3,000 maritime jobs and 17,000 shoreside jobs that NCL's U.S. flag initiative with Project America is predicted to generate. Widely considered to be the greatest superliner ever built in this country, the S/S United States was engineered to be faster, safer and more technologically advanced than anything else afloat when she was christened.

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