• June 2019 edition of the PORTHOLE posted - 08/07/19
  • MARITIME NEW YORK compendium of lectures, exhibits, tours and transportation around the Port of New York updated - 9/8/2018


Sunday, August 18-25, 2019

(Mario De Stefano photo)

On Saturday, August 18th, 38 World Ship Society – PONY Branch members and friends set sail from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal aboard Oceania Cruises’ MV INSIGNIA under dramatic thunderstorm-filled skies. Once we cleared Lower New York Bay, QUEEN MARY 2 was spotted ahead, having departed Brooklyn the same time we sailed from Manhattan. As with most cruises, the first night onboard was quiet, but our group was in store for a week of virtually nonstop parties. Monday evening (after a stormy day at sea), we were treated to the Captain’s welcome aboard party, as well as much calmer seas. Tuesday evening, the PONY Branch hosted a welcome party in the Horizons Lounge on INSIGNIA’s top deck, with sweeping views of a spectacular sunset through its full-height glass walls. Wednesday was a well-timed day off from parties, since Thursday there were two! That afternoon, we were invited by world-renowned maritime artist Stephen Card to join him for an afternoon cocktail party at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Afterwards, we headed back to the INSIGNIA for pre-dinner cocktails hosted by Virtuoso Voyages (consortium partner of our travel agent, Travel Edge), again in Horizons Lounge. Friday was the Oceania Club Repeaters' Party in the Insignia Lounge, another chance to chat with the INSIGNIA’s captain, officers and staff. The ship’s social hostess invited the entire World Ship Society group, repeaters or not. Saturday we received word that there would be another cocktail hour hosted by Virtuoso Voyages - because they had forgotten to order hors’ d oeuvre for the first party!

If it sounds like there was no reason to drop anchor during this cruise, that was not the case. St. George’s was our first port of call - Bermuda’s most populous city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a delightful town, and from INSIGNIA’s berth in the beautiful harbor we enjoyed spectacular views of turquoise waters and lush green hills dotted with lovely homes. We spent two nights in St. George’s, then sailed to Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital, early the following morning. Our berthing location along Front Street was equally picturesque, only steps away from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, as well as the fine shopping, restaurants and hotels for which Hamilton is known. After an overnight in Hamilton, we sailed past CELEBRITY SUMMIT and NORWEGIAN ESCAPE docked at King’s Wharf. Under brilliant skies we then headed to the open Atlantic and our voyage back to New York. It was a magnificent week, sure to be remembered by our group for years to come.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 – 4:00 PM
Pier 81, 12th Avenue at West 41st Street, Manhattan

Around a dozen PONY Branch members and friends convened for a “No Host” Social on board North River Lobster Company’s DESTINY to view Cunard Line’s magnificent QUEEN ELIZABETH as she set sail on a transatlantic crossing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Food and beverages were available for purchase, and all enjoyed the wonderful views of New York Harbor and the QUEEN ELIZABETH. (Photos by Carol Miles and Mario De Stefano)

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 6:15 PM
Presented by Doug Newman
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Avenue (at West 29th Street), 7th Floor, Manhattan

(Photos: Ted Scull and Doug Newman)

Although significantly involved in passenger shipping for less than four decades, the family-owned Chandris Group operated a wider variety of ships and services than virtually any firm of its era, from secondhand liners carrying immigrants from Europe to Australia and converted coastal steamers cruising the Greek islands, to some of the newest and most luxurious cruise ships sailing from North American ports. Fifteen-year-member and current Branch Secretary Doug Newman, whose interest in passenger ships was sparked by a childhood cruise on the then-new HORIZON, presented an illustrated history of Chandris Group’s passenger ships, from the parallel births of Chandris Lines in 1959 and Chandris Cruises in 1960 to the sale of Celebrity Cruises to Royal Caribbean in 1997. His program featured one-time New York regulars like AMERIKANIS, BRITANIS, GALILEO/MERIDIAN, HORIZON AND ZENITH, as well as some less familiar vessels that rarely, if ever, made their way to our waters.

Friday, May 31, 2019 - 6:15 PM
Presented by Tom Rinaldi
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Avenue (at West 29th Street), 7th Floor, Manhattan

(Photo: Tom Rinaldi)

In the summer of 2018, PONY Branch member Tom Rinaldi plotted a course across Northern Europe involving as many interesting passenger ships as could be squeezed into one week, including the retired Holland America liner S.S. ROTTERDAM. Europe's complex geography has sustained large-scale passenger shipping of a kind that New York harbor hasn't seen in decades. Some of Europe's modern ferries are larger than the transatlantic liners that once frequented Manhattan's west side piers, even though these ships seldom cover distances greater than a few hundred miles. Tom’s course traversed more than 2,000 miles by rail and sea, and included one of Europe's longest ferry crossings, from Germany to Finland, and a transit of one of the world's most heavily trafficked sea lanes, between Finland and Sweden. Stops along the way included an overnight stay at the preserved ferry BORE (ex-KRISTINA REGINA, 1960) before wrapping up with a long-anticipated visit to the S.S. ROTTERDAM (1959), now preserved as a hotel ship at her former home port in the Netherlands.

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Allan E. Jordan
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Avenue (at West 29th Street), 7th Floor, Manhattan

(Photo credit: PortMiami)

December 1968 was a watershed moment in the history of cruising. The modern port of Miami was launched with the opening of the terminals on Dodge Island and the arrival of some of the first modern cruise ships, including the STARWARD, BOHEME and FLAVIA. In the years to come, Miami would become the nucleus for start-up and established passenger ship lines, helping to firmly establish and refine the cruise industry. 

Writer and historian Allan Jordan recalled Miami’s role in advancing the cruise industry. He highlighted moments such as the launch of the SONG OF NORWAY, MARDI GRAS, NORWAY and SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS and discussed older ships, including the EMERALD SEAS and the DOLPHIN, that would be replaced by modern resorts at sea. He also brought us right up to today’s giants such as the MSC SEASIDE and SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS. 

Allan Jordan is the author of numerous articles on the cruise industry’s history and its future as a frequent contributor to Cruise Travel magazine, Maritime Executive and Cruise Business Review. He authored Saluting the Aloha Spirit, which recalled the history of American Hawaii Cruises and the sister ships the INDEPENDENCE and the CONSTITUTION, and a history of NCL. He has appeared as a guest lecturer aboard the ships of Royal Viking, Crystal, Princess, and Oceania.

Sunday, March 24, 2019
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

(Photo credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

On Sunday, March 24, 2019, 72 PONY Branch members and guests visited NCL's 165,300 GT, 4,266-passenger NORWEGIAN ESCAPE, a Breakaway Plus-class cruise ship that entered service in 2015. Those attending toured various staterooms, and The Haven area reserved for premium suite guests, before enjoying a three-course lunch with wine in the Taste dining room. After lunch there was time to further explore the public areas of the ship before she set sail from Manhattan Cruise Terminal Pier 88 on a seven night cruise to the Bahamas. All proceeds from the event were donated by NCL to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Friday, March 22, 2019 - 7:30 PM
Presented by Karl Zimmermann
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Avenue (at West 29th Street), 7th Floor, Manhattan

(Photo: Karl Zimmermann)

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, today among the premier operators of heritage passenger ships, has deep roots that stretch all the way back to 1848, when the company was founded by Fredrik Christian Olsen—the first “Fred.”—and his two brothers. Over the decades the company grew and diversified widely, while always operating passenger vessels. The current fleet of the UK-based, Norwegian-owned cruise line numbers four: the BRAEMAR (built in 1993 as the CROWN DYNASTY), the BALMORAL (built in 1988 as the CROWN ODYSSEY), the BOUDICCA (built in 1973 as the ROYAL VIKING SKY), and the BLACK WATCH (built in 1972 as the ROYAL VIKING STAR). All four have been stretched. Of the Royal Viking sisters, the BLACK WATCH has been the less altered overall.

In July 2018, PONY members Karl and Laurel Zimmermann sailed on the BLACK WATCH from Liverpool on a five-night “Scottish Lochs, Highlands and Islands” cruise, which was highlighted in Karl’s presentation, after some Fred. Olsen history. Karl is a travel writer who for a half-century has focused on trains and ships; his stories and pictures have appeared in numerous magazines and in the travel sections of newspapers across the country— including the Los Angeles Times, where he currently is often featured. 

February 15, 2019 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Bill Miller
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Avenue, 7th floor (at West 29th Street), Manhattan

(Photo: Bill Miller Collection)

The year 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the beloved, iconic QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 -- the QE2. While that extraordinary ship, the most successful liner ever, lives on out in Dubai, it was the perfect occasion to celebrate both the ship and its owners. No company has the grand history that belongs to Cunard.

On Friday, February 15th, the PONY Branch once again welcomed Bill Miller, “Mr. Ocean Liner,” who took us on a "voyage" -- a voyage of recollection and remembrance -- beginning with the first Queens, the immortal QUEEN MARY and QUEEN ELIZABETH. While we "traveled" to the current age of three modern Queens (with a fourth expected in 2022), other Company liners made "guest appearances" – including the AQUITANIA, MAURITANIA, CARONIA, BRITANNIC and more.

Friday, January 25, 2019 - 6:45 PM (Note changed meeting time)
Presented by Christian Roden
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor (at West 29th Street), Manhattan

When American Export Lines began making plans to resume transatlantic service after World War II, vice president John Slater realized that economic circumstances were changing significantly. Technological developments meant that affordable high-speed air travel was projected to reduce transoceanic journeys from a week to a matter of hours. It was thought that within a decade, ocean liners would become obsolete. Until then, however, large ships were still the most economically viable option, and American Export felt that the company’s investment should remain as profitable and competitive with airline traffic for as long as possible.

To help ensure this, the company hired the renowned industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, a Brooklyn native, to oversee the design and construction of the postwar fleet. His firm, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, had been a major player on the industrial design scene for fifteen years. Major clients included Western Electric, Bell Telephone Systems and the New York Central Railroad for which he designed an Art Deco streamlined shroud for their Hudson locomotives along with four train sets for the 1938 20th Century Limited.

On the maritime scene, which was the focus of this talk, Dreyfuss designed six ships for the American Export Lines between 1945 and 1951, beginning with the Four Aces, and then most famously, the CONSTITUTION and INDEPENDENCE.

Christian Roden is the Assistant Director of Data Management and Prospect Research for the University of Pennsylvania Library. He was a 2011-2012 Fulbright Research Fellow to France, researching the career of the S.S. ILE DE FRANCE at the Association des Lignes Francaises in Le Havre. He has subsequently worked as the Curatorial Associate for the SS United States Conservancy. His lifelong passion has been the history of ocean liners.

Sunday, December 9, 2018 - 2:00-5:00 PM
The Paris Cafe
119 South Street (at Peck Slip), Manhattan

On Sunday, December 9, 2018, 45 members and guests enjoyed food, drinks and the camaraderie of fellow ship enthusiasts at the annual PONY Branch Holiday Party, this year celebrated at the historic Paris Cafe in Lower Manhattan's South Street Seaport.

Friday, November 30, 2018 - 6:45PM
Presented by Pat Dacey
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor (at West 29th Street), Manhattan

PONY Branch members and guests gathered for a presentation by Pat Dacey on the HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS. This very small and special vessel -- 2,112 tons and now in her 30th season -- is the only ship currently operated by Hebridean Cruises. Often described as a “floating country house,” the all-inclusive HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS caters to just 49 guests. A staff of 38 sets the mood, ensuring each voyage is a luxurious house party afloat.

The HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS began her career as the Mac Brayne car ferry RMS COLUMBA in 1964 and continued to serve in that role until she was purchased by Hebridean Island Cruises in 1989. She was transformed into a luxury cruise vessel and commenced her new role after a naming ceremony by the Duchess of York. Her royal association continued when HM Queen Elizabeth II chartered HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS for two family holidays. Hebridean Cruises was subsequently granted a Royal Warrant, making HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS the only cruise ship ever to receive the royal recognition.

Pat explored the more than fifty-year history of this ship and offered a first-hand account of a recent voyage he and his wide Denise took to discover the natural beauty and history of the Sea Lochs of the Lower Clyde in Scotland.  Pat provided a sample of life on board, including dining and shore visits.

Pat Dacey is a long-time PONY Branch member who also serves on the executive board and is the committee head for special events. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018 – 10 AM to 2 PM
417 East 61st Street (between First and York Avenues), Manhattan

(Photo credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

This year's Ocean Liner Bazaar featured eight enthusiastic dealers of ocean liner memorabilia who exhibited  ship models, brochures, deck plans, paintings, prints, posters, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and more, both common and rare collectible items, from passenger lines and ships past and present.

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by J. Fred Rodriguez
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor (at West 29th Street), Manhattan

(Illustration by Stephen J. Card)

Everyone loves ships and shipping in one way or another. That’s what formed us as a branch of the World Ship Society some 53 years ago. In his entertaining program, Branch plank owner J. Fred Rodriguez asked us to touch base with an old friend, the R.M.S. CARONIA, retracing the life and legends of this storied ship, affectionately known as “The Green Goddess.”

Cunard-White Star Line conceived the 34,172-ton CARONIA of 1949 as a deluxe cruise ship, which would also offer seasonal repositioning voyages as transatlantic crossings. In order to give CARONIA a distinctive look  suitable to her tropical and subtropical deployment, she was painted in four shades of green. J. Fred examined the career of this unique and glamorous liner, from her early days as one of the world’s most luxurious ships, to her competition with a new generation of cruise ships in the 1960’s, to her long years in lay-up in New York Harbor and her eventual dramatic demise. Wherever CARONIA voyaged, on her many memorable journeys around the world, history was made.

A U.S. Merchant Mariner of 31 years and an enthusiast of all things nautical for 64 years, J. Fred Rodriguez talked about the ship from deep within, including reminiscences of the CARONIA by some of the World Ship Society - PONY Branch members who have made this branch what it is today.

Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 2 PM to 6 PM

(Photo credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, 30 PONY Branch members and friends set sail on Empire Cruises' excursion boat COSMO for a three-hour luncheon cruise around New York Harbor. Those aboard enjoyed a full Italian buffet and premium open bar while viewing the seven cruise ships in port that day, including AIDAdiva, AIDAluna and DISNEY MAGIC at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, REGAL PRINCESS at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, ANTHEM OF THE SEAS departing the Cape Liberty Cruise Port, and American Cruise Lines’ small cruise ships INDEPENDENCE and AMERICAN STAR at Pier 36 East River.

Sunday, September 23/30, 2018

 (Photo credit: Mario De Stefano)

This year's World Ship Society Maritime Enthusiasts Cruise set sail on September 23rd with a total of 16 PONY Branch members and friends embarking aboard Cunard Line’s classic flagship QUEEN MARY 2 for either a 7-night one-way or 14-night round-trip voyage between New York City and Quebec City where the QM2 docked beneath the historic Chateau Frontenac hotel (see photo). Additional port calls were made at Rockland, Maine and various ports in eastern Canada. Despite some wet weather, a good time was had by all.

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Ted Scull
Placido Domingo Hall, Opera America/The National Opera Center
330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor (at West 29th Street), Manhattan

At the beginning of a lifetime of travel, putting together complex itineraries that stayed on the surface of the globe, be it, wherever possible, by train and ship, were both fun to create and often resulted in experiences that could not be had by flying over the world and landing here and there. Naturally, not everything went as planned, with both positive and negative results, and ratcheting up the drama. Back then, borders were easier to cross, civil unrest was less prevalent, and rail and ship services were, in many cases, better operated then than now, if they exist at all today.

Forty-four years ago, Ted Scull undertook the granddaddy of classic overland and sea journeys from Europe to Southeast Asia, a rite of passage for adventure travelers. Today most of that classic route no longer exists for a whole host of reasons that were discussed during Ted's account of his travels from London Victoria Station to the port of Murara, the Sultanate of Brunei, on Borneo’s north coast. His transport involved four ships, five trains, one bus, and one flight, and his entertaining program included photos of the many passenger vessels he encountered en route.

For planning purposes, Ted's essential tools of the trade were the Thomas Cook Continental Timetable, ABC Shipping Guide, and Passenger Shipping Guide, plus whatever rail and steamship brochures he could find in the racks of travel agencies and national tourist offices or ordered by mail.

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

(Photo credit: G. Justin Zizes, Jr.)

On Thursday, August 16, 2018, 81 PONY Branch members and guests enjoyed a luncheon on board Carnival Cruise Line's CARNIVAL HORIZON at Manhattan Cruise Terminal Pier 88. The 133,500 GT, 3,916-passenger, Vista-class cruise ship was launched in March 2018 and is the newest ship the Carnival fleet. Those attending had the opportunity to explore the ship before enjoying a four-course lunch with wine in the Meridian Restaurant. After lunch there was time to further explore the CARNIVAL HORIZON before she set sail on a four night cruise to Bermuda. (Photo credit: G. Justin Zizes, Jr. and Stuart Gewirtzman)

Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:00 PM
THE SUPERLINERS:  TWILIGHT OF AN ERA (Note New Venue - 28 East 35th Street)
Community Church Gallery, 28 East 35th Street, Manhattan

At our last membership meeting before the summer break, PONY Branch members and friends were treated to a screening of "The Superliners: Twilight of an Era." Produced in 1979 by National Geographic in association with WQED in Pittsburgh, this 50-minute film documents a westbound crossing in the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 with both crew and passenger interviews and footage from public spaces and working areas of the ship including the bridge and engine room. Also shown is a rare glimpse of her dramatic unassisted docking in New York City by Captain Ridley during a tugboat strike. The film, for which Frank Braynard served as historical advisor, provides rare insight and footage of the QE2 during a period where her future remained uncertain as rising fuel costs and the competition from air travel challenged the time honored tradition of crossing the Atlantic by ship. The film also examines, through archival footage, the role that the ocean liner has played as the "Atlantic Ferry" in times of peace and war, with a discussion of the immigrant trade, the Blue Riband, and superliners such as the NORMANDIE, QUEEN MARY and QUEEN ELIZABETH.

Prior to the screening, PONY Branch member Pat Dacey led a discussion of recent developments in QE2's restoration and its opening as a floating hotel in 2018. (Photo credit: Patrick Dacey)

Sunday, June 3, 2018
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

A total of 82 PONY Branch members and guests enjoyed an afternoon visit on board Princess Cruises' PACIFIC PRINCESS during her port call at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. The 30,277 GT, 688-passenger small cruise ship originally entered service for Renaissance Cruises in 1999 as their R THREE before moving to Princess in 2002. After a guided ship tour, those attending enjoyed a 3-course lunch with wine in the Club Restaurant. After lunch there was time to further explore the ship before she set sail for Dover, UK; via Halifax, Canada; Iceland; and the Faroe and Shetland islands. (Photo credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Tom Rinaldi
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

This January, WSS PONY Branch member Tom Rinaldi sailed out of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) aboard what in his view might well have been the most interesting ship in the world: the Shipping Corporation of India's 9,700-gross-ton MV HARSHA VARDHANA, which entered service in 1974. If the HARSHA VARDHANA isn't quite everyone's idea of the world's most interesting ship, at the time of Tom's voyage she was indisputably one of the world's very last true ocean liners, making line voyages carrying passengers and cargo across the Bay of Bengal. During his very entertaining and humorous program, Tom described his four-night passage from Kolkata to the Andaman Islands on an unusual voyage aboard this very unusual ship, which, as Tom noted in an epilogue, recently made her last voyage to the ship breakers.  (Photo credit: Tom Rinaldi)

Friday, April 27, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Allan E. Jordan
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

The Port of New York played a pivotal role in the birth of modern cruising as the center of the burgeoning industry in the post-World War II era. Eclipsed by the Miami and Port Everglades in the 1970s, New York began a long decline as a cruise homeport. Eventually cruises no longer departed year-round from the port as South Florida became cruising’s epicenter. In recent years, however, New York has been reborn as a popular year-round cruise port once again, with terminals in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey hosting a wide range of cruise ships.

Writer and historian Allan Jordan traced the evolution of cruising from the Port of New York, from its role in the birth of the modern cruise industry through its decline and rebirth as a cruise homeport. Along the way, he recalled many of the ships that became well-known cruising from New York, from dual-purpose ocean liners such as the CARONIA, GRIPSHOLM, and BREMEN and early full-time cruise ships such as the NASSAU, OCEANIC, and AMERIKANIS, to the ships of today’s resurgence.

Allan is a frequent contributor on the history and future of the cruise industry to Cruise Travel magazine, Maritime Executive, and Cruise Business Review. He is also the author of two books—a history of Norwegian Cruise Line and Saluting the Aloha Spirit, a history of American Hawaii Cruises—and has lectured aboard many cruise ships. (Photo Credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by David G. Hume
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Few modern-day passenger ships have earned as loyal a clientele as Holland America Line’s 30‑year old PRINSENDAM. Following in her wake in the small ship market is Viking Ocean Cruises’ three-year-old VIKING STAR. Both ships were conceived as upscale, premium cruise ships with modern Scandinavian décor. Due to their relatively small size, 37,983 gross tons and 47,800 gross tons, respectively, they are able to visit ports that are inaccessible to large cruise ships.

The PRINSENDAM entered service in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, the last ship built by the Royal Viking Line. The ROYAL VIKING SUN was sold to Cunard Line in 1994 and initially kept its original name. However, in 1999 it was transferred to another Carnival Corporation subsidiary, Seabourn Cruise Line as the SEABOURN SUN. In 2002, it was further transferred to Holland America Line, at which time it was renamed PRINSENDAM.

The VIKING STAR entered service in 2015, the first cruise ship built for Viking Ocean Cruises. This company was established in 2013 by Torstein Hagen, following the success of Viking River Cruises and based upon his prior experience as Chief Executive Officer of Royal Viking Line from 1980 to 1984. In fact, the first four ships of Viking Ocean Cruises, VIKING STAR, VIKING SEA, VIKING SKY and VIKING SUN, have names similar to the names borne by the ships of the Royal Viking Line. Another six sister ships will soon be entering service. Just this month, Viking Ocean Cruises announced that it has secured options for yet another six cruise ships, which would create a fleet of sixteen cruise ships.

PONY Branch Vice Chairman David Hume presented an entertaining and informative program comparing the stylistic differences and amenities of PRINSENDAM and VIKING STAR. (Photos: David G. Hume)

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Bill Miller
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Trans-Atlantic liner travel was still booming in 1958. More passengers were sailing to and from Europe than ever. Alone, Cunard had over a dozen liners on their trans-ocean runs – and carried almost a quarter of all passengers. But then there was a bang, a big bang – that October, the first jet airliners began crossing the Atlantic. Historic Cunard was dismissive and quick to announce: “Flying is a fad – it will pass!” 

But within six months, by mid-1959, the airlines grabbed as much as two-thirds of all trans-Atlantic traffic. By 1963, they had 98 percent. The Atlantic liner was all but doomed. After one crossing from Southampton in 1962, for example, the mighty QUEEN ELIZABETH steamed into New York harbor with only 125 passengers onboard being looked after by 1,200 crew. It wasn’t economic anymore! 

Bill Miller, who is writing a new book on the Atlantic liners in the Fifties and Sixties, took us on a grand "fleet review" of passenger ships in and around 1958. 

Friday, January 26, 2018 - 6:00 PM
Presented by William Roka, Historian/Public Programs Manager
at the South Street Seaport Museum
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

By the start of the 20th century, travel was big business. Millions of passengers were on the move, corporations spanned the globe, and ship lines competed to build the world’s largest moving objects, North Atlantic superliners. William Roka, the South Street Seaport Museum’s historian and public programs manager, and curator of the Seaport’s most recent exhibition Millions: Migrants and Millionaires Aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914, led us on a tour of this extraordinary period in the history of travel.

The largest number of passengers were westbound travelers, the immigrants in third class, who sought economic opportunity and a new life in the United States. Immigrants formed the largest source of revenue for shipping companies. In order to efficiently move millions across multiple borders and to ensure their entry into the United States in the face of increasingly stricter immigration laws, shipping companies created a sophisticated transit system that reached deep into Europe and across the US.

While travel conditions for immigrants improved each passing year, construction of superliners such as Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania, Olympic, Titanic, Imperator, and Vaterland was not entirely for their benefit. Beyond national pride in building the biggest and best, shipping companies were motivated by a more common interest: profit. After immigrants in third class, it was first-class passengers who provided the greatest source of revenue. For only a hundred thousand annual passengers shipping companies would create floating palaces that rivaled the best hotels in comfort and amenities.

First class and third class, millionaires and immigrants, lives that were worlds apart on land, but would, for a brief time, almost touch aboard the North Atlantic liners.  (Artwork by Odin Rosensweig)

Saturday, December 9, 2017 – 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Arte Cafe, 106 West 73rd Street, Manhattan

On Saturday December 9, 2017, members and guests braved a cold and snowy day to enjoy food, drinks and the camaraderie of fellow ship enthusiasts at the annual PONY Branch Holiday Party, held once again this year at the Arte Cafe on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of her final voyage, the entertainment included a documentary video on the history of the RMS QUEEN MARY. (Photo credits: Stuart Gewirtzman and Bob Allen)

Saturday, November 18, 2017 – 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
417 East 61st Street, New York City (between First and York Avenues)

This year's Ocean Liner Bazaar featured ten enthusiastic dealers of ocean liner memorabilia who exhibited ship models, paintings, prints, posters, brochures, deck plans, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and other items both popular and rare from passenger shipping lines past and present. (Photo credit: Marjorieann Matuszek)

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Ted Scull
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

For our November program, we joined former PONY Branch chairman Ted Scull on a half-dozen voyages aboard ships that represent the end of their type: passenger-container ship, Royal Mail Ship, colonial liner, liner converted to cruising, and a pair of Atlantic liners. During Ted's program we ventured from Buenos Aires on a 26-day, northbound voyage to Brooklyn aboard Ivaran Lines’ super-comfy, 86-passenger-container ship, AMERICANA. Intended to be the first of a new breed of combi-ship, and officially classified as a scheduled passenger vessel, she attained priority access to congested Brazilian ports. We also went aboard the Royal Mail Ship ST. HELENA, living on borrowed time as her namesake island’s brand-new airport located deep in the South Atlantic finally opened to regular air service from South Africa after a long delay due to severe wind shear. The RMS ST. HELENA represented the very last of the long-distance mail ships and served the island with everything it required, except fuel.

Ships built to serve colonial empires slowly disappeared as one possession after another declared independence. Using the British India liner SS KARANJA as an example, Ted introduced us to people who had to pull up stakes in East Africa and find another home.

Regency Cruises was a major operator of second-hand ships until it declared bankruptcy. On this journey, we followed the REGENT SEA, converted from Swedish Americas Line’s GRIPSHOLM of 1957, on a cruise to the Mayan ruins of Belize, Honduras, and Belize. Following the program, Ted’s new book "Ocean Liner Sunset" was available for sale along with the first two of the trilogy: "Ocean Liner Odyssey" and "Ocean Liner Twilight."

Saturday, November 4, 2017
PONY Branch Luncheon on the CROWN PRINCESS
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, 73 PONY Branch members and guests enjoyed a visit on board Princess Cruises' 2006-built CROWN PRINCESS. The 113,000 GT, 3,080-passenger Grand-class cruise ship was docked at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for a port call during a repositioning cruise from Quebec to Florida. Following a ship tour, those attending enjoyed a 3-course luncheon with wine in the Da Vinci Dining Room and then had further time to explore the ship. (Photo credit: Mario De Stefano)

Friday October 27, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Pat Dacey
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

On October 31, 1967, the QUEEN MARY left Southampton for the final time on her “Last Great Cruise” arriving in Long Beach on December 9, 1967. Almost 50 years to the day of her final departure, PONY Branch members and guests enjoyed learning about her “encore” career in Long Beach, California as member Pat Dacey took us on a photographic journey of her 50 years as a tourist attraction, a movie and television plot and prop and a beloved icon for ocean liner enthusiasts.

Over her fifty-year career in Long Beach, QUEEN MARY has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accepted by The National Trust for Historic Preservation as part of their Historic Hotels of America, and has welcomed RMS QUEEN MARY 2, QUEEN VICTORIA and QUEEN ELIZABETH to her new home.

Although owned by the City of Long Beach, QUEEN MARY has had many operators, including, but not limited to, Jack Wrather, Disney and Delaware North, and at times, has struggled with success. In his program, Pat Dacey looked at many of these operators and their various plans to upgrade, renovate and restore the great ship.

In 2016, Urban Commons, a real estate company assumed the lease of QUEEN MARY and announced plans to extensively renovate the QUEEN at a cost of $250 million dollars while at the same time taking action to stabilize her in response to a 2017 report on the ship’s structurally deteriorating condition. Significant repairs are needed at an additional estimated cost of $300 million dollars.

Currently, many of the repairs are underway and the great renovation has started. It appears that the QUEEN is on her way to once again regain her title as “The Stateliest Ship”.

Pat Dacey is a long-time PONY Branch member whose interest in ships, especially in Cunard Line, goes back 40 years. Pat first visited the QUEEN MARY in Long Beach in the early 70’s and has been a frequent visitor ever since. (Photo Credit: Pat Dacey)

Thursday September 28, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Presented by J. Fred Rodriguez
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

On the same day in 2008 that J. Fred Rodriguez notified some of his friends that he’d just gone digital, he received a call from the head office of the Holland America Line in Seattle. They asked him if he would like to be one of four American HAL photographers to cover the EURODAM’s upcoming christening. Say no more, he was packed in a heartbeat, thanks to his ‘Sailing Check List,’ and ready to go.

The event was certainly exciting and well covered with some rather interesting stories to note. Today the M.S. EURODAM continues to be quite a ship and maintains an excellent CDC inspection record of 100, year after year. Holland America is a great company that has always prided itself in operating some of the greatest passenger ships ever to sail the oceans. And let’s not forget that back a bit in their well laid out brochures, they happily proclaimed ‘It’s Good to be on A Well-Run Ship.’

In his program, J. Fred brought us back some 9 minutes ago, or was that 9 years ago, to the awesome christening ceremonies of Holland America Line’s then newest ship, the M.S. EURODAM.

(Photo credit: Stuart Gewirtzman)

Sunday, August 20, 2017
PONY Branch Luncheon on the CELEBRITY SUMMIT
Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, NJ

On Sunday, August 20, 2017, 62 PONY Branch members and guests enjoyed a tour and luncheon on board Celebrity Cruises' 2001-built CELEBRITY SUMMIT. The 91,000 GT, 2,158-passenger Millennium-class cruise ship was docked at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. After a ship tour that included a stop at the penthouse, those attending enjoyed a 3-course lunch with wine in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room which features a statue originally commissioned for the legendary French ocean liner S.S. Normandie. After lunch there was time to further explore the ship before she set sail on a 7-night cruise to Bermuda. (Photos: Bob Allen and Stuart Gewirtzman)

Saturday, July 1, 2017 - Saturday July 8, 2017 2017

PONY Branch members and friends sailed on a 7-night cruise on Cunard Line's QUEEN VICTORIA out of Rome's port of Civitavecchia with calls at ports in Malta, Montenegro and Croatia, and an overnight in Venice.

(Photos by David Hume)

Friday, June 23, 2017 – 6:00 PM
presented by Doug Newman and Tom Rinaldi
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

More than 60 years since the sinking of the ANDREA DORIA, mementos associated with the ship's disastrous demise are still prized by collectors. Remarkably, one of the most noteworthy relics of the tragedy is the ship that rammed and sank the famed Italian liner in 1956: the former motor liner STOCKHOLM is still sailing today as the cruise ship ASTORIA. At age 69, the ASTORIA is not only one of the oldest large passenger ships in history, she is just about the last ex-liner still in cruise service. PONY Branch members Doug Newman and Tom Rinaldi had the opportunity to sail on this fascinating vessel in 2017. Doug and Tom presented an illustrated history of the former STOCKHOLM's colorful past and provided a photographic tour of what is without a doubt one of the most interesting ships in the cruise business today.

Friday, May 19, 2017 – 6:00 PM
presented by Capt. Maggie Flanagan and Louis Kleinmann
of the Waterfront Alliance
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

The May 2017 inauguration of the first NYC Ferry service between Rockaway and Lower Manhattan marked the beginning of a new era in the centuries-long history of passenger transportation on the waterways of New York and New Jersey. Capt. Maggie Flanagan and Louis Kleinmann of the Waterfront Alliance, early advocates for five-borough ferry service, introduced us to NYC Ferry and put this ambitious new plan to connect our archipelago city into perspective by linking it to the history, present use, and future potential of our waterways.

Capt. Maggie Flanagan, director of education and outreach for the Waterfront Alliance, is a licensed captain and a classroom teacher specializing in marine education, and most recently served as the South Street Seaport Museum’s director of marine education. Louis Kleinman is the Waterfront Alliance’s community liaison, managing a portfolio of more than 800 Alliance Partners, including the World Ship Society–Port of New York Branch. The Waterfront Alliance ( works to protect, transform, and revitalize our harbor and waterfront. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office photo)

Friday, April 28, 2017 – 6:00 PM
1980's CRUISING, 1950's STYLE
Cruise Line Videos of Former Transatlantic Liners
Presented by Bob Allen
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

The 1980’s and 1990’s were the heyday of cruising on former transatlantic liners. “Ships of State,” built in the 1950’s and 1960’s, were converted to cruise ships which plied the world’s most exotic cruise routes. Our April program, hosted by Bob Allen, spotlighted three of these vessels which had long, successful cruising careers following more than a decade of transatlantic service -- the American Export Lines’ sister ships INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION, and Holland America Line’s ROTTERDAM. All were highly successful liners that became even more popular as full-time cruise ships. Bob's program featured two vintage promotional cruise line videos. America Hawaii Cruises’ “Don’t Miss a Thing” encouraged prospective mid-1980’s passengers to seek the islands’ lush tropical beauty from the decks of the freshly renovated American sister ships. Holland America Line produced a fascinating video in 1989, celebrating their flagship ROTTERDAM’s 30th Anniversary and recent refurbishment. In addition to historical footage of the ROTTERDAM’s construction and fitting out, the video featured Bill Miller describing the glories of sailing the “Grand Dame” of the world’s cruise fleet. All present enjoyed a unique look back at the glamorous days of cruising on great ocean liners. (Images Bob Allen collection)

Saturday, April 8, 2017
PONY Branch Luncheon on the NORWEGIAN GEM
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

On Saturday April 8, 2017, 50 members and guests participated in the second of two Spring visits to NCL's NORWEGIAN GEM organized by the PONY Branch. All attending enjoyed a three course luncheon in the Grand Pacific Dining Room and time to explore the ship during its layover at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.

Friday, March 31, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Bill Miller
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

They were a unique and once very popular type of ship: the passenger-cargo liners. More than 12-berth passenger-carrying freighters, some of these combo ships, as they were often dubbed, carried as few as 30 passengers; others, as many as 400. They offered comfortable quarters, many amenities, and one-class accommodation; but they still were not classified as actual passenger liners. Belonging to well-known shipowners such as American Export, Blue Funnel, Farrell, Grace, and Zim Lines, their heyday began just after the Second World War, in the late 1940s, and continued until the 1960s. But in the end, as air travel and containerization took hold, they were no longer practical or profitable. One of Bill Miller's latest books is "First Class Cargo," which covers many of these passenger-cargo ships. At our March meeting, PONY Branch members and guests were entertained and enlightened as Bill led them on a journey to the likes of Marseilles and Melbourne, Hong Kong and Durban aboard these fascinating vessels.

Sunday, March 19, 2017
PONY Branch Luncheon on the NORWEGIAN GEM
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

On Sunday March 19, 2017, 45 PONY Branch members and guests toured NCL's NORWEGIAN GEM during the ship's layover at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, and enjoyed a three course luncheon in the Grand Pacific Dining Room. (Photo Credit: Stuart A. Gewirtzman)

Friday, February 24, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Ben Lyons
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

When WSS-PONY Branch member Ben Lyons left his chief officer position onboard QUEEN MARY 2 in 2008, he set a different course—often, deliberately sailing his ships into ice! Since then, he has become an ice pilot and has worked onboard a variety of vessels navigating in the Polar Regions. Ice navigation is still primarily a visual skill, and during his informative and entertaining program, Ben explained the differences in types of ice, the tools that are available to modern navigators, what the different ice classifications mean and why accurate weather forecasts are so important to those on the bridge. Ben also walked us through navigating in ice on three different types of vessels: a private superyacht, the ice-strengthened expedition ship NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER, and Crystal Cruises’ CRYSTAL SERENITY on its record-setting Northwest Passage transit in 2016. On the last named, he was an expedition team member.

On and often off terra firma, Ben is CEO of EYOS Expeditions, an outfit that plans expeditions for superyachts and provides the crews to carry out programs that span the world from Antarctica to the Russian Far East and Svalbard to Madagascar. In a recent development, on January 28, 2017, the 43,188-ton private yacht THE WORLD claimed the record for sailing the farthest south any vessel has ever sailed while cruising the Bay of Whales in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. THE WORLD was assisted in this feat by EYOS Expeditions.

Friday, January 27, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Allan Jordan
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

In December, 2016, Norwegian Cruise Line marked the 50th anniversary of the arrival in Miami of the MS SUNWARD, originally built as a vehicle ferry with comfortable overnight accommodations. Writer and historian Allan Jordan started our year off by recalling the events leading up to the SUNWARD’s arrival and discussing how its success provided an impetus for building the modern port of Miami. He profiled the famous “White Ships” of NCL—the STARWARD, SKYWARD and SOUTHWARD—and covered NCL’s daring purchase of the liner SS FRANCE for its conversion into the cruise ship SS NORWAY.

The story of NCL is one of triumph and tragedy. Many of the “firsts” introduced by NCL reshaped the cruising experience and later became industry standards. Allan regaled us with tales about the numerous challenges NCL faced that nearly lead to the death of the company before its rebirth in the new millennium under the moniker “Freestyle Cruising.”

Allan Jordan is the author of numerous articles on the history and the future of the cruise industry. He is a frequent contributor to Cruise Travel magazine and Cruise Business Review. He is also the author of the history of NCL and of Saluting the Aloha Spirit, which recalls the history of American Hawaii Cruises and the sister ships INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION. He has lectured aboard the ships of Royal Viking Line, Crystal Cruises, Princess Cruise Lines and Oceania Cruises.

Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Arte Cafe, 106 West 73rd Street, Manhattan

On Saturday December 10, 2016, members and guests enjoyed food, drinks and the camaraderie of fellow ship enthusiasts at the annual PONY Branch Holiday Party, this year celebrated at the Arte Cafe on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Entertainment included two vintage 1965 videos of the building and operation of the Italian Line's MICHELANGELO and RAFFAELLO.

Friday, November 18, 2016 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Karl Zimmermann
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

On December 7, 1949, Karl Zimmermann boarded the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam in Rotterdam with his parents, homeward bound to New York after three months in Germany while his father worked for the Economic Cooperation Administration. This began a relationship with the Holland America Line that has stretched over seven decades. Its most recent expression culminated on November 9, 2016 when he and his wife Laurel disembarked at Ft. Lauderdale after a 16-day crossing on Holland America's newest ship, the M.S. Konigsdam. Between those events, Karl has sailed in ten Holland America Line ships, including both Rotterdam V and Rotterdam VI, and more recently the Prinsendam, plus five HAL vessels in subsequent cruising careers.

Though he'd crossed aboard the 1952 Maasdam as a Holland America ship, it was four transatlantic crossings in the 1980s with his family on that vessel as the Polish Ocean Lines’ Stefan Batory that rekindled Karl's love of ships. As the only current cruise line other that Cunard that fully embraces its deep history, Holland America remains a favorite. Karl's talk showcased the last century of the line's history, with a personal slant. Karl Zimmermann is a travel writer and author of numerous books, including Ocean Liners: Crossing and Cruising the Seven Seas, intended for young readers. (Photo credit: Karl Zimmermann)

Friday, October 28, 2016 – 6:00 PM
Presented by a Panel of PONY Members
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Following a late spring refit at Blohm + Voss, Hamburg, the QUEEN MARY 2 re-entered service with enough changes to call the extensive shipyard work “Remastering.” Given the interest our Branch has in the ship, this month's program was a PowerPoint presentation by panel of PONY Branch members who have recently sailed on her. The discussion was moderated by Ted Scull, and panelists included Pat and Denise Dacey, David Hume, Marjorieann Matuszek and Alan Zamchick. Following presentation of a CUNARD promotional video showing the work undertaken during the refit, each of the panelists chose areas of the ship to discuss, providing fairly complete coverage of the changes. Varying views of the results were shared during the discussion, which covered the transformation of the Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge; the complete redesign of the often maligned Kings Court (buffet dining and evening specialty restaurants); the replacement of the Todd English restaurant with The Verandah (recalling the Verandah Grill restaurants aboard the original QUEEN MARY and QUEEN ELIZABETH); the addition of new passenger cabins including the ship’s first dedicated cabins for singles; and a doubling of the number of kennels and the addition of a private lounge for cat and dog owners. Also discussed were changes to the cabins, suites and public spaces – lounges, corridors, stairs, atrium and foyers – which received new curtains, upholstery and carpeting. Opinions were divided about color and design. However, the changes to the ship's bookshop, which once sold a wide selection of maritime books, posters and souvenirs, but now offers relatively few such items for sale, were negatively reviewed by all.

Saturday, October 1, 2016 – 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
417 East 61st Street, New York City (between First and York Avenues)

This year's Ocean Liner Bazaar featured 14 enthusiastic dealers of ocean liner memorabilia who exhibited ship models, paintings, prints, posters, brochures, deck plans, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and other items both popular and rare from passenger shipping lines past and present.

Friday, September 30, 2016 – 6:00 PM
Presented by Tom Rinaldi
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

In March 2016, PONY Branch member Tom Rinaldi traveled to Tanzania and Malawi to seek out two of the world's most interesting passenger ships: the MV ILALA II, built 1949-51, and the MV LIEMBA, built 1913-1915. Both relics of European colonialism in East and Central Africa, these junior-sized liners have served isolated communities on the lakes of the Great Rift Valley for a combined total of more than 150 years and counting. ILALA II has operated for almost her entire life along the western shore of Lake Malawi, while the LIEMBA first served German East Africa (now Tanzania). Scuttled in 1916 by the Germans during WWI, Winston Churchill had it raised in 1924, rebuilt and put back into Lake Tanganyika service in 1927. The ship inspired the book and film The African Queen. Tom, one of our most adventurous travelers, shared photos and stories of what he found, as well as presented a historical overview of East Africa’s inland lakes steamer services.

Friday, July 1, 2016 – Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Twenty-four PONY Branch members and friends set sail from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on Cunard's newly renovated QUEEN MARY 2 for a five-night weekend cruise to Halifax and Boston. A cocktail party for the PONY Branch contingent was held in the Commodore Club on the first sea day of the cruise, and the QM2 was in port for Boston's July 4th fireworks display. (Photo Credit: Stuart A. Gewirtzman, July 24, 2016)

Saturday, June 25, 2016
PONY Branch Luncheon on the CARNIVAL SUNSHINE
Manhattan Cruise Terminal


On Saturday June 25, 2016, 81 PONY Branch members and guests toured Carnival Cruise Line's CARNIVAL SUNSHINE during the ship's layover at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, and enjoyed a five course luncheon in the Sunrise Restaurant. At the conclusion of the luncheon, Niksa Pelic, CARNIVAL SUNSHINE's Hotel Director, presented PONY Branch Chairman Marjorieann Matuszek with a plaque commemorating the occasion. (Photo Credits: Stuart A. Gewirtzman and Marjorieann Matuszek)

Friday, June 24, 2016 –“ 6:00 PM
Presented by J. Fred Rodriguez
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan


Our June guest speaker, maritime historian J. Fred Rodriguez, was immediately inflicted with a condition when he first saw a well-painted Revell model of the S.S. UNITED STATES in 1954. The condition is understood by only a select few, and to this day no one really knows how it starts within us - only how to keep it under control. The visiting family doctor eventually hung a name on it: he called it “Shipitus,” and the rest is history. PONY Branch members and guests heard the real-life stories of a U.S. Merchant Mariner and the sometimes wacky, wacky stories of lives at sea that covered the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly of the vast “Maritime Industry” that affects all of us one way or another.

J. Fred Rodriguez has been a Merchant Mariner of both brown and blue water for 31 years, and holds the title of Able Bodied Seaman–Unlimited. J. Fred has also guest lectured on 76 different passenger and cruise ships on well over two hundred voyages, using 51 slide presentations that he’s researched and produced. June’s program evolved from the many great people within the maritime industry who have crossed his headings both on deck and at the Port of New York Branch of the World Ship Society, where he is a “Plankowner” of the branch. (Image: USL/Bob Allen collection)

Saturday, June 11, 2016
PONY Branch Luncheon on the ANTHEM OF THE SEAS
Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, NJ


On Saturday June 11, 2016, 85 PONY Branch members and guests toured Royal Caribbean's ANTHEM OF THE SEAS during her layover at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, and enjoyed a luncheon with wine in the Chic Dining Room. (Photo Credit: Stuart A. Gewirtzman, July 23, 2016)

Friday, May 20, 2016 – 6:00 PM
The World Ship Society PONY Branch and the Lilac Preservation Project Present:
by Mary Habstritt
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Tied up at Pier 25 in Tribeca, the black-hulled LILAC is the last surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender in America, and the oldest of only three remaining American lighthouse tenders. Built in 1933 by Pusey & Jones Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware, LILAC plied the coasts of Delaware Bay and the lower Delaware River bringing supplies to the lighthouse keepers—from food to kerosene for the lamps—until 1972. After a stint at the Seafarers International Union School in Piney Point, Maryland, LILAC sat on Virginia’s James River from 1985 to 2003 before being brought to New York by the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project. In 2004 she was transferred to the Lilac Preservation Project which runs her today as a museum ship and cultural center.

Mary Habstritt, the Museum Director and President of the Lilac Preservation Project, shared the story of LILAC and her experiences preserving a historic ship along Manhattan’s Hudson River waterfront. Long active in historic preservation, Mary is also the founder of the Historic Ships Coalition, which advocates for New York City’s fleet of historic vessels, and previously served as president of the North River Historic Ship Society and as president of the Society for Industrial Archaeology.

Thursday, April 21, 2016 –“ 6:00 PM
Presented by Jim Kalafus
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Jim Kalafus, a recognized expert on ship disasters, presented a program on the strange misfortunes that befell the MORRO CASTLE and two ships named MOHAWK within the span of a decade in the same stretch of water off the New Jersey coast. The story began in January 1925 when the Clyde-Mallory liner MOHAWK was caught in storm-of-the-century-type squalls off central New Jersey and caught fire. A day later, the MOHAWK slipped into calmer water inside the Delaware breakwater where everyone aboard was safely evacuated before the ship sank. A new ship, also called MOHAWK, was soon built.

The story of Ward Line's MORRO CASTLE parallels the first MOHAWK, but ends with significant loss of life. Heading north in the same stretch of water off the New Jersey coast in September 1934, the MORRO CASTLE encountered heavy winds and caught fire. The ship was totally abandoned by the time its burning hull drifted towards the Asbury Park shoreline.

Lastly, we heard the story of the second MOHAWK, chartered by Ward Line to replace the MORRO CASTLE on the New York-to-Havana route. While heading south on her maiden voyage in January 1935, the ship sailed into a blizzard. Passengers braved the sub-zero temperatures on the promenade deck to see the hulk of the MORRO CASTLE still beached at Asbury Park. An hour later, the MOHAWK's steering system jammed and it swerved into the path of the Norwegian freighter TALISMAN. The MOHAWK sank within 40 minutes and at least 33 people perished.

Jim is a founder and editor of Gare Maritime, a compendium of research on the LUSITANIA and MORRO CASTLE disasters containing photos, biographies of passengers and crew, first-hand accounts by survivors and interviews with their families.

Friday, March 18, 2016 –“ 6:00 PM
Presented by Theodore W. Scull
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

After his first crossings over and back aboard French Line ships LIBERTE‰ and FLANDRE in July 1958, Ted Scull developed a decades-long habit of sailing on liners, though dwindling choices made it increasingly difficult. It was not until 23 years later that he embarked on his first cruise aboard a ship that he had traveled on as a liner – P&O's ORIANA. Cruising soon turned out to be the way to continue sailing on the types of ships he loved, discovering new ones and matching them with winsome destinations.

During an old-fashioned slide lecture, Ted shared several of his favorite ships and cruises, none of them exactly mainstream, why he chose them, and what he experienced. We joined Ted aboard Turkish Maritime Lines'™ handsome AKDENDIZ along Turkey'™s coast during one of Europe'™s hottest summers; HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS, a 49-passenger, one-of-a-kind ship cruising the Scottish Isles, and Queen Elizabeth II's twice-chartered yacht; the venerable 1927-built DELTA QUEEN on a four-rivers cruise in 1985; and Swan Hellenic'™s chartered ORPHEUS from Greece to Turkey, two ports in Syria (with overnights ashore), Port Said, through Suez to Safaga, Sharm-el-Sheikh, and finally Aqaba, Jordan, including an unanticipated boarding by Multi-National Forces shortly after the First Gulf War.

Since becoming a travel journalist in 1980, Ted has generated well over one thousand newspaper, magazine, and website features, guide books on cruising and New York, and specialized topics such as personal travel on ocean liners. In October 2015, he co-founded and launched, an information guide to small-ship cruising.

Friday, February 26, 2016 – 6:00 PM
presented by Bill Miller
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

In September 2015, Bill Miller entertained PONY Branch members with a program on Cunard Line's 175-year history and the gala celebrations at Liverpool in May 2015 to commemorate that history – "The Day of the Three Queens" – as the entire modern fleet of the line gathered for a three-day celebration in Cunard's spiritual home. Bill was aboard the QUEEN ELIZABETH for that grand event, and six weeks later he joined the flagship QUEEN MARY 2 for her historic re-enactment of Cunard's very first crossing – the voyage of BRITANNIA from Liverpool to New York in July 1840. Departing Liverpool on July 4th, 2015 – 175 years to the day after BRITANNIA departed the same port – QM2 proceeded to make calls at Halifax and Boston, the same cities BRITANNIA had visited on that voyage. There were grand celebrations in both cities, and a finale in New York, where Cunard has made its American home for most of their history. Festivities, flag waving, fireworks...all concluding with a colorful laser and light show in New York's Upper Bay...Bill took us along every part of this momentous crossing and shared the magic and excitement that only Cunard can do!

Bill, a former PONY Branch chairman, is well known as "Mr. Ocean Liner," and his maritime history lectures aboard ships have shared the story of passenger shipping with tens of thousands. Bill is the author of nearly 100 books about passenger ships.

Friday, January 29, 2016 – 6:00 PM
presented by Allan Jordan
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

We started 2016 by welcoming back noted writer and historian Allan Jordan for an illustrated program recalling the events of the mid-1960s that led up to the founding of one of the most successful companies in the modern cruise business – Princess Cruises. While the birth of the modern cruise industry is closely associated with Miami, Los Angeles-based Princess Cruises is actually the first of the “new” cruise lines to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Far from the tropics, the tale begins in Seattle, Washington with the 1962 World’s Fair, the LIBERTE, the DOMINION MONARCH, and the aging coastal steamer turned cruise ship, YARMOUTH. We heard how three years later with another coastal steamer, a visionary entrepreneur believed he could build a cruise business to Mexico despite the failure of several previous attempts. We also heard how Princess Cruises got its name and now famous logo; about the line’s early ships, the PRINCESS PATRICIA, “PRINCESS” ITALIA and “PRINCESS” CARLA; and about the day they almost sent away the producers of “The Love Boat” because it was too much trouble. Despite many early setbacks and challenges, it all came together to create one of the most pioneering and revolutionary firms in the cruise industry.

Allan Jordan has been a guest lecturer aboard cruise ships, has authored numerous articles on the history and future of the cruise industry, and is a frequent contributor to Cruise Travel magazine and Cruise Business Review. He is also the author of the 40th anniversary history of NCL, and of Saluting the Aloha Spirit, which recalls the history of American Hawaii Cruises and the sister ships INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION.

Saturday, December 5, 2015 – 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Winebar, 65 Second Avenue, Manhattan

On Saturday December 5, 2015, a sell-out crowd of 50 members and guests enjoyed food, drinks and the camaraderie of fellow ship enthusiasts at the annual PONY Branch Holiday Party, this year celebrated at The Winebar in Manhattan's East Village. Entertainment included three vintage videos -- a voyage from Southampton to Cape Town aboard the RMS TRANSVAAL CASTLE of the Union-Castle Line; "The World at Three," a voyage around the world on the P&O-Orient Lines fleet; and a round trip voyage from Southampton to New York on the incomparable S.S. FRANCE.

Friday, November 20, 2015 – 6:00 PM
presented by Tom Rinaldi
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

On Friday, November 20, 2015, WSS-PONY Branch member Tom Rinaldi presented photographs and impressions from his journey along the "Route of the Rocket." The Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta of Bangladesh is home to what may be the last traditional sidewheel riverboats still in regular commercial service anywhere on Earth. Here where waterborne transport is still a necessary fact of life, a fleet of four ancient Scottish-built paddlewheelers continues to function as a vital part of the region's transportation infrastructure. Known as the "Rocket boats," some of these vessels have been in service for nearly 90 years. Though converted from steam to diesel propulsion in the 1990s, these relics of the British Raj have changed little over the years, leaving them to provide an incredible window into a time when such riverboats were common all over the world.

Saturday, October 24, 2015 – 12:00 Noon to 3:00 PM

One hundred PONY Branch members and guests celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the World Ship Society - Port of New York Branch at Pier A Harbor House located at The Battery in Lower Manhattan. Now a dining and event venue, Pier A was originally built in 1886 as the headquarters for the Department of Docks and the Police Department's Harbor Patrol. Festivities included a three-course luncheon followed by presentations on how New York's waterfront has changed since 1965 by former PONY Branch Chairman Ted Scull, and on the history of the PONY Branch by "Mr. Ocean Liner" Bill Miller. As a founding member of the PONY Branch, Bill was also given the honor of blowing out the candles on the 50th Anniversary cake.

Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
417 East 61st Street, New York City (between First and York Avenues)

Approximately 50 attendees braved threatening skies to attend this year's Ocean Liner Bazaar which featured 16 enthusiastic collectors and dealers of ocean liner memorabilia who exhibited ship models, paintings, prints, posters, brochures, deck plans, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and other items both popular and rare from passenger shipping lines past and present.

October 10-17, 2015

Seventeen PONY Branch members and friends sailed from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal aboard Princess Cruises’ newest and largest ship, REGAL PRINCESS, on a cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Friday, September 25, 2015 – 6:00 PM
presented by Bill Miller
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Cunard is perhaps the most famous name in passenger shipping. It conjures up images and recollections of the great luxury liners, lavish shipboard interiors, celebrities onboard, and even soldiers during wartime. Cunard has owned some of the greatest and grandest liners of all time -- the Mauretania, Lusitania, Aquitania, the six Queens of course, and many more. And no company has more distinctions and notations – from the very first world cruise to the first ship's newspaper. "Getting There Is Half the Fun" superbly symbolized Cunard's hugely popular trans-Atlantic service.

This year, Cunard celebrated its 175th anniversary. The events, festivities and celebrations included the three current Queens meeting in Liverpool, Cunard's spiritual home, in May. Bill Miller – longtime Branch member, author of over 90 books and well known as Mr. Ocean Liner – was there for all of the festivities. He entertained PONY Branch members and guests with a lively presentation on the colorful history of Cunard, and shared spectacular photos of the 175th Anniversary celebrations at Liverpool.

Sunday, July 26, 2015
PONY Branch Luncheon on the SEA PRINCESS
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

Friday, June 26, 2015 – 6:00 PM
presented by Doug Newman
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Often ignored by or unknown to Western ship enthusiasts, the Soviet Union once possessed one of the largest and most varied fleets of passenger ships ever assembled. At its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, the Soviet passenger fleet included everything from pre-World War II German ocean liners, damaged in the war and salvaged, to cruise ships and passenger-car ferries as modern as any in the world. Their purposes were just as varied, but all were literal ships of state, each in its own way serving the Soviet state and only it, even after Western governments had abandoned their support for passenger shipping. Each proudly wore on its funnel a version of the Soviet flag, a golden hammer and sickle on a red band; and those that left home waters carried this symbol into ports around the world, including New York. They were truly the last ships of state.

PONY Branch board member Doug Newman presented the story of the passenger ships of the Soviet Union in all their diversity, covering both those familiar in the West and those that never ventured beyond the Iron Curtain, along with the variety of international and domestic routes they plied and the ways in which they served the Soviet state. He illustrated his talk with both original, unpublished photos and selections from the publicity materials produced about the ships over the decades. Doug concluded with a brief overview of the fates of the ships and the Soviet shipping companies after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Friday, May 29, 2015 – 6:00 PM
presented by Paul Klee
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Boat deck of the S.S. France

Photo by Paul Klee

Paul Klee has had a lifelong passion for ships since he first sailed on the French Line’s LIBERTE as a young boy. Whether on classic Atlantic liners or utilitarian sea ferries, Swiss lake paddle steamers or a Polish container vessel carrying his own car, Paul’s fascination with ships as transportation, rather than as cruise vessels, has never diminished.

For more than 50 years Paul has chronicled his passion in slides and digital photos, many of which he shared with PONY Branch members and guests during a wide-ranging and entertaining program that took a nostalgic look back at maritime travel with a purpose.

Friday, April 24, 2015 – 6:00 PM
A Look at the Ship and Her People One Hundred Years Later
presented by Jim Kalafus
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Bob Allen collection

2015 marks the centennial of one of history's most infamous and controversial maritime disasters, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by the German U-boat U-20 on May 7, 1915. The Lusitania disaster has been a goldmine for historians. Adult survivors composed a large number of long letters home between May 8 and May 9, 1915. What they said then and what they said later were often polar opposites.

Historian and researcher Jim Kalafus, a recognized expert on the Lusitania and other ship disasters, had the pleasure of meeting or speaking with some of the last remaining survivors. Their friendship and support motivated Jim and his colleagues to reach out to families of the survivors and document their stories. Jim presented a fascinating program examining some of the key components of the Lusitania legend as told by survivors in their earliest, least embellished accounts.

Friday, March 27, 2015 – 6:00 PM
The Birth of the Modern Cruise Industry and the Ships That Led the Way
presented by Allan E. Jordan
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Photo by Tim Dacey

In December 1964, an Israeli ferry named Bilu arrived in the Port of Miami, then served largely by elderly coastal steamers pressed into service as low-budget cruise ships. The 6,445-gross-ton, 525-passenger Bilu was unassuming little ship, but her arrival in Miami marked the beginning of a revolution. Soon Miami-based entrepreneurs, including Knut Kloster and Ted Arison, were building a new generation of purpose-built cruise ships; and Miami was on its way to becoming the center of a multi-billion-dollar, worldwide vacation industry.

Historian Allan E. Jordan traced the history of cruising in Miami from the port’s earliest cruises to the events of the mid-1960s that led to the birth of the modern cruise industry. He explored how obscure ships including Bilu, Nili and Princesa Leopoldina led the way for better-known ones such as Sunward, Starward, Boheme, Song of Norway, Mardi Gras and Emerald Seas.

Allan is the author of numerous articles on the past and future of cruising for publications including Cruise Travel magazine, and of two books: Saluting the Aloha Spirit, which recalls the history of American Hawaii Cruises and the sister ships Independence and Constitution, and a 40th-anniversary history of Norwegian Cruise Line. He has also appeared as a guest lecturer on cruise lines such as Royal Viking, Crystal, Oceania and Princess.

Sunday March 1, 2015
(Co-sponsored by the Propeller Club of NY & NJ)
Manhattan Cruise Terminal

Friday February 27, 2015 - 6:00 PM
Presented by John Maxtone-Graham
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

There is no ocean liner that defines American excellence more than S.S. United States. At the peak of the Cold War, she was a weapon wrapped in crisp white linen; one of the finest liners on the North Atlantic, and a speed demon designed to outrun Soviet torpedoes as a troopship. She didn't just steal the speed record from Queen Mary on her maiden voyage in July 1952; she shattered it. Never again would a passenger ship surpass her Blue Riband achievement on a revenue voyage.

The pride of the American Merchant Marine has had a rough life since her blazing speed was surpassed by the blistering speed of the Boeing 707, however. Retired suddenly in 1969 due to severe revenue losses, she has since gone from layup to layup; stripped of her fixtures and fittings in Newport News, stripped of her bulkheads in Ukraine, and stripped of her dignity rusting away at the pierside in Philadelphia. Yet just when it seems that it’s over for the “Big U,” she always seems to find a new salvation -- a salvation that the S.S. United States Conservancy is now hard at work to make permanent in a mixed-use static role.

John Maxtone-Graham, author of the “Ocean Liner Bible” The Only Way to Cross, among other definitive works, spoke to 110 members and guests of the World Ship Society -- Port of New York Branch about his latest work, a magnum opus tribute to the “Big U” in the style of his previous books Normandie and France/Norway. A lavish volume as packed with detailed information as it is luscious images, SS United States is the fruit of several years of intense research by Maxtone-Graham. Copies of the book were available for purchase at the meeting, and there was a book signing after the program.

Friday January 30, 2015 - 6:00 PM
Presented by Greg Fitzgerald
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Photos by Ted Scull

Fifty years ago, the World Ship Society - Port of New York Branch was formed onboard Norwegian America Line's Sagafjord. To commemorate the inception of the Branch, new Program Chair Greg Fitzgerald presented a retrospective on the state of passenger shipping in 1965.

A year on the cusp of major change in the passenger shipping industry, 1965 heralded a transition to a reduced calendar of year-round trans-Atlantic services and the beginnings of a mix of winter pleasure cruises and summer crossings. Summers would still be full of packed ships on the North Atlantic, with legendary liners such as the original Cunard Queens and the mighty S.S. United States plying the seas. These ships were nearing the end of their economic viability, however, and were pressed into warm-weather cruise service in the winter as low demand for rough-weather Atlantic crossings made that service unsustainable.

Meanwhile, newer North Atlantic tonnage, such as Rotterdam and France, thrived, and some of the last dedicated liners, such as the Italian beauties Michelangelo and Raffaello began their relatively short lives. The Soviet Union would launch the Aleksandr Pushkin, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2015 as a rare survivor of the time. At the same time, the keel for what would be the last ocean liner of the golden age, Queen Elizabeth 2, was laid down in July 1965.

It was also a time of tragedy. The disastrous burning and sinking of the Yarmouth Castle would change ship design in years to come and usher fire-safety mandates that sent many classic ships to the scrapyard.

Greg’s program included a nostalgic look back at the state of the shipping industry when the PONY branch was established in 1965, along with a look at what later became of many of the notable ships of that year.

Saturday December 13, 2014
12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Piccolo Fiore Restaurant
230 East 44th Street, Manhattan

Sixty-one members and guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course Italian lunch and a color film presentation on the magnificent French liner NORMANDIE at the annual PONY Branch Holiday Party at Piccolo Fiore restaurant in East Midtown, Manhattan. Entitled Deco: Age of Glamour, the 57-minute film was produced in 1999 by the BBC for the Victoria and Albert Museum, and features the only color footage of the remarkable ship. The footage was filmed as a test during a westbound crossing in August, 1939 that would be her final sailing before being laid up in New York prior to the outbreak of World War II. The film presentation was introduced by PONY Branch member and noted maritime author Bill Miller.

Friday November 21, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan
Chosen by PONY Branch Members

Five PONY Branch members shared with us their favorite ships drawn from whatever criteria they wished to pursue. Presenters included Doug Newman (who also acted as emcee), Tom Rinaldi, Bob Allen, Stuart Gewitzman, and Paul Immerman.

One contributor said that in selecting his favorite ships of those he’d sailed on, he found that they shared some similar characteristics, looking and feeling like ships, having promenades and ample deck spaces so one is never far removed from the ocean. Another approached with ten favorites, one per decade of the 20th Century and a runner up. They were significant due to their design and/or impact on ocean liner and cruise ship history. A third’s favorite ships ranged from classic liners to modern cruise ships, and ships that were somewhere in between. He'd chosen them for reasons ranging from decor to on-board atmosphere. A fourth was characteristically vague as he said the choices would be a little bit here, a little bit there, ships I've seen and ships I wished I'd seen. The show ended with a sing-along of “Ocean Liner Song” based on Cole Porter’s “You are the Top” but with original lyrics by Ellen Meshnick Immerman.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 2PM to 5PM

PONY Branch Chairman Ted Scull and Bob Foster, Director of the Hoboken Historical Museum, led a guided tour of the museum's new exhibit: Hoboken, Ellis Island and the Immigrant Experience, 1892-1924. En route to the museum, participants toured the restored 1907 DL&W ferry and railroad terminal, and walked along Hoboken's redeveloped waterfront and through the campus of Stevens Institute.

Royal Princess Luncheon: Saturday Oct 25, 2014 - 10:30 AM
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Friday October 24, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

She was "floating Ginger Rogers" ... pure Art Deco on the high seas ... top heavy with glamour and said to be the finest Atlantic liner ever ... she was triumph, innovation, notation, but also the victim of a far too short life at sea.

Commissioned in 1935 as the biggest, longest, fastest and certainly best fed liner on all the high seas, the extraordinary Normandie sailed only for a little more than four years. Laid-up at New York's Pier 88 in August 1939, the 83,000-tonner would never sail again. Intended to be one of the three largest Allied troopships serving in the Second World War, her conversion from luxury to military service spelled her end. She burned on February 9, 1942, then capsized, only to be salvaged, righted and sent off to the scrappers in 1946. The pride of the French Line was only eleven years old at the time.

Bill Miller has recently authored yet another book: Classic Liners: SS Normandie.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium
417 East 61st Street, New York City (between First and York Avenues)

A friendly gathering of enthusiastic collectors and dealers of ocean liner memorabilia exhibited ship models, paintings, prints, posters, brochures, deck plans, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and other items both popular and rare from passenger shipping lines past and present. The celebratory occasion provided a chance for the more than 60 attendees to meet other ship enthusiasts with similar interests.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan
RMS TITANIC: A Lesser Known Episode
RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH: 2 A First-Hand Accident Account By Richard Wagner


Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth-century French historian, observed that everything in America eventually becomes a court case, and the TITANIC was no exception. Indeed, the TITANIC case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court where the decision was rendered by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a judge many consider to have been America's finest legal mind and a man who also happened to have sailed on numerous Cunard liners in his spare time. Our speaker, Richard Wagner, presented the details of the suit, including the reason why the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, Justice Holmes' unexpected resolution of the legal issues, and the eventual outcome.

In the second part of his presentation, Richard Wagner provided an illustrated first-hand account of abandoning ship after the August 1992 collision between Cunard’s QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 and two underwater rock pillars off Martha's Vineyard that resulted in a 74-foot-long gash in the ship’s hull. The passengers had to abandon ship and eleven voyages were canceled. Like the TITANIC disaster, this collision was the result of a pyramid of events involving such unrelated things as scheduling decisions in Bermuda, late returning shore excursions and flawed navigational charts.

Richard Wagner practiced law for 20 years. During that time, he wrote a series of articles for the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society on the life of Justice Holmes. Richard also sailed no less than 71 times on QE2 and has written extensively about that ship.
He studied journalism as an undergraduate at Cornell University (BS); studied law at Cambridge University; has a law degree from Pace University (JD) and an MBA from Iona College. He worked as a Senior Litigation Counsel for Verizon and served on the board of directors of the Navy League and was the editor of the Navy League Log.

He is currently editor of Beyondships, a website about cruise ships, ports and destinations as well as military ships and particularly the US Navy. In 2013, the site had over four million page views.

Friday, June 27, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan
organized by Greg Fitzgerald

January 8, 2004. HM Queen Elizabeth II smashes a jeroboam of Veuve Cliquot against the hull of the first express ocean liner built since 1969. The story of QUEEN MARY 2 begins.

Ten years ago, the QM2 was considered a ship of superlatives in every way. She beat every other liner and cruise ship in every dimension; length (1,132 feet, beating FRANCE by 97 feet), tonnage (148,528 GRT, 8,958 GRT more than the Voyager-class ships of Royal Caribbean), and cost ($780 million in 2003, which equals $983 million today). She was considered the new standard of seagoing luxury, and a major ad campaign leading up to her launch called "Can you wait?" showed office workers in evening gowns and mothers serving breakfast in cocktail dresses. The world was captivated by QM2 in a way that no ship had in decades.

Today, her size has been surpassed by several ships, but since the retirement of QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, she remains the only express ocean liner in service. She is still a magnificent ship, turning heads in every port and maintaining her status as the "Queen of the Seas." But...have we become jaded by her magnificence after ten years as a staple of the Port of New York? Has familiarity made us forget just how incredible an achievement she was a decade ago?

We went back in time to 2003-2004, and revisited the emotion that surrounded QM2's launch and first months. PONY members Ben Lyons, Susan Banker, Greg Fitzgerald, Tom Rinaldi and others recalled their participation in welcoming the brand-new ship. From a visit to the shipyard at Saint Nazaire, to her maiden voyage to Fort Lauderdale, to her maiden arrival in her second home of New York, we took ourselves back in time to that magical moment in maritime history -- the launch of the next "last great liner."

Friday, May 30, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan
We Want You As A Passenger!
Steamship Lines Promote Their Ships and Services - Ted Scull


From the earliest days of ocean travel, steamship lines used all manner of promotions to fill their ships. In this PowerPoint presentation, Ted Scull, Chairman of the PONY Branch, looked back at some of the ways they were able to catch our eye using posters, paintings, print ads, illustrated brochures (often with detailed deck plans), post cards and ship models. Some of the art work was created by the best artists of the day, while some was done in-house to minimize expenses. Many of the outstanding posters and paintings represented popular styles of the period, and they often included a great deal of interesting information above and below the images, such as where the ships sail, tonnage figures (to impress) and booking office addresses.

Ted Scull has collected posters for the last 40 years and nearly a score grace the walls of the apartment that he shares with his understanding wife Suellyn. Ship models are also on display in the living room and foyers, and his collection also includes many hundreds of brochures and post cards. Drawing on this extensive personal collection and many other images gathered over the years, Ted presented a fond look at steamship promotional materials from the truly noteworthy to the mundane (at least in the eye of the speaker -- others may disagree with the evaluations). Besides the well-known transatlantic steamship lines, the program included materials from Grace Line, Matson, Moore-McCormack, Orient Line, P&O, British India, Union-Castle, Messageries Maritimes, and others.

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

ValarieQueen Mary

Valarie D’Elia was born into a family travel business dating back to 1902, when her great-grandfather booked his friends and relatives from Italy to Ellis Island in steerage class on transatlantic ocean liners as part of the immigration wave. Four generations later, Valarie took her first cruise on Holland America’s 1938-built Nieuw Amsterdam when she could barely see over the banisters of the gangplank, and also sailed on the original Queen Mary to Nassau with her travel agency parents.

Valarie has parlayed her family background and its century's worth of perspective into a career as a travel journalist. She began her broadcast career as a radio news anchor in Miami while a junior at the University of Miami, and then went on to anchor and report for several radio stations in the New York Metropolitan area before earning her master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. For nine years beginning in January 1997, she was the host of The Travel Show on WOR Radio, providing travel expertise on a nationally syndicated show airing in 100 markets. She is an occasional guest on NBC's Today Show and MSNBC among others, and contributes to Moment of Nature videos on CBS Sunday Morning. As the consumer travel reporter for NY1 News for the past 17 years, Valarie covers the cruise industry, frequently reporting on new ship launches, ports of call and cruise deals, as well as safety & health issues.

To-date, Valarie D'Elia has taken over one hundred cruises and is the caretaker of a treasure trove of steamship memorabilia and other souvenirs relating to her family’s travel business, many of which she shared with PONY Branch members during an entertaining and enlightening PowerPoint presentation. Valarie concluded her program by presenting several video clips from her "Travel With Val" segment, which she produces, shoots, hosts and edits for broadcast on NY1 News. Broadcast times and a great deal of consumer information for travelers can be found on her website:

The evening was capped-off by a delicious Italian-themed refreshment buffet, orchestrated by Carol Miles.

Friday, March 21, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

South PacificVistafjord

As the 100th Anniversary of the Norwegian America Line approached in early 2013, it was announced that the last survivor of the line -- SAGA RUBY, ex-VISTAFJORD -- was due to be retired during the first week of 2014. It was an odd coincidence that SAGA RUBY'€™s final season would be during the NAL centenary year. PONY-Branch Porthole Editor Bob Allen took us on a nostalgic voyage through the history of the Norwegian America Line passenger fleet. Despite its fame and superb reputation, the entire passenger fleet consisted of just eight vessels, two of which sailed for less than five years, because of fire and World War II.

In a series of images we explored BERGENSFJORDS and OSLOFJORDS that were built for different generations of travelers, yet shared the high standards for passenger comfort and reliability for which Norwegian America Line was renowned. We saw how the centenary was remembered in Norway at a fine exhibition in Bergen. Our speaker then focused on the final two ships of the fleet -- SAGAFJORD and VISTAFJORD -- which enjoyed long careers for Norwegian America Line, Cunard Line and Saga Cruises. During the Question and Answer period, a proud former steward from the Stavangerfjord (which was retired in 1963 after 45 years of service), shared a few memories.

An elaborate refreshment buffet, orchestrated by Carol Miles, pepped up the social hour with Norwegian herring, salmon and goat cheese as the main features.

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

John henryCanada Steamship

There was nothing like it, according to our speaker John Henry.

A New York City journalist and author of Great White Fleet: Celebrating Canada Steamship Lines Passenger Ships (Dundurn, 2013), he traced the rich history of these steamers in a PowerPoint presentation.

For decades, Canada Steamship Lines of Montreal fielded a fleet of passenger ships that dwarfed any other on North America’s inland waters. Known collectively as the Great White Fleet, these steamers could be found in ports of call all the way from Duluth, Minn., at the western end of Lake Superior, to the lower St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City — a distance spanning the better part of 2,000 miles. At the company’s inception, in 1913, no fewer than 51 vessels were classified as purely passenger or combination passenger/freight ships — a staggering total.

These ships operated on five routes: from Detroit to Duluth; from lower Niagara River ports across Lake Ontario to Toronto; from Toronto across Lake Ontario to Rochester, N.Y., and through the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence as far as Prescott, Ont.; from Prescott down the St. Lawrence rapids to Montreal; and, still farther down the St. Lawrence, from Montreal to Quebec City and the stunning Saguenay River. A stately trio of twin-funneled cruise vessels included the Richelieu, Tadoussac and St. Lawrence serving on the last-named route with stops at CSL-owned hotels.

In many ways, CSL was an inland waters version of the mighty Canadian Pacific. The last of the company’s splendid passenger ships were withdrawn in 1965, and the company continues as a freight operator.

The speaker’s well-researched and abundantly-illustrated hard cover book was available for purchase following the program.

Friday, January 31, 2013 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan
By Karl R. Zimmermann

Last September, Karl and Laurel Zimmermann cruised the southern coasts of England and Wales aboard a little-known ship, one a tiny fraction of Queen Mary 2’s size but even more properly British—the THV Patricia. “THV” stands for Trinity House Vessel. Built in 1982, the Patricia is a small, hardworking ship, just 282 feet long, that tends buoys and lighthouses and responds to emergencies. In what might seem an anomaly, this otherwise no-nonsense ship carries on its upper decks six handsomely furnished and spacious passenger cabins, plus a bright, window-girt dining room and similar lounge above it.

Trinity House, which has been around for five hundred years, has three functions. It’s a maritime charity, it provides pilots to guide ships into harbor, and it serves as a General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, and the Channel Islands, the role that involves the Patricia. So what were the Zimmermanns doing aboard? In 2003 Patricia Voyages was created, allowing the public to book rooms originally intended for the Trinity House “Visiting Committee” of supervisors. Passengers get to watch whatever work is at hand, with no guarantee what or where it will.

In addition to recounting the pleasures and particulars of their week-long voyage, Karl Zimmermann sketched in the long history and evolving role of Trinity House in these times of fast-moving technological change and took a look at some of the corporation’s earlier tenders.

Friday, December 6, 2013 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan


SS-United-StatesAn around the world cruise may just be the ultimate wish for many ship enthusiasts but few of us have ever had the time, let alone the money, to undertake such an ambitious sea venture. So we have pooled our considerable resources by tying together individual segments undertaken over the decades by a half dozen members who have volunteered to create one, using slides, digital images and live narration.

Naturally, we set off from New York with Marge Dovman taking us aboard one of her favorite freighter trips along the East Coast and through the Panama Canal to the Pacific. Paul Klee took over sharing his trans-Pacific voyage aboard the Queen Mary 2 via Hawaii to the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. Transferring to a Holland America Line ship, Alan Borthwick sailed from Sydney through the Roaring Forties along the south coast of Australia and northward to Singapore.

Ted Scull then filled in the long segment between here and the Mediterranean by stringing together five separate voyages, four taken many decades ago and one present day. We first sailed in the elderly Shipping Corporation’s State of Madras via Malaysian ports and across the Bay of Bengal to Madras where he continued across the Indian Subcontinent aboard Indian Railways’ Bombay Mail to Bombay. There he picked up the equally elderly British India liner Dwarka for a passage via Karachi into the Persian Gulf as far as Dubai, transferring to the contemporary and rather luxurious Silver Whisper via Oman, the Red Sea, Suez and into the Mediterranean.

Doug Newman took over using the classic cruise liner Marco Polo to sail from Piraeus (Port of Athens) westward via Italian ports to Barcelona where Ted completed the short link via train to Bilbao and Swedish Lloyd’s Patricia to Southampton. The grand finale came with Fred Rodriguez’s superfast crossing, while encountering Hurricane Camille, to New York aboard the S.S. United States

To top off the evening, our annual holiday buffet followed, with food arranged by Stuart Gewirtzman and catered by Fairway.

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Sailing to the Sun: Cruising History & Folklore - By William H. Miller

Cruising is different than crossing. The ports are really forms of entertainment rather than destinations, and the sense of purpose for the voyage is different, with more recreation for cruising. Bill Miller told us that the cruise industry, especially here in the USA and in places like Germany, the UK & Australia, is booming and the future is not just bright but very bright. More people are traveling on ships than ever before. But where did it all begin? Over 150 years ago, P&O is credited with offering the first cruise, a voyage offered for those of "scientific persuasion," and so it began, slowly at first. We'll hear of the very first World Cruises in the 1920s, big liners like the Mauretania and Aquitania going off on long winter cruises and the creation of the small, luxury cruise ship Stella Polaris. The Depression of the 1930s brought cruising to the masses, even $10 a night "booze cruises" were forms of escapism from tough financial times at home. Growth and expansion continued: the Wilhelm Gustloff and Nazi "Strength Through Joy" cruising, the high luxuries of the Caronia and the growth of mass market cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Lines & Royal Caribbean in the late 1960s. Today, expansion and growth are beyond even the wildest expectation with the likes of the biggest liner of all time, the 6,400-passenger, 225,000-ton Allure of the Seas, sailing tropic waters. Yes, cruising is the best vacation on earth!  And 15 million Americans take cruises every year.

A PowerPoint Talk by Anthony Cook

Friday, October 25, 2013 - 6:00 PM

Cunard Muretania
Cunard Line’s Britannia of 1840Mauretania (1939) Photo by Arthur J. Ferguson


The PONY Branch once again welcomed London resident Anthony Cooke who presented how drastically, and in some cases not, ocean travel and life on board ship has changed over the years. He began with Charles Dickens' uncomfortable Atlantic crossing on Cunard'stiny Britannia in 1842, and, among much else, included a description of a voyage on the White Star Line's Majestic made by a very grumpy passenger in 1891. He then brought us right up-to-date with the modern ships and their balcony cabins, skating rinks and show biz entertainment. Refreshments, reflecting the tastes of both sides of the Atlantic, included crust-less cucumber and thin-sliced ham sandwiches, pigs in blankets, crisps and shortbread biscuits.


Friday, September 27, 2013 - 6:00 PM

MS LofotenBranch Secretary Greg Fitzgerald took us along on his six-day journey, which he conducted in April 2013, and shared what makes LOFOTEN so special to her enamored fans. He shared photos of the ship in the stunning Norwegian scenery, as well as describing the special atmosphere onboard and the stops along the historic coastal express route.

Hurtigruten's LOFOTEN of 1964 is the final link to the past fleet of traditional coastal steamers plying the Norwegian coast. Running in regular service on an 11-day round-trip run from Bergen, across the Arctic Circle to Kirkenes in the far north of Norway, the little LOFOTEN shares this route with her larger and more modern fleetmates.

However, a voyage on LOFOTEN gives far beyond the experience of the modern Hurtigruten ships. It is a voyage to another time, on a ship which boasts many of the same features that ship lovers lament the loss of in recent years as the last classic ocean liners have gone to the breakers. As LOFOTEN never leaves Norwegian waters in passenger service, she is not subject to the same SOLAS restrictions that international ships are; thus, she is filled with rich woods, gorgeous traditional artwork, and a cozy atmosphere.

Following this most enjoyable talk, members and guests enjoyed some gjetost, a sweet Norwegian goat cheese, smoked salmon and various biscuits and breads.


Friday, June 28, 2013 - Ben Lyons

Steven UjifusaAs traditional harbors in the Caribbean and Mediterranean have become more crowded, more and more ships and super yachts (some as big as small cruise ships) are venturing “off the beaten track.” Destinations once rarely visited are routinely reached- from the ice of the Northwest Passage to the culturally rich nation of Papua New Guinea.

Yet reaching these destinations requires specialist skills and local expertise. Operating safely in often harsh or dangerous climates carries risks, and despite the inherent flexibility of an expedition, the planning begins months, if not years, in advance.

Ben Lyons, former Chief Officer on Queen Mary 2 and Captain of National Geographic Explorer, spoke about his role as CEO of EYOS Expeditions. EYOS plans, organizes and guides expeditions for the most adventurous super yachts in the world. Having just disembarked from The World, Residensea’s luxury apartment ship, on its EYOS-led expedition to the White Sea, he related some of the planning that expeditions require, the challenges of operating in different regions, and shared some anecdotes from his time serving aboard the National Geographic Explorer including a recent cruise up the West African coast.

Friday, May 31, 2013 - 6:00 PM

Community Church Assembly Room , 40 East 35th Street (between Park and Madison), Manhattan


Steven UjifusaP&O-Orient Lines’ S.S. Canberra came out of Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard in the spring of 1961. At 45,733grt, she immediately took the title of the largest liner ever built for any service other than the North Atlantic, besting the previous record held by her running mate S.S. Oriana, completed at the end of 1960. However, Oriana was always the faster vessel, a fact that will be explained by our speaker, Ted Scull.

Between 1979 and 1986, Ted spent more than a half-year aboard Canberra as a lecturer, mostly on segments of the UK-Australia run via Suez or Panama. We will hear about shipboard life from the British liner’s navigating bridge down to the Pig & Whistle. Many of her crew and staff spent most of their working lives aboard her.

Even with the liner trade fading fast, Canberra was nearly always full, though in her later years, she spent most of her time cruising from Southampton. Her passenger lists and atmosphere varied like night and day between UK cruises and overseas liners voyages, and her popularity was given a huge boost as a result of her crucial role in the nasty 1982 Falklands Conflict.

Accompanied by some British pub snacks, come join us for a celebration of one of the greatest liners ever, and in fact, so well built that the Pakistani ship breakers at Gadani Beach lost money on the dismantling contract.

Friday, April 26 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room , 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States

Steven UjifusaSteven UjifusaSteven Ujifusa gave a book talk on A Man and His Ship, published by Simon & Schuster. It was recently named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best nonfiction books of the year (2012).

It’s the sweeping story of William Francis Gibbs’ quest to build the fastest, finest ocean liner in history—set against the politics, culture, and enterprise of twentieth century America. Taking readers back to a golden age, when America’s industrial might, innovative ambition, and maritime dynamism were unmatched, Steven Ujifusa’s groundbreaking debut sheds light on a forgotten genius and the sleek vision to which he gave birth. Forced to drop out of Harvard following his family’s sudden financial ruin, Gibbs overcame debilitating shyness and lack of formal training to become the visionary creator of some of the finest ships in history.

Steven Ujifusa is an historian and a resident of Philadelphia and has written numerous articles on architecture and urban history. When he is not writing, he enjoys singing, photography, rowing on the Schuylkill River, and travel. A native of Chappaqua, New York, Steven received his undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and a joint masters in historic preservation and real estate development from the University of Pennsylvania. He has appeared on National Public Radio and CBS Sunday Morning, and has given presentations at the National Museum of the US Navy, the Harvard Club of New York, Independence Seaport Museum, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Maryland Historical Society.

Following the talk, Steven signed copies of his book ($30).

Friday, March 22 - 6:00 PM
Community Church Assembly Room , 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan



Our Porthole Editor and longtime member Bob Allen presented a program about his recent voyage on the MARCO POLO, formerly ALEXANDR PUSHKIN. Operated by the British line Cruise & Maritime Voyages, the ship is the only liner in service built for transatlantic crossings (other than QUEEN MARY 2), and one of the oldest passenger ships afloat. During a career spanning 48 years, she has been a Russian transatlantic liner, an Australian-based cruise ship, a deluxe destination-intensive vessel specializing in Far Eastern and Antarctic itineraries, and a German-market cruise ship. We saw images of this classic liner, as well as fascinating ports of call on a “Great Waterways of Europe” cruise along the Thames, Seine and Scheldt Rivers, and the North Sea Canal.


MARCO POLO at Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October, 2012 (Bob Allen)

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 6:00 P.M.
Community Church Assembly Room , 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan


Our Vice-Chairman, David Hume related his experiences of two very different river cruises. For the first, we boarded the 2006-built, 268-passenger Victoria Anna of Victoria Cruises for a cruise down China’s Yangtze River from Chongqing to Yichang, stopping at the ghost town of Fengdu and passing through the spectacular Three Gorges, and via a system of locks, skirting the Three Gorges Dam. Victoria Cruises is a Sino-American joint venture with the firm’s headquarters located in Flushing, Queens, one of New York City’s three Chinatowns. Then on Egypt’s legendary Nile, he cruised in the 146-passenger riverboat Emilio of Domina Prestige Cruise Line for a journey from Aswan to Luxor, visiting the ancient temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu and touring the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

Photo Credit: Victoria Anna by David Hume

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 6:00 P.M.
Location: Community Church Assembly Room , 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Our presenter, Tee Adams, has had a camera in his hands since he was four years old and continued his passion for photography through school and college. Starting in 2007, he began taking a video camera along, eventually graduating to a pro HD camera and now owns three. His day job focuses on school and college marketing, shooting for folders, and video productions for institutions across the country.

His interest in ships surfaced when the family took him out of school (4th grade) to sail aboard the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2’s third eastbound on June 5, 1969. During the bridge tour, Tee was permitted to steer the vessel, with close officer supervision he would like to add. Tonight he will show a video of QUEEN MARY 2 sailing in and out of Manhattan. While shot over the last several years, at different locations, he feels this provides a good view of the transit to the traditional Manhattan piers and the often difficult job it is to get her docked. The inward shots were taken from the ship and the Palisades in Weehawken, New Jersey, and the outward from the ship itself, Stevens Institute in Hoboken and from Staten Island as she passed under the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge.

In the evening's opening segment, we saw Cunard, P&O and other cruise ships taken at Southampton Docks, from the Hythe Ferry, locations along Southampton Water and an upper floor of Jury’s Inn.

Our speaker comes to us from Devon, PA, located along Philadelphia’s Main Line, and he is a member of our branch and a long-time ship shooter along the Hudson

world ship nyworld ship ny


by William H. Miller, Jr
December 7, 2012 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
417 East 61st Street, New York City (between First and York Avenues)

A friendly gathering of enthusiastic collectors and dealers of ocean liner memorabilia will be exhibiting and selling ship models, paintings, prints, posters, brochures, deck plans, china, silverware, ashtrays, pins, medallions and more, both popular and rare collectible items at all price levels from passenger shipping lines past and present.

Some specific examples of items for sale this year are a 1930's vintage Normandie poster by Paul Colin, a sterling silver Lusitania spoon and a trophy vase from the France.

A well-regarded cruise agency will be on hand to answer questions about what ships to consider for a future voyage.

This popular annual event is open to the public and admission is just $5.00 per person, payable at the door. The most serious collectors come early, and the celebratory occasion provides a chance to meet other ship enthusiasts with similar interests.

The Port of New York Branch of the World Ship Society was established in 1965 when a group of ship enthusiasts met aboard the Norwegian liner Sagafjord at a West Side pier. The not-for-profit organization 1) holds monthly meetings in a midtown location with speakers such as authors, past and present ship personnel and passenger liner enthusiasts who generally share PowerPoint presentations and videos on maritime-related topics; 2) arranges ship visits, including on-board lunches, and harbor trips; and 3) publishes a monthly newsletter The Porthole.

Friday, December 9, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan

For our December holiday party, some of our best member photographers showed their pictures of the New York harbor scene. With four presenters scheduled, each had 15 minutes. Paul Klee shared liner photos from the 1960s and 1970s, plus OpSail 1964 and historic harbor scenes. Rob O’Brien showed ocean liners from the golden era to twilight. Rob has his own website and is noted for his night photography. Rich Wagner, who also has his own website, showed Norwegian Epic's maiden arrival in New York and photos of QE2's final departure from New York, including some narration. He included some shots of QM2 arriving in Manhattan this past summer taken from the bridge and possibly add various cruise ships that have called in New York this year. Stuart Gewirtzman featured many of the boats and ships that can be seen every day working in New York Harbor, as well as photos of unusual ship visits and events that have occurred in recent years. Also featured were several photos of maritime wrecks and ruins taken in areas of the harbor, and not often visited by the general public. Before the program, members gathered for the holiday buffet.

Friday, November 18, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY

Unfortunately, our speaker for this program first had a tire rim failure en route from suburban Philadelphia, then was stranded for over an hour in a traffic tie up leading to the Lincoln Tunnel, so he was unable to get into New York for the program. We are rescheduling him for early 2012. As a substitution, we had an impromptu discussion about recent branch ship visits and then talked about some possibilities for a group cruise in 2012.

Speaker Roland Lewis, President and CEO
Friday, October 30, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY

In October, our speaker was Roland Lewis, CEO of the Municipal Waterfront Alliance, who showed a film and spoke about the many changes that have occurred along New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline and what’s to come. MWA is the voice for almost 600 organizations with ties to our regional waterways.

SS USHudson River Park and three apartment buildings
by Richard Meier, architect. Photo and Copyright by Theodore W. Scull

On 23 October, we chartered a boat from Classic Harbor Cruises to photograph five cruise ships sailing from three terminals - Norwegian Gem, Seven Seas Mariner and AIDA Aura from Manhattan, Queen Mary 2 from Brooklyn and Celebrity Summit from Bayonne. All enjoyed a beautiful evening out in the harbor.

East River pier park Classic Harbor's Cruises' 35-passenger Beacon at
Pier 62 following the harbor trip.
Friday, September 30, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY

In September, 100 members and guests attended a program presented by the SS United States Conservancy’s Dan McSweeney. Founded in 2004, and though initially serving as an advocacy group for the legendary ship, we learned that the Conservancy's role has evolved significantly in the interim years. The Conservancy has since become owners and stewards of the vessel through a generous grant from Philadelphia philanthropist Gerry Lenfest in 2010.

The organization's new mandate is to save America's great ship of state and her legacy by developing a world-class museum and educational programs focused on the vessel and by setting the conditions in which a successful public-private partnership can be established to redevelop the ship as a self-sustaining, multi-purpose stationary attraction. Our Port of New York is the primary focus of effort for this project.

SS USSS UNITED STATES at her current berth in Philadelphia May 14, 2011 (Photo & Copyright Theodore W. Scull)

SS US SS UNITED STATES docked in Manhattan August 25, 1966
(Theodore W. Scull Collection)

As the founding Executive Director of the Conservancy, Dan McSweeney has played a major role in the organization's establishment and evolution. We learned that he has been intimately involved in negotiations surrounding title transfer, ongoing discussions with the EPA on remediation issues, planning for the emerging partnership, and management/outreach efforts for the organization. Increasingly, he will focus on business development coordination for the Conservancy as Managing Director of the project.

During a diverse career, McSweeney served as a Marine officer, advisor on communications and counterterrorism efforts domestically and abroad, and education program director. His father immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland and worked aboard the SS United States as a crew member (cabin steward).

We watched a 20-minute film and a narrated PowerPoint presentation and participated in a question and answer session following.

SS USSS UNITED STATES at New York October 1969
(Photo & Copyright Theodore W. Scull)
SS USSS UNITED STATES in the North River (photographer not known)
9-Night Transatlantic Crossing
Rotterdam–Southampton–New York
Optional Stay Onboard Cruise Hotel Rotterdam
July 4th Week - click here for details
Tracking Down Preserved Passenger Ships in Asia - Tom Rinaldi
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY

For the June program WSS/PONY membership secretary Tom Rinaldi discussed his May 2011 visits to five historic passenger vessels preserved in Asia. Around the world, only a small handful of deep-sea merchant vessels have been successfully preserved by way of adaptive reuse. Five can be found today serving in stationary roles in the Philippines, China and Japan. Tom had the opportunity to visit them thanks to a fellowship awarded by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University where he earned a masters degree in 2010. The vessels included the Hikawa Maru, Yotei Maru (former train ferry), Brasil Maru, Ming Hua (former Ancerville), and Augustus. In addition, we heard some amazing tales of how he got between the ships by train and overnight ferries.


The former mv Augustusat Manila, Philippines


mv PHILIPPINES (ex-mv AUGUSTUS, 1952);

Built in 1952 at Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico, Trieste, Italy, for the state-operated Societa Generale di Navigazione Italia (Italian Line), to serve the company’s express route between Genoa, Italy and Buenos Aires, Argentina, by way of ports in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Uruguay. Sold for other use, 1976, and later renamed ms Philippines.

Adapted for stationary use as a hotel and convention center at Manila in 1999. Today one of only two surviving South Atlantic liners that facilitated the postwar diaspora from Europe to South America. Little altered from original construction, with intact interiors by Gustavo Pulitzer Finali and others.


The Brasil Maru as a museum vessel at Zhanjiang, China


Built in 1954 for the Osaka Shosen Kaisha Line’s Transpacific service between Kobe, Japan, and South American ports including Santos, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina, via the Panama Canal. Facilitated transport of passengers and cargo between Japan and South America to serve Brazil’s community of Japanese expatriates, the world's largest. Retired from service in 1974, she subsequently became a museum ship at Toba, Japan. Moved to Zhanjiang, China for continued preservation as a museum ship, 1997.


The ex-mv Ancerville rests in a landlocked berth at Shenzhen, China.

mv MING HUA (ex-mv ANCERVILLE, 1962);
Christened in 1962 by French president Charles de Gaulle at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France. Entered service that year for Compagnie de Navigation Paquet service between Marseilles and Dakar, Senegal, two years after Senegalese independence from France. Purchased by Chinese government for China-East Africa service, 1973, and renamed Ming Hua. Permanently moored at Shenzhen, China in 1986 for stationary use as hotel and event space.


The Yotei Maru is now preserved at the Museum of
Maritime Science at Tokyo.

The Yotei Maru entered service in 1965 as a railway ferry to cross between Aomori, Honshu and Hakodate, Hokkaido. Named after Mt. Yotei on Hokkaido, the vessel carried nearly 12 million passengers during its 23 years of service. The opening of the Seikan (Aomori-Hakodate) tunnel in March 1988 effected the end of its intended route. Following a brief stint as the Japanese government’s floating pavilion during “Ship and Sea Expo” held at Genoa, Italy in 1992, the vessel was preserved as a floating exhibit at the Museum of Maritime Science in Tokyo.


The Hikawa Maru at Yokohama.

Built 1930 at Yokohama for Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line Transpacific service carrying passengers and cargo between Kobe, Japan, and Seattle, Washington, USA. The only large Japanese merchant ship to survive the Second World War. Served as a hospital ship during the War and returned to Transpacific service after the war. Retired in 1960, the ship was permanently moored at Yokohama and adapted for new use as a youth hostel and museum. Closed briefly in recent years, the ship is now operated as a museum by NYK line. One of only three pre- World War II passenger liners still afloat.

Visit to the N.S. SAVANNAH - click here for details
On National Maritime Day in Baltimore, MD
Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Pier 13, Canton Marine Terminal, 4601 Newgate Avenue, Baltimore MD 21224

National Lighthouse Museum - Planned for Staten Island
Presentation by Linda Dianto
Friday, May 20, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY

Our speaker, Linda Dianto, a Staten Island resident for most of her life, has taken on the mission to open the National Lighthouse Museum at the original US Lighthouse Service Depot on Staten Island adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry terminal in St. George. The museum and its beautiful ten-acre site overlooking New York Harbor will become a destination for the world’s lighthouse enthusiasts and preservationists, and an exciting attraction for the millions of visitors who take the Staten Island Ferry. More than a dozen lighthouses are less than an hour’s boat ride from the museum pier. She told us about the planned exhibits and interactive displays for children and adults featuring lighthouses from around the nation, classical Fresnel lenses, lamps and technologies, modern aids to navigation and personal histories of the keepers and their families. Outdoor exhibits will include lightships, buoys and fog signals, and a return and restoration of the original Depot Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Museum

Layout of Site Buildings and Pier 1

Lighthouse Museum

Artists' rendering of complete Museum site


The existing historic 19th and early 20th century structures on the property provide an ideal setting for exhibits, research and programs relating to the history of the United States Lighthouse Service. Even before the buildings open, a series of cultural events, tours and concerts are planned. A renovated pier and waterfront plaza will wind through the site offering beautiful views of the harbor and the historic buildings. Visitors are welcome to visit the site today, enjoy the view and get a sense of the future as home for the National Lighthouse Museum. For more information about the National Lighthouse Museum or  contact  for further questions on how you can help this museum open.

Our speaker holds a Master's in Education from CUNY and a 6th year Certificate in Administration of Recreation Services & Resources and a Certificate in Philanthropy and Fundraising, both from NYU.

Her mission is to open the National Lighthouse Museum as soon as possible. We were happy to help promote this great idea for the Port of New York.

Lighthouse museum

Archive photo in front of Lamp Shop

Columbia project
SS Columbia Project – Maritime Preservation for the Hudson River
Friday, April 29, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY


The SS Columbia may look familiar to New York steamboat enthusiasts, though she spent her entire career on the Detroit River. That's because the Columbia was designed by Frank Kirby, a noted naval architect whose work also included important Hudson River steamboats such as Hendrick Hudson, Washington Irving and Robert Fulton. While all of the great Hudson River day boats have disappeared, the Columbia survives today in a somewhat neglected state in Detroit. Richard Anderson, our speaker, spoke about the history of this very important historic steamboat, a National Historic Landmark and today America's oldest surviving passenger steamer.


We heard of his efforts with the S.S. Columbia Project, a nonprofit group that seeks to restore the vessel to active service on the Hudson River. Built in 1902, the Columbia provided service between Detroit and the amusement park on Bob-Lo Island until her retirement in 1991. Since 2006 she has been owned by the New York-based S.S. Columbia Project.


Richard Anderson, Founding President of the SS Columbia Project, launched the efforts to save the ship in 2006 and has been an advocate for Maritime Preservation since joining South Street Seaport Museum as a volunteer at age 10. Website:


Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, Manhattan, NY
STEAM COFFIN: Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier

Historian and author John Laurence Busch described in some detail why the proposition of making the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on a "steamship" was met with a mixture of skepticism and fear.

Moses RogersIn 1807, Robert Fulton ran his “North River Steam Boat” as a regular passenger service between New York City and Albany, New York.  But proving this might be possible on the oceans of the world was another matter; most observers in the early 19th century didn't think it could be done. One man who did was a steamboat captain named Moses Rogers. Combining his knowledge of the old mode of transport—sail—with the new mode of transport—steam—he set out to design a vessel that was capable of overcoming the many dangers of the sea.  This craft would be not a "steamboat," but a "steamship," the first of its kind.  With this steamship called Savannah, Moses would prove to the world that steam-powered vessels were not just a provincial innovation, but rather the beginning of a global revolution.

Moses Rogers

Steamship Savannah’s particulars are -- Burthen: 319 tons; Length: 98.5 feet; Breadth: 26 feet; Draught: 14 feet; Engine: 1 cylinder, "double-acting" (Watt); Port of Birth: New York. First voyage: From Savannah via New York to Liverpool on May 22, 1819, arriving June 20th.

Our speaker devoted years of research to discovering the story of Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah by scouring archives and libraries from Portland, Maine to Savannah, Georgia, and across the Atlantic, resulting in what he says is the most descriptive account of the saga of Captain Moses Rogers and the steamship Savannah ever written. The book was available for inspection and sale at the meeting.

Three Cunard Queens – Similarities & Differences – by David Hume
Friday, February 25, 2011, 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 E. 35th Street, New York, NY

Tonight, David Hume, our recent branch chairman and a frequent sea traveler, shared his thoughts on the design and arrangement of the public rooms aboard the current three Cunard Queens – Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. He illustrated the similarities between the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth and the distinguishing characteristics which make each ship unique. He showed how the layout of the newer Cunard Queens has diverged from the layout of the Queen Mary 2.

David has sailed aboard all three Queens, including the brand-new Queen Elizabeth in January during the westbound tandem crossing with Queen Victoria; the maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria from Southampton on December 11, 2007, and ten voyages aboard Queen Mary 2, most recently January 4, 2010.

As the Ship Turns: Whatever Happened to Some Well Known LIners by William H. Miller
Friday, January 28, 2011, 6:00 PM
At the Community Church Assembly Room, 40 E. 35th Street, New York, NY

Bill Miller took us on a voyage of sorts, reviewing some noted and selected liners, reminding us of their lives and times. He discussed big super liners such as the United States, France and Queen Mary as well as others: Argentina, Lurline, Leonarda Vinci, Bergensjord, President Roosevelt, Olympia, Franca "C" and Stella Solaris. Some were noteworthy, innovative, important in the overall story of ocean liners; some were newly built, others greatly reconstructed and refitted; and, of course, their final fates were varied --- the inevitable scrapyards, but others lost to fire, sinkings and explosions.

The Three Queens Royal Rendezvous
Pier 78, West 38th Street, NY WATERWAY TERMINAL
Thursday, January 13, 2011, 5:30 – 8:30pm
(click here for more info)

France/Norway: A book talk by John Maxtone-Graham at the South Street Seaport Museum
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our speaker John Maxtone-Graham discussed his new book – FRANCE/NORWAY – with a one-hour illustrated talk at the Seaport Museum New York in Lower Manhattan. It was a sell-out crowd with our PONY Branch drawing about 80 percent of the 90 people who attended, and the maximum number permitted in the tight space at 12 Fulton Street. Ted Scull, Program Chairman, introduced the speaker who he had known for about 35 years.

John then began with details about the French Line’s plan for a new superliner shortly after the war, its construction at St. Nazaire and then the SS FRANCE’S entry into service in February 1962 until its withdrawal following a crew strike in 1974.

The second part of the story began with Knut Kloster eyeing the ship and then hiring the designers to make her over into the highly successful cruise ship, the SS NORWAY. We saw the changes made and then her very sad ending after a boiler explosion and final berth on the beach at Alang, India.

A Ship Passenger Peeks Behind the Scenes - By Alan Borthwick
Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 6pm

Mary and Alan Borthwick have traveled on a wide variety of passenger vessels from canal barges and expedition ships to large cruise liners. On each vessel they try for new experiences not advertised in the sales brochures with a look behind the scenes.

On the barge "Caprice," in southern France, Alan told us about bicycling into a village to buy bread for the ship in a boulangerie, and on the Adriatic coastal ship "Artemis," he went produce shopping with the Hotel Manager and ran up the signal flags.

Aboard the m/s "Andrea," they visited the crew’s very cramped operating areas, the engine room, the crew mess and the laundry.

While circumnavigating Australia on the "Volendam," they were able to attend "First Call" ceremonies in the ports of Hobart and Fremantle where the ship’s captain and the port authorities exchange gifts such as plaques.

Alan, the PONY Branch Treasurer, bracketed each segment with illustrations of each vessel and for his efforts he received a copy of John Maxtone-Graham’s Normandie.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 6pm
Introducing Cunard Line’s Brand-New Queen Elizabeth
(Photos & Copyright Theodore W. Scull)

On 12th October 2010, following a naming ceremony the previous day performed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Cunard’s 92,000-ton QUEEN ELIZABETH set out on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Iberia, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Slightly larger in gross tonnage than QUEEN VICTORIA, she qualifies as the second largest Cunard ever built, the third to carry the name Queen Elizabeth and the third QUEEN in the present fleet.

Our Program Chairman Theodore W. Scull presented a program based on a first-hand look at the new ship, drawing on a personal inspection in Southampton and on the generosity of others based in England who recorded her initial sailings to and from her homeport of Southampton. They are William Mayes, Ann & Don Eberle, Peter Knego, Ann Haynes and David Templar. A near record crowd of 92 attended.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2010 at 6pm
Voyaging Across The Seas With P&O-Orient Lines by Theodore W. Scull

The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company and the Orient Line were two of the most storied steamship lines in British maritime history. While both lines originally focused on serving the British Empire and immigration to Australia and New Zealand, their ships also started calling at North America ports by the mid-1950s as the now merged P&0-Orient Lines.

Our speaker, Ted Scull, made a first P&0 booking for ORIANA 40 years ago last month, and it turned out to be a bit of a non-starter and a near disaster when the ship caught fire. Two years later, he sailed from San Francisco to Sydney in P&0 ORSOVA, a three-week trans-Pacific voyage, and found Australia and Australians very much to his liking, eventually marrying an Aussie.

oriana Oriana 20 Nov 1981 Port Evergaldes
Orsova APL P&O Orsova 7-1-72

In the late 1970s, he became a lecturer for P&O aboard ORIANA, CANBERRA and SEA PRINCESS (ex-KUNGSHOLM) and in the next six years made 16 voyages, mostly segments of the long ocean voyage between Southampton and Sydney. This period represented the final days of true ocean travel other than on the short North Atlantic route. We heard about some of those experiences aboard former Orient Liner ships. Sometime in the near future, he will complete the story with CANBERRA and SEA PRINCESS

OrsovaU-CL155 Canberra at Cape Town May 1968
canberraU-CL155 Canberra at Cape Town from Windsor Castle May 1968
Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 6pm
Documentary Film - The Liners: Ships Of Destiny
Rob McAuley Production for Channel Four, the Australian Broadcasting Company

The film shown covered the period from the transition of sail to steam through to the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I.  The footage contained historical films and stills intertwined with the then contemporary (1995) footage, Hollywood cameos, and talking heads, most familiar to us and a few not.  

Segments showed SS Great  Britain in Bristol; the Great Eastern, Isambard Kingdom Brunel‘s great failure; building of the Suez Canal and its importance to world trade, power and politics; rivalry between the British and Germans for supremacy at sea; race for the Blue Ribband; J. P. Morgan‘s expansion from railroads to buying the Red Star Line and the White Star Line; immigrant trade and profits; Titanic‘s construction and sinking; port of Hamburg scenes and Albert Ballin Village; World War I; sinking of Lusitania; and threading through it all P&O‘s then new ORIANA passing through Suez and into the Indian Ocean.

The program was introduced by Paul Immerman, who with his wife Ellen, purchased this film at a recent Ocean Liner Bazaar. Paul, a securities lawyer, is a long-time World Ship Society member and a former trustee of the Ocean Liner Museum. He pointed out some of the film‘s features and not quite accurate portrayals.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 6pm
DECODENCE: Legendary Interiors & Illustrious Travelers Aboard SS Normandie
Guided Tour of the Exhibition Led by William H. Miller

But she lives on. Mario Pulice, one of the greatest NORMANDIE collectors anywhere, has provided almost all of the collection for DECODENCE --- an exhibit of furnishings, memorabilia & objects d’art, but not only on the ship itself but of design, decoration & maritime style --- now staged at the South Street Seaport Museum. Bill Miller is curator of the exhibit and personally guided us through the exhibit.

France’s NORMANDIE, commissioned in 1935, is widely acknowledged as the most luxurious Atlantic super liner ever built. She was an Art Deco tour de force, a floating Waldorf Astoria, indeed from the era of Fred & Ginger dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Sadly, the ship sailed for only 4 1/2 years and then burned and capsized at her West 48th St. berth in February 1942.

Friday, March 26, 2010
Cruising to Exotic Destinations
By Dan Vaccaro (Photographs by Dan Vacarro)

As frequent cruisers crave new adventures, several lines have developed "exotic" itineraries, taking you to remote destinations around the globe. Voyages of Discovery and Holland America Line have two very different approaches. Our new Special Events Director, Dan Vaccaro, took us on several recent cruises to far flung ports, exploring the diverse cultures, ancient civilizations, natural splendors and fascinating wildlife that await. A fan of destination intense and expedition cruises, Dan favors a platform for exciting adventures ashore. A collection of voyages took us on shore excursions deep into the jungles of Central America and 15,000 feet high in the Andes, from Cambodia's Angkor Wat to Mayan Tikal and from African Game Reserves to offshore bird sanctuaries to volcanic craters. Dan has been an avid cruiser since he was a teenager. Closing in on 600 nights at sea, he has sailed at least four times to all seven continents and is always looking for places to explore.

Holland America's Amsterdam
Cape Town and Table Mountain from the Discovery
Thursday, February 25, 2010
— Cunard Line‘s Green Goddessa
World Cruise Film and Historical Background by Allan Jordan
Caronia docked at Circular Quay, Sydney Harbor during her annual Around the World Cruise Photograph supplied by Theodore W. Scull

The 28-minute film was a charmingly old-fashioned look at luxury cruising in the early 1960s aboard the Green Goddess RMS Caronia. The narrator was John Barnsby, a regular voice for the Cunard Line.

The 100-day cruise called at 23 ports in 17 countries and besides plentiful scenes aboard ship showing passengers, cabins, dining, deck games, and costume balls, we saw what the following ports looked like almost 50 years ago: Bahia (Salvador), Cape Town, Zanzibar, Colombo, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Acapulco, Panama City, the Canal, and return to New York after visiting what Barnsby calls "strange and foreign ports."

To introduce the film and provide a thumbnail history of this innovative ship, we invited Allan Jordan, a lecturer aboard cruise ships and writer about the history and future of shipping. With illustrative material, he traced Caronia‘s illustrious history from entry into service in January 1949 until she was sold by Cunard in 1968 and then sadly wrecked off Guam in the South Pacific in 1974.

The Caronia World Cruise video was kindly supplied by Richard Faber.

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 6pm
In Pursuit of the Vanishing Liners
By Karl Zimmermann

Karl Zimmermann was given his first taste of ocean travel as a boy when he sailed to Europe with his parents aboard such classic liners as the Ile de France, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Bremen. Then, with multiple crossings aboard the Stefan Batory in the mid 1980s, his interest in shipping was rekindled and, over the next decades, he and his wife, Laurel, sought out the liners that had survived in a new role, as cruise ships: The Victoria, the Britanis, Amerikanis, Regent Sea, Regent Star, Regent Sun, Regent Rainbow, Canada Star, Enchanted Isle, Independence, IslandBreeze, OceanBreeze, Regal Empress, Norway, Sagafjord/Saga Rose, Marco Polo, Rotterdam, and QE2. Virtually all of these ships are now gone, but they live in our collective memory, and in pictures such as those Zimmermann shared with us. Karl is a writer and among his numerous books are two recent ones for younger readers: Steamboats: The Story of Lakers, Ferries, and Majestic Paddle-Wheelers and Ocean Liners: Crossing and Cruising the Seven Seas.

All photographs courtesy Theodore W. Scull

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
SS Oceanic: From Ship of Tomorrow In 1965 to Proud Survivor In 2009
by Rob O’Brien
SS Oceanic at Civitavecchia, Italy in November 2008 by Rob O’Brien

For nearly 45 years, the SS OCEANIC has managed to outlive most of her contemporaries dating from the 1960s. Her profile has largely gone unchanged and she remains one of the last steamships in service. When arriving on the scene in 1965, OCEANIC, "Ship of Tomorrow", was greeted with admiration on account of her innovations and splendid cuisine.

Following her 20-year career for Home Lines, she became the "Big Red Boat" for Premier Cruise Line. When that era came to a close in 2000, she saw further work in the Spanish market with Pullmantur beginning in 2001. Her current assignment, beginning in April 2009, carries out a worldwide mission for the Japanese Peace Boat organization.

Rob O’Brien, ocean liner historian, cruise ship photographer, and webmaster for the site presented a photographic journey of this remarkable steamship survivor, covering her long history and a cruise he made in the Mediterranean under the Spanish flag.

Friday, October 30, 2009
Stars And Stripes At Sea: American Passenger Liners of the 1950’s and 1960’s
by William H. Miller

The golden age of American passenger ships was the twenty years following World War II, when our great ocean liners circled the globe on diverse and exotic routes. Bill Miller, internationally renowned maritime lecturer, historian and author of more than 70 titles, took us back to these glorious days of the American Merchant Marine. He presented an amazing array of that era’s passenger services: Transatlantic crossings from New York to England, France and Germany on the United States Lines; "Sunlane" voyages from New York to Mediterranean ports on American Export Lines; leisurely, cruise-like voyages to the Caribbean and the east and west coasts of South America on Grace Lines; express sailings from New York to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires on Moore-McCormack LInes; exotic Transpacific crossings from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Hawaii and the South Pacific on Matson Lines; service to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Around-the-World on American President Lines, and many others. It was a thrilling and nostalgic talk by one of the world’s greatest maritime lecturers!

All photographs courtesy Theodore W. Scull

Friday, September 25, 2009
Linblad Expeditions: Pioneer In Adventure Style Cruising
by Ben Lyons

Lindblad is virtually a household name in expedition-style cruising. Lars Erik Lindblad began offering small ship adventure cruises nearly 50 years ago, and his son, Sven Olaf Lindblad, carries on the family tradition with worldwide itineraries.

The firm, based on Morton Street in Manhattan’s West Village, operates a fleet of ships in partnership with National Geographic Society such as the National Geographic Explorer in Northern Europe, the Arctic and Antarctica; National Geographic Endeavour and National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos Islands; and National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska, Baja California and along the Columbia-Snake Rivers. The firm also charters additional vessels.

Introducing Lindblad Expeditions was Benjamin Lyons, formerly with Cunard Line and now Chief Officer aboard the National Geographic Explorer. He traced the origins of the firm, described the fleet and the itineraries. Ben also related many of the differences between conventional and expedition cruising, explaining the considerable differences between navigating the Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic and the National Geographic Explorer in pack ice.

Monday, June 29, 2009
New York Harbor Operation — A Program Presented by the U.S. Coast Guard
Amver: The U.S. Coast Guard’s Automated Vessel Report System
Presented by Benjamin Strong, Director, Amver’s Maritime Relations, New York City

Prior to heading the AMVER office, Mr. Strong was project manager for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Mass Rescue Operation program in the Office of Search and Rescue. This presentation provided a good look into a very important but little known segment of maritime operations

AMVER is a voluntary search and rescue system that has been sponsored by the United States Coast Guard ever since its inception in 1958. It provides a worldwide blanket of protection for all types of merchant shipping on the high seas including passenger cruise ships with the participation of tens of thousands of vessels from 140 nations. Countless lives have been saved during AMVER’s 51 years. Benjamin Strong’s office is responsible for marketing and recruitment and retention of commercial ships in the AMVER system.