S.S. America 1940-1941- The luxury cruise ship
On July 2, after completion of the trials and the full completion, the America was handed over to the United States Lines. Since the war made it impossible for the ship to determine its purpose as a transatlantic liner, a program of Caribbean cruises was scheduled.
To make the neutrality of America clearly and avoid confusion and possible submarine attacks, two several decks high emblemes with her name, shipping company and the flag of the United States was painted on both sides of the hull that her allegiance to the United States obvious should clarify.
The Newport News-starting delivery trip ended on 29 July 1940 with the first entry of the guests of honor America with 850 on board in New York, her future home port. The new, biggest and fastest ever at that time finished buildings in the U.S. passenger ship was an impressive welcome awaits, which the United States Lines strongly boosted for advertising purposes. In Manhattan, for example, cheering flags were distributed to make the population aware of the event. All available boats, ships and tugs lined up to greet the America in New York, to celebrate the new queen of the U.S. merchant marine.
On 10 August launched the America from the pier of the United States Lines her maiden voyage, a cruise with 750 passengers on board. On this trip, it was the first of seven planned 12 - day Caribbean cruises.
Ports of call have included St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Port-au-Prince (Haiti) and Havana (Cuba).
The America on her maiden arrival to New York Harbor with neutrality marks on her sides.
-Picture: colorized postcart-
For these cruises transatlantic liner was modified to meet the requirements of a luxury cruise of the time limit. The class division was canceled and converted into the cabins, lounges and dining rooms of the first and second class to a one-class configuration. The third class was partially unused. On the upper deck behind the ballroom, an additional temporary pool was built and on the volleyball court between the two chimneys were after dark, open-air cinema screenings. On the sports deck took place turtles race.
America during her first Panama Canal crossing.
-Picture: Postcard -
Since these cruises to produce the desired booking success, the timetable has been extended until January of the following year, as a misfortune interrupted the cruise program of America. Not the America was affected by this disaster, but another umfunktionierter transatlantic liners of the United States Lines, the Manhattan. It was used as an alternative to the transatlantic service on the route between the east and the west coast of the United States (New York to San Francisco) and ran off Florida in January due. As the replacement vorrübergehender America now sent to this route.
So the ship was launched on 29th In January 1941 the first of two east-west coast tours. This is another first revealed in early February made ??the America as their first Panama Canal crossing.
But this trip had another peculiarity. After America had entered a stop in Los Angeles to record numerous Hollywood stars and reporters were in the large lounge of the ship the premiere of the film "The Sea Wolf". In another first, because never before a movie premiere was celebrated on board a ship. At the port in San Francisco, the ship was preparing an enthusiastic reception and over 10,000 curious citizens took the opportunity to visit the new flagship of the U.S. Merchant Marine.
The America is welcomed on her maiden arrival to New York from numerous boats and onlookers.
-Color photo from the 10th floor of the Whitehall Building: R.S.; B/W-photos: United States Lines promo-
The America at anchor is greeted traditionally in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Picture: United States Lines
Airview of America docked at Havana, Cuba 1940.
-Picture: The Havana Post-
"Newest...Largest...Fastest...Finest..."- painting of the new America in the Caribbean from a promotional brochure.
-Picture: United States Lines-
America bricht in New York zu ihrer Jungfernfahrt auf.
-Bild: Pressefoto erschienen in mehreren Zeitungen-
Passengers in a lifeboat used as tender boat in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 1940.
Picture: courtesy of Juliane Walker
But not only onlookers San Franciscoianer, passengers and Hollywood Stars showed interest in the new America. For German spies, they were the destination. 1940-1941, two of the 35 distributed in the United States at strategic locations of the country agents of the Duquesne spy ring had infiltrated the crew of the ship, peering, long time unnoticed, military secrets, such as the defense of the Panama Canal expansion from.

After another east-west coast tour, starting on 7 March '41, it went back to America for the planned Caribbean cruise business. But the war in Europe and Asia always threw long shadows that should eventually catch the America ...
America at her pier in New York City on a summer evening in 1940.
Hollywood stars on board the America for the movie premiere of  "The Sea Wolf" 1941.
-Pictures: The H Magazine -
America passes under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
-Picture: Published in local newspaper -
America is heading for the docks of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. In the background, the infamous and then still occupied Alcatraz Prison.
-Picture: Published in local newspaper -
Next Chapter: The Story of the U.S.S. West Point -->


further reading:
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Schiffspost versendet am 14. August 1940 von Puerto Rico während der Jungfernfahrt der America in die Karibik.
-Bild: Vielen Dank an Bill Lee-
Suite on the upper deck.
-Picture: United States Lines-
Playing volleyball on the sports deck.
-Picture: courtesy of Bill Lee-
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