The Queen of Bermuda

A three funnelled, British flag, British built ship sailing out of New York in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s & 60’s? Any Ideas? No Its not the Queen Mary, It is of course the Queen of Bermuda.

Entering Service in February 1933 the Queen of Bermuda was one of two ships nicknamed ‘the Honeymoon Ships’ & ‘the Millionaires Ships’. Her sister being the slightly older Monarch of Bermuda. They were ordered by Furness Bermuda Line for a weekly service out of New York to Bermuda, and became very popular for the wealthy and the newly wed.

The ships were built of a high standard for the time, with ornate public rooms a large amount of deck space and private facilities in all cabins. The ship has a great ocean liner profile, with three funnels she could very easily have been mistaken for the Queen Mary. However she was much smaller  at 580ft long and 22,500 tons.

However due to the outbreak of war the sister ships were handed to the British Admiralty in September 1939, at just six years old, in Harland & Wolff the ships fixtures and fittings were removed and in 1940 her third funnel, which was in fact fake, was removed.

Returning to service post war in 1949, her sister ship the Monarch of Bermuda burned out during refitting, she was however salvaged and sold on for further service. She was joined in 1951 by her new fleetmate the Ocean Monarch, which was designed to assist on the Bermuda service but also make longer cruises to the Caribbean. The concept of the OCean Monarch proved so successful that Furness decided to modernise the liner, now nearly 30 years old, to a similar design.

She entered re-entered service with only one funnel and a lengthened bow, giving her a much more modern profile. She was also air-conditioned throughout on her return to New York she was given a fire boat welcome, only matched by those of new ships.

However due to several disasters at the time, regulations grew tighter, and the British ownership was causing problems. Home Lines new Oceanic revolutionised the cruising scene making the Queen look outdated. Furness is reported to have considered various options, but rebuilding proved to be too costly, so the ship was sold for scarp at Faslane.

She did in her lifetime however manage to make it into the elite group of model ships made by Dinky!

On her last sailing her Captain M. E. Musson, is quoted as saying ‘All good things must come to an end’. Interestingly enough her former sister ship the Monarch of Bermuda was being  scrapped in Spain at the same time. Furness also looked towards a new concept of ‘Bed & Break fast cruise ships, which we looked into in ‘Why Hasn’t low-cost cruising taken off?‘ & ‘The Problem of Pricing’

Do you have any memories of this wonderful ship? Comment, Facebook, Email & Twitter!

Thanks,
Liam
Liam@crociere.co.uk
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9 thoughts on “The Queen of Bermuda

  1. I made only one voyage on the Queen of Bermuda, a free passage paid for by my employers as a Merchant Navy officer going to join another ship in Hamilton in 1959.
    My most striking memory was the excellent food served. I also remember the comfortable way that she coped with a North Atlantic force 8 to 9 storm on the voyage from NYC.
    I was also invited to tour her engine room. By coincidence, years later after ‘swallowing the anchor’ I worked in the steam turbine drawing office of Fraser & Chalmers Ltd. of Erith, who had supplied her main propulsion turbine-generators. I was also sent to oversee works in Vickers ship repair yard in Hebburn on Tyne, originally Palmers shipyard where she was built.

  2. The “Queen” was built by Vickers Armstrong, but at Barrow-in-Furness. It was the “Monarch of Bermuda” that was built on the Tyne.

  3. Hi: A small correction – the “Monarch of Bermuda” was built by Vickers on the Tyne, But the “Queen” was built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness.
    However, we did several refits at Palmers in Hebburn.

  4. Hi, I sailed on the “QUEEN of BERMUDA”, from, 1957-1961, I paid off in “BERMUDA”, a very sad day, as that was the last time I saw HER,
    Thursday the 8th may, I was watching, “AID at Sea”, he was with a Captain of a tug boat, from the Manchester ship canal, who at the age of 5 yrs helped towing the “QUEEN of BERMUDA”, poss “LIVERPOOL” docks, can any shipmates tell me the year?, it has to be 50yrs plus.

    • Hi: The “QUEEN OF BERMUDA” drydocked at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead after her sea trials in 1933. I have a great post card shot of her in the Mersey with the Liver Building in the background. She also did a refit at Laird’s in 1963, but that was when she had one funnel.

  5. When I was 7, my father moved the family from Baltimore, MD to Bermuda to work his contract at the NASA Tracking station on the island. One of my loveliest memories was watching the Queen of Bermuda arriving every Monday from NYC through Two Rock Passage on its way to dock in Hamilton. If you can imagine this ocean liner gliding past the picture window it always filled my imaination with thoughts of far away places. I was so lucky to have lived at that time.

  6. i have a chest of drawers that came off the queen of bermuda and am trying to find photos of inside the cabins it is engraved on one of the drawers with the room number,i had no idea when i bought it that there was so much history with it.

  7. As a 14 year old I remember sailing on the Queen of Bermuda in 1958 from New York to Bermuda with my family having taken the train from Toronto to New York. Fairly uneventful trip but very cozy and the dining was an introduction to the very formal dining at the Belmont Hotel.
    For the return trip we flew back on TransCanada Airlines on a twin engine turbo prop Viscount.
    As I look back now all those years I remember the crew with fond memories.
    Made 8 more trips all by TransCanada later Air Canada.
    During the war my father had flown on one of the beautiful flying boats made by Martin. Bermuda is my second home – learned to play tennis and sail there.

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