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 Home Lines new Oceanic revolutionised the cruising scene making the Queen look outdated.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’