Mary Anne Chamberlain (right) poses with a friend she made aboard the ship (left), a young girl from Germany. Although neither girl could speak the other’s native language, they quickly formed a friendship. “Dad knew enough German to communicate with her parents, and her father knew enough English,” Chamberlain recollects. “Perfect!” Photo courtesy of Mary Anne Chamberlain.
I remember thinking it was funny being in a pool when there was a huge ocean right there, and sneaking into first class with my brother to explore the front half of the ship. A very nice steward caught us and gently brought us back to our parents in cabin class. Once, while we were playing cards on deck, a gust of wind came up and blew the cards away – some of them ended up in strangers’ tea cups! Everyone was quite good-natured about it.
My father took a great interest in the SS United States, he was so impressed by her speed and grace in the water. My brother and I loved standing on the deck and watching the wavy, light green-blue trail the SS United States left behind as she sped through the water. We also loved people-watching, listening to the many different languages spoken on board, and going through the safety drills.
The SS United States was a true and strong seafaring beauty, with real elegance and magnificent attention to detail in every way. Today’s ships seem to be more about cramming thousands of people into floating cities, it’s like being at a giant shopping mall with dozens of restaurants, pools, climbing walls, and bars, yet very little attention to passenger comfort or aesthetics. As the years go by, our appreciation for the SS United States grows exponentially!
– Mary Anne Chamberlain, who sailed SS United States with her father, mother, brother, sister in 1964 and 1966.