Name the liners with the ugliest interiors


Jim Kalafus

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Another great Ugly Interior is the famous Ile de France first class cabin (publicity photo- Postwar) with the trellis patterned enamel walls and what appear to be asbestos coated
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structural beams on the unfinished ceiling.
 

Jim Kalafus

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The Italian Line deserves credit for going from over-the-top baroque to extremely well designed modern as quickly as they did. Had not the war invervened, there were plans afoot to remove the dated interiors of some of the older liners (I know that Roma was one of them) and replace them with minimalist modern rooms- definitely would have been an improvement. Rex was surprisingly restrained by Italia standards, and I always found her more dated than hideous- she was a 1911 dream ship making her debut two decades later, and can be seen as the last gasp of traditional classicism on the North Atlantic. Have you seen the Italia ship which had a "Long Gallery" apparently done by the same designers who did torture chamber sets for "B" films ca. 1935? Now THAT was hideous. Rex, come to think of it, reminded me internally of one of the Cunard or White Star intermediate vessels of the immediate pre-or-post WW1 years "supersized."

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Here is one of the lesser known Rex interiors- the Special Class Lounge, which became part of Cabin Class after the four class system was abandoned. Everything about it, from the quarter-sawn wood to the ornamental ironwork in the well sidelights, seemed aimed at the market segment who wished to pretend that the Jazz Age and WW1 had never happened. Not a bad looking room, but an anachronism on the world's most modern liner.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Have you seen the Italia ship which had a "Long Gallery" apparently done by the same designers who did torture chamber sets for "B" films ca. 1935?<<

Nope. I may have to do some poking around. Perhaps with one of Miller's photo books...unless you're...er..."fortunate" enough to have a photo or two. I still flinch at that Winter Garden from the QE2.

>>Now THAT was hideous.<<

THAT I can believe! Some of these liners would have needed only a rack, iron maiden and Tomas De Torquemada to complete the picture.
 
Jan 2, 2008
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Yuck some of those interiors are hideous, that QE2 winter garden photo looks like an explosion in a flower shop. I don't rate the Ile De France dining room, reminds me of a sports hall. Of the modern cruise ships some of the Carnival monstrosities make my eyes seriously hurt, so garish!
 

Russell Smith

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Russell Smith

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That pretty much sums it up. Here in Florida there's a plethora of 3-day weekend deals to the Bahamas for dirt cheap on 3rd rate cruise ships, that are really nothing more than an excuse for many 18-35 year olds to go on drinking binges.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>3-day weekend deals to the Bahamas for dirt cheap on 3rd rate cruise ships, that are really nothing more than an excuse for many 18-35 year olds to go on drinking binges.

Well, hey, that's a tradition that dates back to at least the early 1930s.

Morro Castle and Oriente (Brand new in 1930) were known as "The Floating Whorehouses"in NYC because of the blind eye turned towards women who discreetly 'tricked' aboard in season. The drug and gambling 'concessions' on those ships were so lucrative that when William Warms abolished them crew members actually quit. I just bought a dossier from the FBI on that particular aspect of the grand days of Liner Travel.

Havana was known as a place where a young lady could lose her virginity to a decent looking guy who could be counted on not to 'talk,' and that aspect of the NYC/Cuba run was openly laughed at pre-war. Great first person quote about it in Burton's The Morro Castle. Twas also a place where one could get a three day abortion, and the staggered schedule of the Ward Line vessels (departed for New York on Monday and Thursday)assure that they turn up quite a bit in abortion testimonials.

The best quote I've found regarding the clientele who patronized the Cunard 'short cruises' in the early 1930s was given by the surgeon of the Franconia after a woman who felt he spurned her committed suicide: "It is not possible to become romantically involved with a woman whose stomach you had to pump upon first meeting.' (alcohol poisoning)

About the liners themselves~ it really wasn't until the 1970s that anything decent appeared on the short run voyages. Somewhere on ET there is a selection of color views taken aboard the Yarmouth Castle just before the fire~ I posted them years ago~ and as depressingly shabby as she was, she was one of the BETTER options.

>They are nothing more than hulls built around a giant shopping mall

Again, keeping alive a tradition dating back to at least 1929, and most egregiously practiced aboard l'Atlantique. Only thing is, now the rooms are actually comfortable and the majority of those who travel by ship enjoy it. Pre-1960s, the best you could say about ship travelers' experience is that they tolerated it.

Among Classic Era bon mots, who could forget:

~The White Star crew member with feces visibly on his hands dishing out food with the same.

~The 'musty' smell that permeated second class on a miserable Majectic crossing, late 1920s.

~The vibration on the Normandie which caused a passenger to write "It finally made me vomit. hate this ship."

~The 'dark and drafty' Leviathan.

~The cutlery on the Empress of Ireland which smelled of decaying food.

~The overweight, perpetually flatulent cabin mate; a stranger who ruined (in very readable manner)a late 1930s CGT crossing.

~The "Dull, dreary, stupid" experience of crossing first class aboard the Lusitania.

I could go on, but my point is that although people later recalled liner travel fondly(rose colored glasses, doddering old age and all); while it was the only way to cross, for every 'Ah...this is the life!' letter or diary one finds, one finds dozens of letters ranging from bemused to borderline insane that say, outright, that it WASN'T 'the life.'

The interiors today are just as tacky and second rate as the interiors of nearly everything built before 1950. With the exception of the brilliant period spanning 1950-1970, liner interiors have never represented smart, advanced, or sophisticated shoreside design. They were intended to be vulgar and, as such, the Carnival Ships are closer in spirit to the Ballin trio, (for instance) than they are to the brilliant postwar work from Italy, Holland, the U.S. and France.
 

Russell Smith

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quote:

the Carnival Ships are closer in spirit to the Ballin
Of which the Imperator, sans eagle on the bow, was the grandest in my opinion. You can just imagine all those Americans boarding those quickie drinking cruises during Prohibition, salivating for the moment when the ship leaves U.S. waters.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Of which the Imperator, sans eagle on the bow, was the grandest in my opinion.<<

And paid dearly for it in terms of stability which was tricky even after corrections which included shortening the stacks and adding something like 6000 tons of concrete as permanent ballest. She wasn't called the Limperator by New York tug crews for nuthin'.

All that granite, marble and wrought iron high up in the 1st Class accomadation may have had quite a bit of eye appeal, but the cost was reckoned in terms of a very unpleasent ride.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Source please, Jim? I hadn't heard that one before.

It is in Grout's Empress of Ireland book, which came out a few years back.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>You can just imagine all those Americans boarding those quickie drinking cruises during Prohibition, salivating for the moment when the ship leaves U.S. waters.

Oh, I can imagine it all very well. Alcoholism; Spousal abuse; Marital collapse; Pederasty; Homosexuality; Lesbianism; Cohabitation; Narcotics; Unmarried pregnancy....

...oh wait, this isn't the Titanic's First Class Passengers thread, is it? My mistake.
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Still, that tangent pretty much captures the elan of a depression era budget voyage. The people really weren't morally very different than those who crossed during belle epoch days, but were economically much further down the food chain than those who once strolled the garish rooms of, say, the Olympic or Titanic. Much of the bad rep of those voyages boils down to the very common "Before the revolution we used to own all of this" snobbery of the 1930s.

>Of which the Imperator, sans eagle on the bow, was the grandest in my opinion.

I liked her after the 1938 interior redesign in NYC. The Majestic really reached her peak in her final incarnation as the Caledonia, where she had an elegance and dignity not present during her White Star years. The only room I liked on any of those ships was the futuristic Club Leviathan, for which the Palm Court was blessedly sledgehammered.
 

Joe Russo

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Any Carnival ship.
It's as if they are consistently going for some "Liberace on Acid" decor. This is even on their newest ship Carnival Freedom.
If I ever had the misfortune of ending up on a Carnival cruise, I think I would need Dramamine to keep me from getting seasick from the interior design.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

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I disagree, to me the QE2 looks a lot better than the Princess monstrousities! Horrible backsides, what on earth are those things above the sterns? The Wake Dining rooms. Lovely NOT!
 

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