Originally posted by MV Augustus:
Based on the actions made to the SS Norway and the SS Independence by NCL/Star Cruises, it is very doubtful that they will spend the kind of money that's needed to make the Big U sail again. In fact, the opportunity for that has passed when the ship's fittings and equipment was sold at auction in 1984.
Had Mr. Hadley simply given the Big U a new paint job and upgraded its safty requirements, I believe that the ship would be sailing today. Although, there would have been many changes to her, both inside and outside, like the SS Norway.
If NCL decides to put the Big U into service again, the ship's powertrain would be gutted down to make way for a new disel plant. The one element that has kept the ship with us today would be lost forever. The ship's Naval powerplant was the one thing that makes this ship so special. The Cold War relic. No; I no longer have faith the NCL will ever refit the Big U.
The only option I see for the ship is to make it into a museum/hotel in New York City.
NYC doesn't have a shortage of hotel rooms, and it already has the USS Intrepid as a museum, I don't believe NYC needs or wants the SSUS. It barely finds the financial resources to care for the Intrepid, I don't see them finding extra finances to care for the SSUS too.
Someone suggested using the SSUS in New Orleans as a hotel/casino. At least casino's should create enough profits to pay for the ship's upkeep. However, I believe a river barge would be cheaper to maintain, creating more profits for the casino's investors. Then again, the SSUS name might attract more gamblers. But at least that's a viable possibility.
Yes, the existing steam propulsion on the SSUS is a fuel guzzler, which is why many suggest replacing it with diesel electric or gas turbines. But these conversions aren't cheap, and raising the costs significantly for refurbishment, possibly too high.
I still believe the existing steam propulsion could be retained, which reduces the refurbishment price significantly. If placed on itineraries that take advantage of both its speed and American flag, I believe it could ask and get higher fares, high enough to pay for its fuel consumption bills.
For example, the Dawn leaves NYC Sunday afternoon at 4 pm and arrives at Cape Canaveral Tuesday morning at 10 am. The distance is approximately 1,000 miles, the Dawn averages 24 mph or 21 knots for this trip, using 42 hours. The SSUS, with its existing steam propulsion, at its cruising speed of 30 knots or 34.5 mph, could reach Cape Canaveral at 9 pm Monday night, using 29 hours. It could travel the extra approximately 200 miles to Miami in 6 hours. So, instead of sailing to Port Canaveral it could reach Miami from New York, and arrive in Miami at 3 am Tuesday morning. Move to Port Canaveral in 6 hours overnight, spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and depart Cape Canaveral at midnight, and still get back to New York by Sunday morning at 5 am.
Whether it spends one day or two days in Miami, it still could spend two to three days at Cape Canaveral. The Florida cruises from New York are popular, especially those that stop near Orlando. No other cruise ship can get you that many days at Cape Canaveral from New York in just one week. Wouldn't an extra day or two in Cape Canaveral be worth more?