Originally posted by LisaP:
Ron, I beg to differ with your assessment that I am not being realistic. While I would love to see her sailing again, it will take a lot to get her there -- both work-wise and $-wise.
On to a couple of other issues. As one who travels to NYC often for both business and pleasure, I know firsthand that there certainly are plenty of times during which hotel rooms are scarce. But, I still think she has a more promising future as a museum of U.S. ocean liner history (whereas Intrepid is a warship -- big difference -- and yes, I've visited). I envision several rooms paying tribute to some of this country's great ocean liners, such as America, Constitution, and of course, SS United States. Perhaps even the growth of the modern cruise industry in the U.S., to draw in those who aren't the liner aficionados we are.
NYC is also in the process of creating a huge park and walkway along the Hudson River. I've seen this in various stages as I travel there a great deal, and it's coming along nicely. SS United States -- once the pride of our country -- would be a wonderful attraction, alongside a renovated USS Intrepid.
Again, I'd love to see her sail again, and I'd be onboard in an instant. It's just that I believe there are too many obstacles to make this happen and to sustain it long-term.
I agree, it will cost hundreds of million of dollars to refurbish the SSUS. NCL's new Pearl and Gem cost approximately $500 million to build, the new F3 class ships NCL has ordered will cost over $900 million to build. Tack another 50% on top of those costs to build a new ship at similar sizes in America. At some point, I believe someone is going to realize that even with a $400 million refurbishment costs, the SSUS could be profitable sailing on exclusive American port itineraries. That's its only chance. Otherwise, it too will be heading for a scrap yard.
Just about all major American ports already have a ship consuming valuable private and public financial resources as museums.
Boston MA> USS Massachuettes, Kennedy, and Salem.
Groton, CT > USS Nautilus
New York NY > USS Intrepid
Camden NJ > USS New Jersey
Philadelphia PA > USS Olympia
Norfolk VA > USS Monitor and USS Wisconsin
Wilimington NC > USS North Carolina
Charleston SC > USS Yorktown
Miami > ?
Mobil AL > USS Alabama
New Orleans > ?
Houston > USS Texas
Corpus Christi > USS Lexington
San Diego > USS Midway
Los Angeles > Queen Mary
Alameda CA > USS Hornet
Portland > ?
Seattle > ?
Honolulu > USS Missouri
Here's my point, there's only four cities with sufficient population located on our coasts large enough to support any long term restoration efforts that doesn't already have financial resources tied up on other ships.
Only New York City and Norfolk have historic ties with the SSUS. NYC already barely affords the upkeep on the USS Intrepid. Norfolk is attempting to raise funds to save the USS Wisconsin, and has the delicate duty to preserve what's left of the USS Monitor (civil war ship of significant history)). Of the four ports large enough without a ship to care for that could possibly make restoring the SSUS profitable are New Orleans, and that was before last year's hurricane and Miami. New Orleans furbishing the SSUS into a casino is possible, but I still think a casino operator could lower initial costs significantly simply by using a river barge as the base for the casino. That leaves Miami, which has at least a dozen cruise ships arriving and departing weekly. Does it really need a maritime museum celebrating ocean liners?
I still think the only way to preserve the SSUS is for someone to place it back into service as a cruise ship. It's easy to state NYC could afford another restoration effort, but the fact remains it is barely taking care of the USS Intrepid. By the way, they finally got it unstuck and to the shipyard this week, it's first dry dock in 25 years, and which will cost $60 million.
Ships are large holes in water people throw money into.