I talked with my financial planner today and was surprised to learn he had taken a voyage from NYC to Le Harve, France, in 1964 aboard S.S. United States.
He was a newly commissioned Army officer and was transferring to his duty station in Europe. Given he was married and had household effects to move, the Army put the newlyweds on the ship along with their possessions instead of flying to Europe. How elegant!
Larry told me they were in 'cabin class', which was part of the 3rd class group. They had a cabin that was roughly amidships, just behind the 1st class cabin area. It was small but comfortable, and as we cruisers often hear, he said "the cabin size didn't matter because we were hardly ever in it."
He told me he got seasick while still in NY harbor. An obliging crewman gave him a suppository which he was assured would cure his motion sickness! Being unfamiliar with this type of, uh, self-medication he didn't use it and instead told himself he would not get sick. He said it worked and he got his sea legs.
The voyage was a little over 5 days with calm seas and sunny days. He told me the food was outstanding and almost constantly available. Sound familiar?
One thing my friend pointed out was the rigorous adherence to the dress code. He said breakfast was the most casual meal where a collared shirt with no tie, or a sweater, passed muster. However beginning with lunch they needed to wear at least a jacket and tie to be seated. All dinners were formal, with the full table settings laid out.
Drinks were around 25 cents and poured with a heavy hand. Bands and dancing dominated the evenings. Smoking was popular in those days and a pack of cigarettes was also a quarter. No taxes at sea. He said it was very much like a weekend night at the country club, every night.
I am envious. I own some memorabilia from the United States but never sailed her.