SS Constitution

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SS Constitution.jpg
SS Constitution In Hawaii
Name: 1951—1974: Constitution
1974—1982: Oceanic Constitution
1982—1997: Constitution
Owner: 1951—1974: American Export Lines
1974—1979: Atlantic Far East Lines
1982—1997: American Hawaii Cruises
Builder: Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts, USA
Yard number: 1619[1]
Laid down: 1950
Launched: September 16, 1950[1]
Completed: 1951
Maiden voyage: June 25 1951[1]
Fate: lost while under tow to shipbreakers
Status: sunk
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 23,719 gross register tons (GRT)
7,250 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
Length: 208.01 m (682.45 ft)
Beam: 27.18 m (89.17 ft)
Draft: 9.20 m (30.18 ft)
Installed power: 2 × Bethlehem Steel Corporation steam turbines; 40456 kW
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Capacity: 1000 passengers
General characteristics (after 1959 refit)[1]
Type: Cruise ship
Tonnage: 23,754 GRT
Capacity: 395 passengers
General characteristics (after 1974 refit)[1]
Capacity: 950 passengers
General characteristics (after 1980 refit)[1]
Tonnage: 20,221 GRT
Capacity: 1073 passengers
File:Ss Constitution1953.jpg
SS Constitution on a visit to Haifa on March 10, 1953

The SS Constitution was an ocean liner owned by American Export Lines. She was commissioned in 1951. She sailed on the New York-Genoa-Naples and Gibraltar route to Europe. Constitution was a sister ship to the SS Independence.

It was featured in several episodes of the television situation comedy I Love Lucy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, starting with episode 140, "Bon Voyage," which first aired 1 December 1955. Lucy Ricardo missed the sailing of the ship and had to be ferried by air to the ship by the then-novel means of a helicopter.

Grace Kelly sailed aboard the SS Constitution from New York to Monaco for her wedding to Prince Rainier in 1956.

It was then featured in the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The ship was also featured prominently in the Magnum, P.I. television series, in the episode titled "All Thieves on Deck," which aired 30 January 1986.

Following service on American Export's "Sunlane" cruise to Europe in the '50s and '60s, the two ships sailed for American Hawaii Cruises for many years in the '80s and '90s; because they were U.S. ships with U.S. crews, they met the criteria of the Jones Act and were able to cruise the Islands without sailing to a foreign port.

SS Constitution was retired in 1995 and, while under tow to be scrapped on 17 November 1997, sank 700 nautical miles north of the Hawaiian Islands.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Micke Asklander. "T/S Constitution (1951)" (in in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 

External links