…and a few more
It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
Just a few weeks ago, a retired university professor acquaintance expressed his long held opinion that Cunard’s Lusitania was the most beautiful ship of all time. A Cunard Senior First Officer watch keeping colleague of some decades ago recalled in his much later autobiography, a visit he made to a Netherlands Navy ship, when, whilst being entertained in the wardroom, he expressed the view to a reservist Holland America Line deck officer, that the most beautiful ships at sea were Queen Elizabeth, Nieuw Amsterdam and Royal Mail’s Andes. Add perhaps to this list, Union Steam’s Awatea of her inaugural year, another beauty of her time and long lost off North Africa’s shores, I would conclude that beauty in the eyes of the seafarer was primarily but not always a ‘generation thing’. Having paced the bridge of QE and viewed from it those Holland America and Royal Mail icons, I could hardly deny such expressed opinions.
My generation however aligned with later ships, those of the 1950’s to the late 1960s. Italia’s stunning Leonardo da Vinci reflected brilliantly white on the mirror surface of the Bay of Genoa, the grace of Portugal’s Infante dom Henrique as she made to her home berth on the Tagus, the jaw dropping elegance of Lloyd Triestino’s Galileo Galilei and her identical sister, as viewed from a traditional British cargo liner at anchor in Rose Bay, as such creations were assisted to their designated Circular Quay, Pyrmont or Woolloomoolloo berths at Sydney. Elder Dempster’s yacht like Aureol at Liverpool’s Landing Stage as seen from the decks of a Mersey ferry, or the mighty but chic S.S. France (pre her Norway years!) as she slid seawards down Southampton Water from the Western Docks. My ‘tastes’ however went beyond the auspicious but dwindling numbers of the world’s passenger liners, to focus on its cargo fleets.
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