Launched in 1962 at Chantiers de l'Atlantique of St. Nazaire, France was
(in terms of overall length) the longest liner ever built: 1,035 feet
(315.5m). After an initial shakedown cruise to the Canary Islands, she
made her maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York on 3 February 1962.
Unfortunately for CGT, by the time France entered service, the number of
passenger crossings of the Atlantic by ship was in sharp decline; travel
by jet was rendering sea travel obsolete. As a result, France never
made money for CGT and operated only with sizable subsidies from the
French government. When those subsidies were ended in 1974, CGT
announced that France would be withdrawn after only 12 years of service.
She arrived at Le Havre at the end of her last Atlantic crossing during
the night of 11-12 September 1974, but did not enter the harbor. Her
unionized crew members took control of the ship and refused to let her
dock. The ship's passengers and their luggage were taken ashore by
ferry, and the ship remained at the port's entrance until 10 October,
when the crew finally relented. France was then laid up for nearly
She was sold to Norwegian Caribbean Lines in 1979 and renamed Norway.
After extensive refitting and modifications at Hapag-Lloyd's yard, she
left Bremerhaven on 30 April 1980 for her new home port of Oslo. From
there, she sailed to Miami via Southampton and New York to begin her new
career as a cruise ship. Norway was again modified in 1990, and remains
in service as a cruise ship with accommodations for over 2,500
Sources: Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; Haws' Merchant Fleets; Miller's
Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners, 1860-1994.