The Last Ocean Liners

French Line

France / Flandre / Antilles


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French Line

The Compagnie Generale Transatlantique earned an enviable reputation for the sophisticated ambiance and onboard lifestyle of their ships. Service and cuisine were impeccable, the hallmarks of high living on the high seas.

France was the last superliner designed to spend almost all her time on the transatlantic run. She was a showcase for French art, cooking, fashion, culture and industry. With only two classes, there was space for private facilities in all First class and 90% of Tourist class cabins.

French Line

Each class on the France availed of its own main lounge, smoking room, library/writing room and swimming pool. The First class "Chambord" dining room featured a memorable domed ceiling, while the Tourist class space spanned two decks. The largest theater afloat and a chic cabaret were shared by both classes.

French Line

With a speed greater than the Cunard Queens, the French Line's France was easily able to maintain a five day crossing schedule from New York to Southampton and Le Havre with a round trip sailing every other week.

"Once onboard, you'll enjoy the fine cuisine for which France is justly famous. You'll be charmed by the traditional courtesy of French Line service. You'll relax. A new idea in luxury travel sails the seas. When you see her you will know that your ship has come in ..."

By 1974, the French had reluctantly tired of subsidizing their opulent flagship and France was laid up seeking a buyer. Norwegian Cruise Line transformed the cruise industry by converting her into Norway, the world's largest cruise ship.

French Line

The French Line also operated a route from Le Havre and Southampton to the French West Indies islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique via a variety of ports. The twin ocean liners on this service were Flandre and Antilles. They were stylishly furnished and upheld the French Line standards of service, cuisine and design. Initially Flandre was assigned to the transatlantic service from New York assisting the French flagship Liberte, but in 1962 when the larger France was completed, she was transferred to the Caribbean run with Antilles.

Sample minimum one-way fares from New York to Le Havre: First class $461; Tourist class $251; from Le Havre to Martinique: First class $466; Cabin class $286; Tourist class $212; All fares are per person in U.S. dollars.

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France (French Line) 1962
France French Line
Built: 1962 by Penhoet, St Nazaire, France Gross tons: 66348 Length: 1035ft (315m) Width: 110ft (34m) Draft: 34ft (10m) Speed: 30kn Power: 160000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines quadruple screw Passengers: 501 First 1443 Tourist End of service: Laid up 1974; sold 1979 as Norway; scrapped 2006
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Flandre (French Line) 1952
Flandre French Line
Built: 1952 by Ateliers et Chantiers, Dunkirk, France Gross tons: 20469 Length: 600ft (183m) Width: 80ft (24m) Draft: 26ft (8m) Speed: 22kn Power: 44000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 402 First 285 Cabin 97 Tourist End of service: Sold 1968 as Carla C then Pallas Athena; burned 1994
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Antilles (French Line) 1953
Antilles French Line
Built: 1953 by Arsenal de Brest, Brest, France Gross tons: 19828 Length: 600ft (183m) Width: 80ft (24m) Draft: 26ft (8m) Speed: 22kn Power: 44000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 404 First 285 Cabin 89 Tourist End of service: Wrecked 1971
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