On 30 October 1947, a Cunard liner that became perhaps the greatest cruise ship ever was launched.
Caronia (1949) or “The Green Goddess,” as she was affectionately known, was conceived as a transatlantic liner for the jet age. The ship was designed to supplement Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (1940) on the North Atlantic in the busy summer months and then cruise warmer waters during the winter. She was painted in three shades of green (except for her funnels, of course), providing the basis of her nickname.
The 34,183 GRT Caronia was 715 feet long and 91 feet at beam. She had a service speed of 22 knots and could carry up 932 passengers (581 first class, 351 tourist class). Other than her hull color, Caronia’s most noticeable feature was her large funnel, one of the largest ever installed on an ocean liner or cruise ship. In high winds, the funnel often acted like an unwanted sail, making a challenge to keep the ship on course.
Caronia’s launching ceremony was Princess Elizabeth’s last public engagement before her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh A portrait of the royal couple was later installed at one end of Caronia’s main lounge on Promenade deck.
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