Conte di Savoia was launched on 18 October 1931. Everything went well until she nearly exploded on her maiden voyage.
Italian Line’s 48,500 GRT Conte di Savoia was 814.5 feet long and 96 feet at beam. She was similar to, but slightly smaller than Rex, completed just two months earlier. The two-funnel Conte di Savoia could carry up to 2,200 passengers in four classes and 786 crew members.
While competing liners such as Ile de France and Bremen featured clean, modern Art Deco style, Conte di Savoia reveled in glitz and bling. One could say she anticipated Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas by several decades. Her marble bedecked Colonna Lounge wowed passengers with its high ceiling decorated in murals. Along the sides of the giant room were statues standing on pedestals. The liner’s comparatively understated third class rooms were actually more attractive, at least to the modern eye, than the liner’s higher class spaces.Like Rex, Conte di Savoia experienced a problematic maiden voyage. In November 1932, on her first crossing to New York, the liner almost exploded when an outlet valve jammed and then blew a large hole in the hull below the waterline. Conte di Savoia was able to complete her maiden voyage, thanks to an alert and brave crewmember who plugged the hole with cement and was able to save the ship from becoming the second major ocean liner in history to sink on her maiden voyage.
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