Independence’s Multiple Identities

Independence’s Multiple Identities

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People often forget that United States and America weren’t the only American transatlantic ocean liner active during the 1950s.  Among others, there were also the ships of American Export Lines.

Independence's Multiple Identities

Independence after cruise modifications, including a white hull.

AEL’s Independence began her maiden voyage on 11 February 1951 (a Mediterranean cruise). Built in Quincy, Massachusetts, by Bethlehem Steel, Independence was designed to provide service between New York and the Mediterranean. Her passengers included celebrities such as President Harry Truman, Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney.

On 12 April 1951, Independence began New York-Genoa service (later switched to New York-Naples). Within months, she was joined in AEL’s Mediterranean service by her nearly identical sister ship, Constitution. “Indy,” was often overshadowed by Constitution, which appeared in severals film and television shows, most notably “An Affair to Remember” with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and the “Bon Voyage” episode of the American television series “I Love Lucy.”

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