More than a million passengers crossed the North Atlantic by sea in 1958. It was the busiest year in history for the ocean liners, but it was also the year of the first commercial transatlantic jet flight. By the next year, the airlines dominated the market with 1.5 million passengers, while the shipping companies' share dropped to 5% within a decade.
Travel by ocean liners boomed after World War II, as new more comfortable ships were turned out by the world's shipyards to satisfy the demand by migrants, tourists, business travelers, celebrities and almost anyone else with a need or yearn to travel. For example, there was United States Lines' record-breaking United States, dashing from New York to England and France in less than five days; Costa Line's trend-setting Eugenio C (above) connecting Italy with Brazil and Argentina; and the stalwart Tahitien of Messageries Maritimes, whose far ranging two-month voyages from Marseille to Australia linked the French islands to the home country.
The era had all but ended by the early 1970s. The Suez Canal was closed by war from 1967 to 1975, disrupting sea routes worldwide. New Boeing 747's spanned all the oceans, making air travel more affordable, containerships were making passenger and cargo combination ships obsolete and then the price of fuel oil jumped from US$35 to US$95 per ton.
But herein we look back at the ships and sailing schedules in 1966, to embark on 110 notable liners and 29 shipping lines calling at nearly 300 ports on more than 1,600 voyages. Come along. It's sailing hour, so let's enjoy a pleasant journey back into the not-so-distant past when ocean liners could take you almost anywhere!
Explore descriptions, history, images and sample fares for the last ocean liners on the North Atlantic, to Africa and Latin America and on Australia, Far East and around-the-world services. You can also find sample sailing schedules for each ship with departures from January through December of 1966 plus ranking of all vessels by size, speed, year built and more.
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Sources of website content include shipping line literature such as brochures, post cards and magazine ads. Sailing schedules and fares are from 1966 editions of International Shipline Guide. Descriptions, routes and specifications of vessels are as of 1966 unless stated otherwise.