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10 August 2006

slow, pleasant, charming, delightful: terror-free alternative intercontinental transportation

The official souvenir postcard of the Polish ocean liner TS/S (Turbine Steam Ship) Stefan Batory (1968-88) -- made into a stamp from Postalo Vleeptron. She was the last regularly-scheduled trans-Atlantic ocean liner.

Painting thought to be by maritime artist A. Werka.

I sailed from London (Tilbury) to Montreal aboard one of her final voyages, the adventure and pleasure of a lifetime. The captain steered us within sight of the same North Atlantic icebergs that sank the Titanic. (And I got an e-mail from another passenger who told me that on his voyage, the Batory STRUCK an iceberg, and had to limp in a steep list to Montreal, to keep the iceberg gash above the water.)

I am told there's a movement in Europe, a reaction to American Fast Food, called the Slow Food movement -- a return to restaurants that offer leisurely dining, so you can chat, gaze into your lover's eyes for an hour, and not get heartburn.

I recommend a return to Slow Travel -- getting from continent to continent aboard one of these magical sailing machines. Sleep in a comfortable bunk. Take a shower when you like. Hang around in your favorite intimate little bar/saloon where you can meet lovely interesting people and talk with them for days, hear their travel adventures. And whenever you like, watch the magnificent ocean, see some of its amazing creatures. And each night gaze up into skies and stars more clear than you've ever seen before.

Were you REALLY in such a hurry to cross each ocean? How did you feel when your plane landed? Imagine ending your intercontinental trip refreshed, relaxed, healthy, happy, thrilled, delighted.

Ocean liners have from time to time been attacked by pirates off the east African coast -- unsuccessfully. One Mediterranean liner was hijacked by terrorists in the 1980s, and a passenger was murdered.

If you don't like these odds, stay home (and be careful not to be run over by a bus as you cross the street).


~ ~ ~

My Ship

music: Kurt Weill
lyrics: Ira Gershwin

from the Broadway musical "Lady in the Dark"

My ship has sails that are made of silk
The decks are trimmed with gold
And of jam and spice
There's a paradise
In the hold

My ship's aglow with a million pearls
And rubies fill each bin
The sun sits high
In a sapphire sky
When my ship comes in

I can wait the years
Till it appears
One fine day one spring
But the pearls and such
They won't mean much
If there's missing just one thing

I do not care if that day arrives
That dream need never be
If the ship I sing
Doesn't also bring
My own true love to me

If the ship I sing
doesn't also bring
My own true love to me

10 comments:

Jim Olson said...

Bob:

Be sure to tell them about the book I have that has the Stefan Batory in it...I always love your stories about the Stefan Batory. Gotta say though, I think the Cunard Line had regularly scheduled Atlantic Crossings after the TS/S S.B. was hauled off for scrap.

Jim Olson said...

Oh, right. I still have the book.

from pg. 135 of "The Atlantic Liners" by Frederick Emmons, (Bonanza Books, NYC, NY 1972)

"...TS/S Stefan Batory, '36 (1936-1951) (1957,1969) 14, 294, 526'X70' twin screw motorship, 18 knots. Built by Cantieri Riuniti dell' Adriatico. M.V. Gydnia-New York, 18 May 1936. Converted to Allied troop ship 1939; resumed passenger service May 1947. Involved in several political incidents which resulted in denial of entry to the Port of New York, 1951; transferred to Gdynia-Bombay, Karachi service. Returned to trans-atlantic service 1957. Converted to floating hotel at Gdansk 1969. Broken up for scrap and salvage Hong Kong, 1971.

Jim Olson said...

Oh, right. I still have the book.

from pg. 135 of "The Atlantic Liners" by Frederick Emmons, (Bonanza Books, NYC, NY 1972)

"...TS/S Stefan Batory, '36 (1936-1951) (1957,1969) 14, 294, 526'X70' twin screw motorship, 18 knots. Built by Cantieri Riuniti dell' Adriatico. M.V. Gydnia-New York, 18 May 1936. Converted to Allied troop ship 1939; resumed passenger service May 1947. Involved in several political incidents which resulted in denial of entry to the Port of New York, 1951; transferred to Gdynia-Bombay, Karachi service. Returned to trans-atlantic service 1957. Converted to floating hotel at Gdansk 1969. Broken up for scrap and salvage Hong Kong, 1971.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen,
The proper name of the described here ship is m/s "Batory".
"Stefan Batory" was another (steam turbine driven ship)
Kris

Bob Merkin said...

the ship i took from Tilbury to Rotterdam to Montreal was the TSS Stefan Batory, I still got souvenirs, it was run by the Socialist Hero Polish Government. Please cite your sources.

also you are an anonymous driveby comment, you got no link or i.d., I don't even know why I suffer your comment to remain.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous as well but the Stefan Batory he was refering to was one that was scrapped in 2000 in Turkey and did its last trans atlantic in 1988...the other was Batory which was scrapped in 1971 in Hong Kong.

Vleeptron Dude said...

Are people embarrassed or ashamed that they know stuff about small-to-medium size transatlantic passenger liners which no longer exist? They don't want anybody to know who they are?

Betcha what's left of the passenger ocean industry, and the trains, are getting a lot of phone inquiries this season from travellers who, until very recently, flew from continent to continent.

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