SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire,
France, for the French Line Compagnie Générale
Transatlantique (CGT). She entered service in 1935 as the
largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the
most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship
Her novel design and lavish interiors led many to consider
her the greatest of ocean liners. Despite this, she was not
a commercial success and relied partly on government subsidy
to operate. During service as the flagship of the CGT, she
made 139 westbound transatlantic crossings from her home
port of Le Havre to New York. Normandie held the Blue Riband
for the fastest transatlantic crossing at several points
during her service career, during which the RMS Queen Mary
was her main rival.
During World War II, Normandie was seized by U.S.
authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette. In 1942,
the liner caught fire while being converted to a troopship,
capsized onto her port side and came to rest on the mud of
the Hudson River at Pier 88, the site of the current New
York Passenger Ship Terminal. Although salvaged at great
expense, restoration was deemed too costly and she was
scrapped in October 1946.