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Love Aboard the Big U

Happy Valentine's Day from the SS United States Conservancy!

In anticipation of this day, we recently put a call out to our supporters, asking for stories of love and romance from aboard America's Flagship.

Today, as promised, we're sharing our favorite submission. It comes from Maud Tarrant of Larchmont, NY, who has won our grand prize: a tour of the SS United States!

Maud sent in some excerpts from her diary, recalling memories of a shipboard romance with a man named Mark on board the Big U in 1961. Though their time together was short, Maud’s words are proof that even fleeting encounters can leave a lifelong glow.

September 1, 1961 - "At 7 PM I joined my cabinmates for cocktails in the lounge, then to dinner, then back to the lounge. A game of Bingo was in process… Later that evening I man I had not yet seen approached me and said, “voulez vous danser avec moi?” I said, “mais certainment!” I was in a trance. Here stood the most handsome and attractive man. He was a marvelous dancer. We did tango plus every other dance we could think of. When the dancing was over it was 4:00 AM and we went up on the deck. The moon was very bright and the stars were shining. It was very calm and beautiful. We talked about places we had been and what lay ahead for each of us…"


September 4, 1961 - "I met Mark in the lounge at 3:00 PM. We sat and talked and then at 4:00 we went to the movies. The movie was 'Back Street' with John Gavin and Susan Hayward. After the movie, Mark went to pack and I went to change for dinner.

Mark came for me at 9:00 PM and he ordered cocktails in his stateroom, and then we went to dance. Mark and I didn’t dance with anyone else. I had my bottle of champagne served and right before it came, someone asked me to get up and sing. I did so and another bottle of champagne arrived. We danced until 3:00 AM. We all sat around and sang songs from different countries. It was all fun but we were very sad. We would be docking soon.

During the whole trip I had felt very strange. I was still hanging onto what I had left behind and I didn't know what lay ahead. It made me feel all twisted up inside.

Soon the wonderful voyage would be over. Mark and I would go our separate ways."


September 5, 1961 - "At 4:00 AM, Mark and I went up on deck. There were hundreds of lights lining the harbor of Le Havre. What a beautiful sight! The Liberté was docked in front of us. We walked along the deck and I felt tears come to my eyes… Mark put his arms around me and we stood still and took it all in. At 5:00 AM the sun began rising behind the hills of France... After we had breakfast Mark went to get his luggage. I watched him in silence as he went to the main deck. He turned and kissed me and didn’t say a word. Then he turned and walked away…"

The SS United States has created unforgettable memories for countless former passengers and crew. We can save this magnificent vessel for future generations, but we need your help.

Do you have memories of your time aboard America’s Flagship? Send us an email at

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