the most glamorous, the most fashionable, the most modern
ship crossing the ocean, came to epitomize the golden age of luxury sea
travel, a period spanning the late 1920s and the 1930s. More than just
a ship, Normandie provided a tangible link between the opposite coats
of the Atlantic.
liner industry helped to shape the
culture of travel in the 1920s and the 1930s. Tourism emerged as a new
genre of travel, travel-as-entertainment. As a result, advertising and
other media were irrevocably changed by the forces of commercialism.
Further implications of change included and impact on New York City,
specifically in the form of the Art Deco movement. Normandie embodied
the artistic style of the period as well as showcasing the work of many
artists of the day.
Once it embarked, Normandie ceased to be
but a boat, instead casting itself as a platform for the realization,
albeit indiscriminately so, of the innumerable goals that Atlantic
crossing was intended to fulfill. Unfortunately, at sea, crew and
gender dynamics continued unencumbered, while class distinction
flourished. Even so, passengers were drawn to the allure of the
constant presence of celebrity that offered to sea travel both glamour
In the context of the 1920s and 1930s,
Normandie emerged as a symbol of modernity and glamour, a beacon of
hope and a proxy of the elite living experience for everyone else. Film
stars and Hollywood itself, through the medium of movies, cast cruise
liners as alluring and exciting, adding to their mystique and their
appeal, Normandie’s in particular.
inspired future generations of both ship travel and cruise lines,
modernizing design, decoration, and decadence. The last truly great
ship of its kind, Normandie’s tragic end nevertheless left a lasting