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SS United States, Philadelphia

4.3
#66 of 72 in Sightseeing in Philadelphia
Tourist Spot Ship
SS United States is a luxury passenger liner built in 1952 for United States Lines designed to capture the trans-Atlantic speed record.Built at a cost of $79.4 million the ship is the largest ocean liner constructed entirely in the U.S. and the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic in either direction. Even in her retirement, she retains the Blue Riband, the accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the highest speed.Her construction was subsidized by the U.S. government, since she was designed to allow conversion to a troopship should the need arise. United States operated uninterrupted in transatlantic passenger service until 1969. Since 1996 she has been docked at Pier 82 on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.Design and constructionInspired by the exemplary service of the British liners and, which transported hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to Europe during World War II, the U.S. government sponsored the construction of a large and fast merchant vessel that would be capable of transporting large numbers of soldiers. Designed by renowned American naval architect and marine engineer William Francis Gibbs (1886–1967), the liner's construction was a joint effort between the United States Navy and United States Lines. The U.S. government underwrote $50 million of the $78 million construction cost, with the ship's operators, United States Lines, contributing the remaining $28 million. In exchange, the ship was designed to be easily converted in times of war to a troopship with a capacity of 15,000 troops, or to a hospital ship.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
19 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This majestic ship who still holds the speed record for crossing the Atlantic today lies rusting across from Ikea and Chic Fil A. This ship is worth seeing and saving. Consider donating to the conserv...  more »
  • This attraction can be viewed from afar, and while weathered is a great photo op. There are no regular tours as she is berthed in a secure port area. We were only able to see it up-close due to specia...  more »
  • As you drive up I-95 or stop for shopping at IKEA you will see the SS United States in her dilapidated splendor, moored for the past 20 years at Pier 82 in the Delaware River. Rusted and stripped of h...  more »
Google
  • Flying into Philadelphia I looked down from the plane and there she was the S.S. United States. Even thousands of feet in the air there was no mistaking the ship. I was so glad to see she was safe at home. I traveled to see her up close. It was an amazing sight. However, it was very sad to see such a wonderful ship in such forgotten condition. Hopefully, the American people will somehow see fit that she is restored and not lost to history.
  • As we were driving on the highway through Philadelphia I saw the funnels (smoke stacks) of an enormous ship and I immediately looked it up. The result was a ship named the S.S. United States. This ship was once the crown jewel of the fleet of luxury liners that carried passengers across The Atlantic. It set a speed record that still stands today (around 36 knots). The S.S. United States was the highlight of my time in Philadelphia and you can’t even get that close to it, that’s how amazing it is. The ship is an amazing piece of history and hopefully funds can be raised to help restore it. If you have an opportunity to drive up near it (you can’t get too close) you definitely should, its a great piece of history.
  • It should be renovated as hotel /multi function resort and docked at it's original home, Pier 86 (or Pier 84) in NYC next to USS Intrepid
  • Great experience standing that close to a part of HISTORY. #RestoreThatOldShip
  • I was a passenger aboard the SS United States about fifty years ago traveling with my family from France to New York. My father was an Army officer on his way to Vietnam. The voyage was one that I will never forget. Soon after that, the ship was put into retirement where she sat for the past half century. A couple years ago I was crossing the Delaware and seen the faded red white and blue smoke stacks. I turned around to check her out. I was amazed. After all these year, she still looked as magnificent as when I first seen her. The paint was peeling and she had a lot of rust, but still floating. I hope we can breathe new life into her. She is worthy of saving as she is very much a part of our American history.

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Where to stay in Philadelphia

Most of Philadelphia's hotels cluster around the compact city center, ensuring quick and easy access to major tourist sights and activities. The only drawback to staying in this area is the lack of free parking, so if you're exploring by car, considering booking into a bed and breakfast in one of the city's residential blocks. Visitors planning on longer stays can also consider several apartment hotels, offering spacious furnished units with complimentary Wi-Fi, free bike rentals, and access to rooftop terraces.
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