A long time fixture on the Great Lakes, and even longer as a tied up hulk on Windsor’s West Side, the S.S. Aquarama, is nearing the end of her days, and is awaiting the end in a Turkish Scrapyard.

The postcard above was postmarked 1957 and the caption on the back read as follows:

“AQUARAMA”, new luxurious passenger cruiser on the Great Lakes.
WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA

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News of her demise was carried in the Muskegon Chronicle
. As I’m not sure how long their archives stay, up, there’s a copy below:

Former cruise ship Aquarama to be scrapped
Posted by Robert C. Burns September 21, 2007 22:49PM


The SS Aquarama in 1962 – Chronicle file photo

Anointed as “Queen of the Great Lakes” — nearly a city block long and seven stories high — the SS Aquarama is now in a Turkish shipbreaking yard on the verge of becoming a pile of razor blades.

With its stern pointed toward downtown Muskegon, The SS Aquarama was a fixture of the city’s lakefront, if only in the sense that it never once moved from its mooring at the foot of Third Street for 25 years, until a new owner towed it away in 1988.

Jim Plant, for one, was sorry to see it leave.

“I couldn’t believe the turnout when they towed the Aquarama out of here,” says Plant, who serves on the Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Association board.

“It was born here and it spent a lot of its life here. It’s a big part of our history.”

Although most of its life was spent on Lake Erie, sailing between Detroit and Cleveland, many lined up to tour the 520-foot Aquarama during its last week in Muskegon, marveling at its restaurants, bars, lounges, movie theaters and recreation areas, and wishing, perhaps, that things had turned out differently.

Plans by the new owner, Canadian James Everatt, to convert the former cruise ship into a floating hotel and convention center in Port Stanley, Ont., never materialized. Another plan, floated in the mid-1990s, to turn the ship into a huge casino in Buffalo, N.Y., also went bust.

The ship’s final chapter began last July 15 when the rusting behemoth was towed from Buffalo to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, for a two-week layover.


Muskegon community leaders and members of the media board the Great Lakes Cruise Ship Aquarama. Circa 1988. – Chronicle file photo


The SS Aquarama passes through the channel with other boats trailing in her wake. – Chronicle file photo

On Aug. 4, according to a blog at www.maritimematters.com, it was hooked to the Greek tug Aetos Z and towed to the Aegean seaport of Aliaga, Turkey, to be whittled away into scrap.

The ship, worth a reported $1 million as scrap steel, arrived there Aug. 10 and awaits its demise.

Originally built in 1944 as a C-4 military transport called the Marine Star, it was purchased by Sand Products Co. of Detroit in 1953 and towed to Muskegon, where it was retrofitted at a cost of $5 million.

The job was completed in 1955. With its new superstructure, built by Muskegon’s Steel Fabricating Co., the newly rechristened Aquarama was the largest cruise ship on the Great Lakes.

Within three years after the Aquarama was refurbished, the city of Muskegon adopted a “Port City” logo featuring a ship that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Aquarama.

Following shakedown cruises and a series of “goodwill” visits to Great Lakes ports, the Aquarama was put to work as an excursion vessel running between Detroit and Cleveland from 1957-62. However, it proved ill-suited for that use.

For the complete story, return to mlive.com/chronicle on Saturday, or pick up a copy of Saturday’s Muskegon Chronicle.


The SS Aquarama – Chronicle file photo

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Thanks to reader Rich B – Who sent along thoses old Windsor Star scans from his collection:

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Here’s a few more. Thanks to regular reader Shawn Micallef for sending these shots of the Aquarama tied up in Bufflao from November 2006.

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