Shipping Line owners engaged in competition with each other to produce the fastest and most luxurious ships afloat. One of these opulent ships was the Ile de France. This 1927 account gives a description of this magnificent ship:
ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN” might be a fitting motto for the new French liner, which has just been welcomed to New York on her maiden voyage from Havre; for every phase of worldly and unworldly inclination seems to have been provided for in the huge steamship’s design.
Crossing the pond in her sumptuous precincts, the art lover may find a wealth of study in the realm of modern decoration, the devotee may seek contemplation in an exquisite and duly consecrated chapel, two decks in height, with organ and all complete; the boulevardier may sun himself in a sea-going cafe of the Parisian sidewalk type, the casual traveler may experiment in endless gymnastic and recreational novelties, and the children may ride on a merry-go-round. As an example of the “colossal luxury “of the vessel’s appointments, we are told that in the center of the dining-room, which seats 600 persons, “there is a fountain of round gold and silver pipes, with a center silver light. Mural paintings by noted French artists cover the walls. The approach to the tea-room on the upper deck is by two wrought-iron gates. The walls have 398 panels set in silver frames.” Myron T. Herrick, United States Ambassador to France, who was not the least distinguished of the new liner’s passengers, remarked, after describing the happy international influence of Lindbergh’s flight to Paris, that the arrival in New York of the Ile de France was in the nature of a return visit to that of the Spirit of St. Louis, and that those two maiden voyages were “strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two great republics.” Here is the New York World’s account of the liner’s arrival, with a description of her main features:
Breaking the record for steamers of the Compagnie Transatlantique, the new French liner Ile de France arrived here yesterday on the first half of her maiden voyage, having taken five days and eight hours to cross from Plymouth, England, to Ambrose Lightship.
A three-funnel ship, with the black band and red funnel markings of the French Line, she resembles the Paris, except for a slight increase in size. Her 41,000 tons make her the sixth largest ship in the world, with a length of 791 feet and a beam of 84 feet, with engines of 52,000 horse-power, capable of developing a speed of 24.5 knots.