It’s July 2, 1978, just after 3:00 a.m. and passengers on the ship S.S. America are angry. So incensed are they that they begin shouting, “We want to get off!” And the chanting is soon followed by violence. It’s a mutiny – but this isn’t a naval insurgence we’re talking about here. Believe it or not, this revolt is on a cruise ship.
Those passengers who arrived at the pier on West 54th street in New York on that July day probably couldn’t believe their luck. Indeed, they’d paid as little as $99 for a two-night cruise from Manhattan. The advertisements for the Venture Cruise Lines trip promised passengers opulence beyond their wildest dreams. The reality, though, would turn out to be far from luxurious.
The journey would be aboard the S.S America, a ship that had once been the pride of the cruising industry. Christened by the then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, at the time it was the biggest, quickest and most luxurious passenger liner around. That, however, was in 1939 – and by 1978, things had gone downhill for the ship.