SS La Normandie Archival Collection


The New Steamship La Normandie of the French Line. She will travel between New York and Le Havre.

The New Steamship La Normandie of the French Line. She will travel between New York and Le Havre. This Was the First French Line Ship to Have Electric Lighting and Promenade Decks. GGA Image ID # 132c6501b7


La Normandie Cabin Passenger Accommodations and Amenities

La Normandie is the last packet boat that will be demanded of England since, hereafter, the vessels designed for the Company's fleet will be built in French yards.

She comes from the shipyards at Barrow, a place that was a desert beach twenty years ago. Still, today, it is a city of 45,000 souls, thanks to the establishments for naval constructions and a spinning mill that gives employment to the wives and daughters of the ship carpenters.

One of our engravings represents the vessel at the moment of launching. Below and in front of the stem stands a young lady, the godmother of the new horn. Her unfastening of a ribbon sufficed to give the titan its liberty by bringing about the fall of an ax that severed the last rope holding back the cradle.

A packet boat is a traveling hotel. All the luxury and comfort that reigns in our modern hostelries are found on the Transatlantic steamers and carried to the vessel's most extreme limits under consideration.

An examination of the section will show at a glance that the deck has been reserved for general service, the officers' and engineers' quarters, the smoking saloon, the vestibules for first and second-class passengers, etc.

Above the deck, on a level with the roof of the cabins, there is a light bridge to serve as a promenade for the passengers, and overlooking this is the bridge for the captain.

Orders are given utilizing a speaking tube and telegraphic apparatus. Still, if needed, the captain can steer the vessel by pressing his finger upon a servo-motor. This steam apparatus acts upon the rudder.

The passenger cabins are between decks. Passengers of the first class occupy the central part of the ship, contrary to the old arrangement, which is located in the back part of the vessel.

There the oscillations due to rolling and pitching and to the revolution of the screw are less perceptible. The grand dining saloon reaches from larboard to starboard and measures 15 meters wide by 11 in length and 2'6 in height.

It is lighted by portlights set in frames of onyx. Around this saloon are distributed staterooms for 157 passengers, some designed for a single person, others for two, and some for families.

A lounge for ladies bathing saloons and staterooms for servants is within easy access.

Save for the beauty of the decoration and furniture. The arrangements are identical for the smoking saloons and the second-class cabins for 68 passengers in the back part of the ship. (1)


Steerage - Single Cabin Holds 866 Berths

Emigrants or third-class passengers are installed on the third deck in a cabin containing 866 berths. The hotel part of the ship is heated in winter by a circulation of steam, and the vessel is lighted by electricity at night. Two machines of 40 HP each furnish this latter.

Thirteen large arc lamps facilitate the general service. The saloons and cabins are lighted in the interior by 400 Swan incandescent lamps.

As well known, it is forbidden aboard passenger ships to keep a light in the staterooms after a particular hour. As there is no danger of fire from electric lamps, passengers will only have to touch a button to relight their lamp and enjoy light all night. (1)


Front Cover, CGT French Line SS La Normandie Cabin Passenger List - 30 June 1888.

1888-06-30 SS La Normandie Passenger List

Steamship Line: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique / French Line (CGT)

Class of Passengers: Cabin

Date of Departure: 30 June 1888

Route: Le Havre to New York

Commander: Captain G. de Kersabiec


Detained at Quarantine on Account of Smallpox.

The French Line steamer SS La Normandie, which arrived at New York port from Havre on 20 November 1898, was detained in quarantine because of two cases of smallpox aboard. Both were Syrian children who were taken ill during the voyage. The steamer was released after vaccinating the steerage passengers and disinfecting the vessel. (2)



  1. "The Transatlantic Company's New Steamer La Normandie," in Scientific American Supplement, Vol. XV, No. 356, 6 January 1883, p. 5831
  2. "American News and Notes," in The Philadelphia Medical Journal, Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Medical Publishing Company, Vol. II, No. 13, 25 November 1898, p. 1101.


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