What If Normandie Never Burned?

A question that I initially asked myself when I first learned of her tragic (unnecessary, stupid) demise, but didn't start seriously thinking about until I watched this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=988gFzW4U_8

Since then I also managed to find one other AU written online, but I don't remember which site it was nor will I bother looking for it right now. Instead, I want to know what you guys think would have happened. How accurate would you say the above video is?

My personal opinion is that Normandie, alongside the Queens, would have shortened the war by an even greater margin, long story short. Upon returning to civilian service, if the French really wanted her to compete with the Mary, they would have updated her interiors to be less extravagant and more comfortable for people from all walks of life.

If they wanted to still compete with her in speed, especially since plans for building her fleetmate, Bretagne, would have likely been financially impossible due to France still recovering from the war, then maybe they would've done something like what they did in the video, in giving her two funnels instead of 3, both to reflect Bretagne and also Ile de France which as we all know lost a funnel (which imo made her look better) and increasing her horsepower. Future post on that coming soon, but should they have done that, then I am all but certain she would have beaten the Mary for good.

All these changes made, she would go on to become a very popular and profitable ship, and come the jet age I feel she could've made a good change into cruising. At least briefly, before factors like her deep draft and high fuel consumption came into play. Upon retiring, I could see her being turned into a hotel. She was France's most famous ship after all. Something serious would've had to happen (like with the Norway) to prevent this.


I read elsewhere on this sub that the Normandie's tourist class left a lot to be desired. If she were to have a successful career into the rising affluence of the middle class, she would need some serious retooling on the interior.


Had she survived she would come back a completely different ship. Tourist class would be expanded or just merged with third, her first class fittings would be redone to make her more appealing, and air conditioning would be added so she could do more cruises in the winter. Given how fire so easily destroyed the Bremen, Rex, and Savoia, CGT would also probably modify her open spaces. She would still have 3 funnels since the forward two were the ones connected to boilers and removing the third would ruin the balance of the ship. After retirement, absolutely she would be a hotel and museum, probably restored to her glamorous 1930’s interiors as well. Also if Normandie did win the speed record, Cunard probably would allow the Elizabeth to run at her full potential (around 31 knots) to win it back.


Normandie's fire control systems would have saved the ship if they hadn't been intentionally disconnected during the conversion process.


Normandie's fire control systems were designed to cordon off sections of her interior. The US Navy disconnected the system during the haphazard conversion so it was non-operational when it was needed the most. I don't think CGT would've needed to divide up her spaces.


As much as I love her the Normandie would've been scrapped. The ile de France was more beloved and there was a huge outcry over it but in the end she sill went to the breakers in Japan. The Queen Mary got lucky in that she lasted as long as she did and that Long Beach had the offshore oil revenue coming in for the conversion. With the Queen Elizabeth and Port Everglades and even the QE2 we saw how hard it is to do and I don't see anyone else being able to do it, especially before the Queen Mary.


This is the sad truth, and it’s really just wishful thinking to believe that she would have persisted to this day. In addition, everybody is discounting the possibility that she may have just ended up on the bottom of the sea due to either a German torpedo, or being bombed.


She would have gone into the war and then converted back to passenger ship with updates and changes to make the passenger accommodations more versatile and nicer.


I don’t see them removing her third funnel, nothing would be accomplished by doing it and it would ruin her profile. It was put there purely for aesthetic purposes, nothing they do to the ship would require removing it. I do see them massively refitting her interiors though since she didn’t have mass appeal.


I mean, if it's purely for aesthetics, then that's probably a lot of steel, no?


Sure, but it wasn’t waste space, they used it for the [dog kennels](https://i.imgur.com/G7JWhJY.jpg). If they got rid of it, they’d have to allocate interior space for them.


"Sorry y'all, Navy needs the steel. The funnel's gotta go." "Well, where on this big ol' ship are we gonna put all the ding dang dogs?"


Why would the navy need that steel badly enough post war to strip it off a ship that was using it? The US didn’t strip it off when they seized the ship during the war, and wasn’t going to, there’s no reason France would destroy the look of their countries iconic flagship post war.


The Liberté's interiors were quite opulent, if not a bit more stark than those of the Normandie so I don't see the CGT "toning down" Normandie's interiors. Furthermore, the Normandie's three-stack profile was iconic and used frequently as a generic ship design for toys, posters, etc. so I doubt they would change it. Would she have been saved from the scrapyard? The Ile de France, Liberté and France were all fine vessels, but neither one of them became an icon so they weren't saved. Normandie was the flagship of an entire country so she would've stood a good chance of preservation. EDIT: spelling


I'm sorta curious what would happen to *Europa* then. Perhaps she'd have gone to Canadian Pacific Lines to replace the *Empress of Britain*.


If the beautiful SS Normandie had survived World war 2 she could well have had a successful career and been preserved as a museum ship and hotel. She was the apotheosis of art deco of the thirties extremely luxurious and technically advanced. My dream scenario is she was left intact due to dispute between her owners and the US - the French Line refused to allow her to be taken over stating her unsuitability as a troopship due to her vast open spaces inside on C deck and promenade deck which would have been difficult to isolate in case of fire with the proposed number of troops aboard. After a long dispute in the courts the US government were persuaded to instead leave the French in charge of the ship and she was used only for French war effort to entertain French officers and accommodate visiting French politicians and navy top brass. When the war ended she was eventually returned to France and berthed in the dry dock at St. Nazaire and readied for her return to commercial service. Her popularity grew in the immediate post war years as she was patronised by wealthy Americans keen to visit Europe after years of being confined to their home country. Her sumptuous deco interiors were popular with millionaires and celebrities and she became more and more appreciated for her exclusivity on lengthy cruises between her transatlantic crossings in a similar way to the Caronia of 1947. Having started before the war with her Raymond. Whitcomb cruises the French Line realised that as a super luxury one class cruise ship limited to first class only she was in great demand and could at last turn a profit. As the revenue increased there was funding to improve her performance for example her boilers were replaced with more efficient but fewer boilers of an updated design which greatly improved her fuel efficiency and also speed enabling her to recapture the blue ribband on her Atlantic service. On cruises she sailed at a slower speed which also reduced her running costs and increased her profitability packed as she was with millionaires ready to spend and enjoy her sybaritic delights. As the sixties and jet age dawned out of all the great liners she remained exceedingly popular as a cruise ship but undertook less and less Atlantic crossings. During this time Art Deco became very popular as a style once more and her vast frescoes and magnificent art work was reappraised and received recognition as one of the greatest examples of a coherent decorative scheme from the thirties. Later still she was retired but with her huge worldwide popularity it was decided by the French government that she would be preserved as a museum and hotel and convention centre as she exemplified the best of French design technical achievement and decorative arts. At rest at last in a suitable dry dock or anchorage perhaps in the south of France she remains to this day a very popular tourist attraction visited by admirers from across the world as well as her native land and is still considered by maritime historians and engineers as arguably the most perfect ocean liner ever constructed.


You might want to delete this and reply to the OP.


How rude ! And why - The original post is also hypothetical so I don't see why I shouldn't give a hypothetical answer. In imagination there are no limits


I'm not criticizing your imagination. I just don't see how your response relates to my comment, so I don't understand why you replied to my comment and not the original post.