SS United States – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

SS United States

Current docking place of the SS United States, the fastest transatlantic ocean liner. 


With the highest-ever sustained top speed of 35 knots, the SS United States is the world’s fastest ocean liner. While the United States lost the eastbound transatlantic speed record in 1990 to Hoverspeed Great Britain, it still holds the Blue Riband for the westbound transatlantic speed record.

Launched in 1952, this ship’s maiden voyage set the record for the fastest transatlantic trip by an ocean liner. This honor, known as the Blue Riband, was previously held by the Queen Mary. The ship uses an extremely powerful steam turbine engine and it is hailed as a fireproof ship. The only wood on board is the butcher’s block and a specially designed, flame-resistant grand piano.

The luxurious vessel was retired from active service in 1969 and has had several owners since that time. The huge propellers were removed and one is at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, and another at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. A third propeller is at the SUNY Maritime College at Fort Schuyler, New York. Much of the interior dining room furnishings are in the Windmill Point Restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina.

SS United States Conservancy purchased the ship in February 2011 and is working on plans to restore it.

Know Before You Go

The ship is easily visible from shore and Interstate 95, directly across Columbus Boulevard from the Philadelphia IKEA store.

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