Swedish American Line,
The Swedish American Line was formed in 1914 to
run passenger and cargo services between Gothenburg and New York. It was
greatly assisted by Sweden's neutrality during the First World War when
Germany's shipping services ceased.
On the 11th of December 1915, the 12 600 tons Swedish America Line steamer "Stockholm" left Gothenburg for the first time. It was a notable day, for never before had there existed a Swedish regular passenger service between Sweden and U.S.A.
The line met with swift success, and in 1919 the British turbine steamer "Virginian", of 11285 tons gross, was bought and renamed the "Drottningholm". In 1923 the company leased the Dutsch passenger steamer Noordam and renamed her Kungsholm, she was returned in the end of 1924, and in 1925, the first transatlantic passenger motor liner in the world was delivered to the line. This vessel, the 18 815 tons "Gripsholm", caused great interest in all maritime nations. In 1928, she was followed by the larger and faster "Kungsholm" of some 21 000 tons gross.
The "Gripsholm" heralded a new aera in the history of the Line, characterized by extensive tourist- and pleasure cruising activities to various parts of the world in addition to the regular Atlantic service. The SAL cruises soon enjoyed wide-spread popularity and progressed so favourably that a new "Stockholm" was ordered. She was to be a 28 000 tons motor ship, specially planned and fitted out for tourist cruising. Owing to the second world war, this vessel was never delivered, and the Line also had to relinquish the "Kungsholm", which was taken over, in 1941, by the US Government for service as a troop ship under the name of "John Ericson". In 1944, an order was placed for a new motor ship of, roughly, the same size as the "Drottningholm". She was, however, to be a very different design, having a distinctly yacht-like exterior. She represented the very latest in passenger accomodation and, incidentally, she was be the first regular Atlantic passenger liner to be built in Sweden.
Services continued, but gradually decreased in the 1960's due to the rise in air travel. By 1970 the company concentrated mostly on cruising and in 1975 their last two ships were sold and Swedish America Line disappeared as passenger ship operators.