Traversing the North Atlantic


While air turbulence is now familiar to airline passengers, the heavy toiling of an ocean liner crossing the stormy North Atlantic is quite another issue. Judith repeatedly referred to the constant pitching of the ship as being disruptive to sleep and relaxation. Thankfully, she made no mention of the seasickness that afflicted many passengers during rough crossings.

“Man, this thing rolls and rolls. I guess this is what is known as pitching and tossing on the great ocean.”

“The boat had been steady and suddenly it began its usual lurching.”

“The ship is rolling so that it’s nearly impossible to stand. We have hit some very rough water. I am moved right off the bed where I’m sitting with each successive roll.”

“I awoke about three times with the pitching of the ship.”

The North Atlantic is prone to heavy fog that can significantly impede visibility. Cold temperatures, rain, and overcast skies were common and could make ventures onto the deck discomforting.

“It was sunny today – one good thing anyway. First sunny day we’ve hand out of Boston.”

“I took a very brief turn around the deck today – very cold, foggy, and raining quite hard.”

This 1958 brochure provides details about Sylvania’s North Atlantic route from New York to Liverpool. (Morse Collection)