A Delayed Ship is Made Happy
An incident that, improperly handled, might have resulted in general ill will and dissatisfaction,
resulted instead in one of the most satisfactory relations between Moore-McCormack Lines and the patrons of its passenger ships in the entire history of the company.
The incident in question was based on the failure of the main port propulsion motor of the S.S. Brazil
about 100 miles at sea, following her sailing from Pier 32, North River, New York, the evening of December 10.
It was a sailing of special importance, because many of the passengers were homeward bound to spend
Christmas with their families. Actually, a change of itinerary had been effected to get the ship into Santos before Christmas with 60 passengers en route to the Santos-São Paulo area. Delay was the last thing desired by anyone
But it became obvious to the ship’s staff, after examination, that she must turn back to New York for
repair; the true extent of the injury was not known, and it was hoped that repair might be effected while the ship lay anchored in New York bay, off Staten Island.
With that in mind, a staff of Mooremack men and electricians left Pier 32 by tug at 1700 hrs. on
Saturday, December 11th, met the ship down the bay and boarded her. Examination there revealed that the job would be sizable and that the ship must be brought to her pier.
So the Brazil came up the bay the morning of Sunday, December 12th, to Pier 32, and
there the electricians went to work. Meanwhile, as she lay off Staten Island on Saturday night, the cruise director, C. Philip Braxton and his assistant Nikki Briggs, proceeded with their duties just as if the ship were at sea.
The Brazil, like her sister cruise ship the Argentina, carries a staff of professional
entertainers who add to the pleasures of the normal 38-day cruise to the east coast of South America. These folk proceeded with a show, followed by dancing, the usual midnight snack, and all the fixings.
The evening proved so delightful that a passenger, selected by the entire company, rose and thanked the
company for its splendid efforts in their interest. Meanwhile, assurance was given that everything possible would be done to speed the ship’s movement.
President William T. Moore boarded the ship on her arrival at the pier and after consultation with Albert
J. Keenan, Jr., general passenger traffic manager, H. P. Glennon, Jr., superintendent engineer, and their aides, he issued a statement which was broadcast throughout the ship expressing the hope that repairs could be speeded and
inviting all passengers meanwhile to remain aboard as the company’s guests.
Then started a week-long program designed to make life aboard ship as comfortable and entertaining as was
physically possible. The regular ship’s meals were served in the dining rooms, the purser’s office was staffed to function until 0100 hrs. daily, liaison was set up by the Passenger Department with a staff man permanently
aboard to handle any special problems.
The situation attracted reports from the "New York Times," the "Herald-Tribune" and the "Daily News," and
soon the reading public heard about the incident. In the “Herald-Tribune’s” issue of December 16th, a story appeared, the product of reporter Bob Burns, under the three-column headline "322 Get Free Cruise—At Pier
32." This story was based on a personal visit to the ship by Mr. Burns and a photographer.
The story pointed out that passengers were being given baby sitters for those who wished to go ashore or
stay up late, that motion pictures were shown afternoon and night, that top notch professional entertainers helped make the evenings pleasant, that golfing privileges had been lined up at the Pelham Country Club for those
wishing to play.
Our MOOREMACK NEWS man accompanied Mr. Burns on his rounds, and while a bit biased in the Mooremack
direction he can testify that no more thoroughly satisfied people existed anywhere. Passengers went out of their way to express their pleasure. A 14-year-old told with pleasure about the chef’s having baked a special cake for
his birthday. A Long Island woman en route to visit São Paulo friends asked the reporter please to say nice things about Mooremack. "They’re treating us wonderfully," she said.
The "Herald-Tribune" reporter later quoted Gilberto Amado, Brasilian ambassador to the United Nations,
who was among the passengers, to the effect that "if anybody makes any complaints it is because they haven’t anything else to do."
That seemed hardly possible, there being so much to do. Several dozen copies of each of six New York
daily newspapers were put aboard each day, the ship’s 400-volume library was staffed all day, television sets were set in operation in both first and cabin classes, bridge tournaments were sponsored for the hour between the
movie and dinner, and Eleanor Britton, chief of cruise directors, pulled all possible strings—and she pulled plenty—to get some of New York’s good name entertainers to come aboard and help out. Each night a gala party was
staged in the main lounge, with movies, floor show and dancing.
The story got to South America, too, by way of a tape recording in which Ambassador Amado and other
passengers spoke their satisfaction in their native tongue. By the time the ship sailed, on Friday, December 17th, any possible breach with the passengers, many of whom missed Christmas with their families, had been
more than averted. The Brazil, throughout her stay and when she sailed, was indeed a happy ship, evidence of this lying in the fact that only 14 passengers cancelled because of the delay. Eight new passengers booked.