Karl R. Josker |
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Built in 1945 by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Chester, PA, and launched as the Marine Star.
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My mother and I sailed from Detroit to Cleveland to visit family on the SS Aquarama the summer of 1960. I was 15, and that was my first cruise on a "big" ship. I've never forgotten that adventure, and to my surprise, many years later, when I was living in Buffalo, NY, working on my Ph.D. at the University of Buffalo, the Aquarama seemed to have followed me to that destination. I was saddened to hear that efforts to turn her into a cruise ship in that local area failed. Memories, memoris.
mary beth ozar katz
I worked on the good ship in 1959-1962. It paid my way through college. It was a beautiful place to spend the summers. I had so many good friendships made. Most of the kids I hung with came from Kent State and Miami of Ohio. I would love to be in touch with any of them now.
My mother was on the ship several times. She concluded that all of us worked very hard, but we also played harder.
If any of my crew mates read this and want to connect I am:
Mary Beth Ozar Katz now in Alabama
Point of clarification, guys. Marine Star or S.S. Aquarama was towed to Aligia, Turkey 6 years ago and cut up. There are images of it online at the scrapping beach with it's stem cut off and with most of it's superstructure removed and scattered as scrap.
Aligia is known among ship owners as a world center of scrapping. And guess what's just arrived there. The 42 year-old Pacific Princess has been sold for $3.3 million as scrap. Never heard of her? We knew her better in the 1970s as TV's Love Boat.
The ship was towed to South Africa and scrapped a few years ago. So sad. I produced a documentary about the MILWAUKEE CLIPPER (the ship that the Aquarama was going to replace), and the program has some great footage of the Aquarama sailing on the Great Lakes w/passengers in it's heyday. I also interviewed the ship's captain, Morgan Howell (no relation) about 11 years ago. He was quite a character and a great man w/tons of stories. Many say that the Aquarama was "top-heavy" and hard to maneuver on the Great Lakes. But, I've heard from many experts that all the ship needed were some bow thrusters. Also, if she was going to operate from Muskegon (her home port) to Milwaukee, the city of Milwaukee would have needed to dredge the pathway. The leaders in Milwaukee at the time decided against it so the Aquarama sat in Muskegon for around 20 years. She was a great ship w/so many great features. Too bad she was scrapped. -Mark Howell, Filmmaker, Venice, CA (BUILDING THE MIGHTY MAC, THE MILWAUKEE CLIPPER, BEFORE THE BIRDGE,EDISON) HowellFilm@gmail.com
I won the twist dance contest on the Aquarama in 1961 or 1962 . I was on the ship with a group of girls from the University of Detroit. I loved to dance and did not have a partner. I saw a guy looking like he wanted to dance. I grabbed him and we won. I received a rhinestone watch that I still have....not sure if it's valuable now. Sorry to hear that she's gone.
I have a poster of the aquarama from the gift shop on board still in the tube it was bought the one end of the poster is a little bit wrinkled and scuffed. I would like to sell it to a person who collects Aquarama products so let me know
My dad worked for the ad agency that worked on the advertising campaign when she went into the Detroit-to-Cleveland service run. My family got to ride from Detroit to Cleveland and back. I had the chance to--very, very briefly--handle the wheel. It was an all-day trip and I remember hanging over the balcony with some of the other kids watching the dinner show and seeing the sun setting behind Lake Erie as we steamed back to the Motor City.
William Gallery, Jr.
I remember when my father, Rear Admiral William O. Gallery, was in charge of renovating the Aquarama as a cruise ship in the middle '50s. It was docked at the end of Navy pier in Chicago. I toured it but never got to sail on it.
Gwen Schmiedeknecht-Howe- I worked on the ship during the early 60's in S&S, Mariner's Bar, and the main bat. Got real tired of hearing "Donkey Seranade" from the floor show on each trip over and back. When the ship was taken away from Muskegon Corkey O"Rourke and Diane Milenski came to my place and we tour a final tour of the shup. Pictures ended up in quite a few Michigan newspapers. Has anyone heard from or know what became of Stan Moksy? Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. gwenethhowe @yahoo.com
Gwen Schmiedelnecht-Howe--- I worked on the Aquarama during the early 60's. Corky O'Rourke-Thomas and Diane Milenowski took a tour which ended up on quite a few papers in Michigan. I had a ball, met some really great people and even made some money while thereabove spending money. Has anyone know what happened to Stan Moski? I worked in the Sandwhich shoppe ,Mariner's Bar, and Main Bar. Got really tired od hearing "Donkey Saranade" by the end of the summer. Would love to hear from any one who might remember. firstname.lastname@example.org
My father, Mike Canfield, was a bartender on the Aquarama for the summer of 1959. We are sitting around this evening, listening to stories. Although he was a bartender, he says he was coaxed into singing with one of the barmaids -Jeanie(?).
Michael J. Nutt
According to an online search, all plans to renovate her and put her back in service failed. She was towed to Turkey and scrapped in 2007. VERY sad! Another piece of history is gone.
You would think that the beauty of the Great Lakes would support operations of cruise ships during the summer months, perhaps being utilized in the Carribean during the winter. After several ships were operating on the Great Lakes a half dozen years ago (and the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron was renovated to serve them), they too have all left the lakes......
I POSTED ONE OTHER TIME SEVERAL YEARS AGO. JUST CHECKED OUT THE SITE AGAIN, AND I WONDER WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING TO THE AQUARAMA SINCE. AGAIN, NEVER FORGET THE WONDERFUL TIME I HAD ON THAT BEAUTIFUL SHIP. I SURE WISH THEY HAD SOMETHING LIKE THAT AGAIN IN CHICAGO. MARY JANETOS
Dave & Joanne
In 1959, my wife and I took the Aquarama to Detroit with our car soon after we were married. I remember eating a meal with the Captian, on his invitation, somewhere on board, and buying a set of poker cards, (that I still have) along with other souvenirs. It was a fun trip.
Went on the Aquarama a looooong time ago. I still have the little wooden sewing machine souvnir. :)
I remember the Aquarama very well... and I saved many souvenir from her as a boy.. I am looking for any items or souvenirs from this beautiful old ship. I am also presently writing an article about the Aquarama. Feel free to contact me.
If memory serves me well, it was '57 (maybe '58) that our family travelled from Detroit to Cleveland on the Aguarama, visited family friends, and returned several days later. It was thrilling on the way there, but what made the trip back most exciting was that the NY Yankees were on board traveling from a series with the Indians to play the Tigers. My kids think I made up this story. I'd sure like to get some outside confirmation about this. Any suggestions?
I recall taking a trip on the Aquarama when I was a kid in Cleveland the tip to Detroit and back seemed to take forever. Later when I was a student at the Cleveland Institute of art one of my classmates John McIntire, used to work on board doing portraits of the passengers.
He wore a black striped T-shirt, beret, and red scarf being the Artiste. I was surprised by how much cash he would make in such a short time.
I remember the Aquarama sitting derelict at the foot of Mill st. in Windsor late 90's. I used to sit and look at this glorious ship and wonder where it came from and what it did. I almost got one of the workers on it to give me a tour but he was unable to as his boss was expected to arrive when we made the appointment. This is a very nice site and seeing what i missed in that tour helps put my wonder to rest. I was sad when they towed it away and upset now that i read it has been dismanteled...what a Shame
As a child i remember the hull of the to be Aquaram being towed into Muskegon, mi. Often i would go down to the dock and watch the refitting of her. I recall Hiller and Guern metal fabricating co. assembling the stainless steel galley anf bright work on her. She was truely a work of art. She had escalators and several bars and resembled a quality luxury liner in every way. The McKeys wanted nothing but the best. Thanks for the great site. I have obtained pics of her in tow from Buffalo. If you are interested E-Mail me. Thanks Jack Kinney
As a kid whenever we would come to downtown Muskegon for the Seaway festival or to an event at the LC Walker arena, that ship would be there, it's enchanting and even haunting sillohette rising up out of the lake. The way it was moored with it's bow to the shore made it look even more mysterious. Even as a kid I knew it was a special craft, signifying an era. It's really a one of a kind, and historic especially to the great lakes. It's a fond piece of my childhood. Well nothing lasts forever, but this website is the next best thing. Thanks a bunch, it brings back a lot of memories. I would have loved to tour that thing, even in it's beat up condition. It's a floating piece of history, as close as you'll ever get to a step back in time. Well at least we still have the Clipper in Muskegon.
Hi Dusty, I know what you mean. I was on the Aquarama only once, but it made a huge impression on me and I loved it. Over the years I always wondered where it was and finally back several years ago I found it. I went to where it was docked outside of Buffalo and took pictures of it. I had always hoped they would save it and make the ship into something that would keep it going for many years. I was really sad that it was scraped and consider it a bad choice. It sounds like you have many memories and I hope you keep them and remember the good times always. Best Wishes, Don
I was on the ship many times as a little girl from 1959 through 1961 when it sailed from Cleveland to Detroit. What pleasant memories and strong memories, as well. I tried to check online periodically over the years to see where she was, but I had not checked in 2 years until now, and when I saw the pictures of it being scrapped, I really cried. It felt like a part of my life was gone---and it was.
My grandparents lived in Amherstburg, Ontario and my cousin and I used to swim in the huge "rollers" the Aquarama would make as it came from Lake Erie into the Detroit River and Leamington Channel.
My great grandmother Lillian Trypus used to work as a maid on the Aquarama ship and my father owns a "29X"20 in. framed portrait of the the ship in its original condition. If there are any interested buyers, e-mail me at email@example.com
Before the ship was towed from Muskegon Michigan, the new owners opened it for tours. The ship was refited in the early 60's, towed to Muskegon and there it sat till 1987 when it was sold. The old owners keep it in tiptop condition through the years. I took the tour in 1987 and it was like stepping back into time. All the furnishings still looked like new. There was a VW bus inside with 163 miles on it. They were selling plates, matchbooks.etc with the Aquarama name on them. Wish I would have bought something now.
On Aug. 4 the Aquarama was towed from Trois Ri Dievios Quebec by the Greek Tug Aetos 2 destined for the breakers at Aliaga, Turkey. (according to Maritime Matters) A sad ending to a Grand lady of the Lakes.
Hi. The Aquarama has been my favorite ship since I first saw her in Muskegon. I am looking to buy some photos of her on her last tow from her departure from the Cargill dock to whereever she is headed now. Please contact me at
Roxy@altelco.net. Thanks very much.
We observed the Aquarama being towed down the St. Lawrence River at Ogdensburg about noon on 18 July 07 apparently headed for the ship breakers overseas. It is always a sad sight to see a vessel headed that way.
Ships are not towed to Alang to become cruise ships again. The Aquarama is seeing her final days! Sad but true.
Will be so different to see her gone. I hope it doesnt end up as scrap.. I have pictures of the unearthing of the anchor, which was buried 150 feet from the ship. Anyone interested please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
She left the dock today by tug.
Check www.boatnerd.com. Go to the news page and read about the tow. Scroll down the news page a check the news gallery. There are some photos of the 3 days of preperations and the tow Sunday July 15.
I remember the beauty so well as a child. She always washed up big waves on our beach in the Detroit River. I heard the tow is to Spain where she will become a cruise ship again. My brother works on the rivers and word is his company will be towing her to Montreal where the tow will be taken over by an ocean towing tug.
William C Daugherty
From "Maritime Matters" website: "Sharp Ship Demo
June 15: Another "Sharp Ship", the AQUARAMA/MARINE STAR, which has been languishing near Buffalo, NY at Lackawana, is scheduled to depart for Alang under tow in the very near future, according to Indian sources."
This is especially sad considering what good shape she still seems to be in, and considering how long she's hung on. I think she's clearly more valuable in this form than as Rebar. If I had the money...
I was a small boy in Kenosha, WI in the late 50's. The Aquarama came to Kenosha for a one day sail on Lake Michigan. It looked HUGE. It was my first time on a huge boat and it was quite a day. I still remember it, what must be 50 years alter. I always wondered what happend to The Aquarama. Now, it looks like the end is near.
I have to say, I wish the Aquarama was staying right where she is.... Word is she is going to Alang, India within the next few weeks. She will be towed to the biggest ship breaking yard in the World. What a great loss.
Well, the Aquarama/Marine Star is still at the Cargill Grain Elevators. Unbelievable! Such a beautiful ship sitting for so long. There is no doubt in my mind that many, many people are interested in this fine ship and have many memories. Perhaps if we join forces we could somehow get the ball rolling (or should I say the ship sailing?).
When I was very young my mom took me for a day on the Aquarama on the Detroit River.
Must have been 1957 or there abouts. I am curious as the wind overtook the boat and it struck the Windsor wall on the Windsor side.
I remember the live band and the dancing. My mom took some home movies about the ship.
A very special memory.
I would like to keep posted if there are any plans to restore this grand ship.
The auction of the Aquarama items in Muskegon has been postponed until Spring 2007. Info will available on website: www.LST393.org
I took a cruise on the Aquarama in 1962 and loved it! It was a great ship and left many wonderful memories of an experience that is dear to me still. I am saddened by the way it has been abandoned and I urge someone to please restore that great piece of Lake Erie and maritime history to the glory that is still has in it. Don't let it waste away when there is still so much that can be done with it, once restored to its former glory.
I lived in Deroit, and went on this wonderful ship with my girlfriend and her mother the day it was dedicated by Detroit's Mayor Cobo. He stood out on the long white things in the front of the ship that jet out each side. We were standing on the dock at Jefferson waiting to board. I was 13 or 14 years old. It was very exciteing. I remember we changed into nice cloths so we could dance on the way back from Cleveland. I had never seen anything like that in my life. I will never forget that day.
I live about 30 blocks away from the S.S. Aquarama
its on buffalo new york by the cargills grain elavator at the foot of tift street
i think its a wonderful ship that should be back on the sea's
I remember taking a tour of this ship was I was 11 years old. It had just been bought by a company from Canada (from what my dad told me). This ship sat in Muskegon all of my life until the tug boats took it away in 1988. When taking the tour I remember a couple of things, there was a guy tuning the piano that sat in one of the big rooms maybe a ball room or dance area (not sure why he was tuning it) and the biggest thing I remember was a old VM Bus that sat right by the car loading door. It was very dusty but looked brand new. All the tires were flat and only had 48 mileage on the Odometer. That's some history that I bet most people didn't know. Someday I wish to see her again and hope that they don't scrap her. From reading up on her she's only been in service for 6years, it would be a shame to never this old girl again.
I WAS A CHILD WHEN MY AUNT TOOK ME TO SEE THE AQUARAMA, SHE WAS IN CHICAGO. I REMEMBER THE DAY, IT WAS WONDERFUL. WE HAD LUNCH ON HER AND I EVEN BOUGHT A LITTLE CHANGE PURSE WITH HER NAME ON IT. THE AQUARAMA. I BELEIVE I WAS 8 YEARS OLD. THE SUMMER OF 1955.
I NEVER FORGOT HER, ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT HAPPEND TO HER. I FINALLY FOUND SOME WEB SITES ON THE COMPUTER ABOUT HER. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE WONDERFUL TIME I HAD ON HER THAT DAY. I HOPE THAT SHE FINDS A WONDERFUL NEW LIFE SOMEWHERE. SHE WAS SO BEAUTIFUL WHEN I WAS ON HER. WISHING HER AND ALL WHO CARE ABOUT HER GOOD LUCK. THANK YOU. MARY JANETOS
There is an auction coming up in Sept '06 of Aquarama and Milwaukee Clipper items. These were items from the on board gift shops that have been in storage for decades and are being sold to benefit LST 393 in Muskegon. Details will be posted on LST 393 website soon- www.LST393.org
Captain Morgan Howell was my godfather. I got to sail on this old ship with him once on the great lakes (for a day) I was just a kid. Captain Howell died a few years back at a very ripe old age in my hometown of St. Clair, Michigan and the old Mariner's Church in Detroit rang the bell for him as they had for my Father, Captain Stewart Minton. I have a brass model of the ship and named my son Morgan after the one time captain of this ship.
They have started to the Aquarama. I am in contact with organization that is trying to raise funds to restore her to the Marine Star. Looks like she will be gone this year. I have been keeping a photo diary of the progress.
Has anyone been to see the Aquarama? There is Graffiti under the windows. They are huge! "BE" I could not believe it! The only solice I have is that the ship will be restored to the Marine Star by a ministry group and made into a floating college/ministry.
Thomas F. O'connor
I worked on the Aquarama the suummers of 1961 and 1962 while attending college. Very fond memories. I loved to go down to the anchor port on the bow, just above the water line to experience the speed of the ship and the spray from the bow. Corky O'Rourke and I dated for a while. Wonder how she is doing after all these years?
When I used to make many trips up past Sarnia, I would see her tied up there at her berth. What a sad sight to see. In her day, she must have been one fantastic boat. Her styling kinda reminds me of the Rynerson. Anyone agree??
hi karl-this is ken vaughn from damon motors.cool website.i've allways been interested in old cruise ships.maybee you can give me a tour of the old girl.keep up the good work.best regards
You might want to hear about a new projec for the Marine Star getting underway. Go to www.marinestar.org
Essentially a Mission University on the Sea
Who is the owner of this ship?
I am an interior design student at Buff. State College. I am interested in using the ship for my senior thesis project. I have wanted to be involved with this ship since I first saw it when I was 8 years old!! I want to turn it into a sort of adult entertainment complex, involving restaurants, bars, game rooms, a movie theater, a dance club, and some small retail shops. If anyone has any good websites about it's history please let me know!
I "visited" the ship in the winter of 1979, touring the ship for several hours, entry by climbing the stern cable. I would be happy to talk to anyone about it. I was young and not to smart.
Many years have gone by and yet the Aquarama still sits. Perhaps if more interest is shown regarding this ship, the owners will be more aggressive in renovating her.
It is my understanding that a Ministry is making an appeal to acquire and renovate the ship.
What is going to happen to the Aquarama? It is a beautiful ship that needs a purpose. We don't want it to end up like the Wiscasset Schooners - The Hesper and Luther Little. Is there anything we can do? Let the Aquarama become the beacon that leads the people back to Buffalo's beautiful waterfront.
My dad, Angus Mackenzie, was first mate under captain Morgan Howell. I worked on the ship two summers while going to college; the first summer in the stewards department, and after joining the Seafarers Union, the second summer I was a deckhand. Great job and great memories,
My Dad was General Manager of the S. S. Aquarama in 1957. I have many vivid memories of being on board that summer, of day and night cruises between Detroit and Cleveland, and time with this colorful ship. Happy to discuss this with any of you. Fascinating and haunting to see that the ship survives today. Harrison Engle
Corky O'Rourke Thomas
I worked on the S. S. Aquarama during the summers of my college years and still have great memories of some the people with whom I worked. When she left Muskegon several years ago three of us were there for the send off and I have a picture of me opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion.
Corky O'Rourke Thomas, Kalamazoo, Michigan
I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, but left after graduating from high school in 1978. The entire time I lived there I remember the Aquarama being docked and sitting idle on Muskegon Lake. When I was older I would take my boat right up to her and awe at her size. The tip of one of the blades of the propeller actually stuck out of the water. It was an amazing sight. I also remember the adults telling tales of woe of how she was unmanagable and seemed to cause damage wherever she would go. It's kind of sad to see her in her present state. I hope she doesn't get dismantled. Does anybody know what happened to the plans to turn her into a casina (a $22 Million renovation) when she was towed from Detroit to Buffalo?
I have wondered for a few years now if the ship docked by the grain elevator was the Aquarama. Your site has provided the answer for me, it is. I remember many years ago, a salaried group of us workers from the Moench Tanning Co. in Gowanda, NY, took a beautiful afternoon ride out into the lake on this ship. The picture brought back some treasured memories. Thanks for posting it along with its profile. I believe they told us at the time that it originally was a Merchant Marine ship, or something like that. Anyone out there remember for sure?
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