The Glacier Queen

While on the subject of little warships, there is the case of the little Canadian HMCS (Corvette Castle Class) ship built in 1944 in England at Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd. She was the next to last ship of its class finished before the end of the war when the others were cancelled. Of the Castle class ships, three were sunk in enemy action but they sunk seven u-boats. They were underpowered and tended to turn into the wind despite everything the helmsman tried.
First named the Walmer Castle, she was renamed the Leaside before being sold to the Union Steamship Company of Vancouver where she was renamed the SS Coquitlam around 1955. Then sold to the Alaska Cruise Lines in 1958 where she was renamed the Glacier Queen. Here you see her at Skagway as a nice little cruise ship in the 1960’s.
In 1970 she was bought by Stanley M.J. and hulked as a floating hotel near Vancouver B.C.
On the 8th of November 1978 she sank at Anchorage off Seldovia Bay, but was later raised and scuttled by the U.S. Coast Guard about 100 miles west of Cape Elias.




9 Replies to “The Glacier Queen”

  1. My father worked on the SS Coquitlam and the Glacier Queen from his first voyage on Nov 28, 1951 … to his last on Sep 12, 1959. I have his log book. He would have had many stories. He became chief cook and a friend of the captain, as they would share meals together at the end of each day. He seaman days ended the year I was born to be closer to home. Thank you for posting this photo and history of the vessel.

    Jack (in Burnaby BC)

    1. Summer of ‘69 the Cole family and Almquist families travelled down the Inland Passage aboard the Glacier Queen.. slight difference in “cruise ships” operating in Southeast Alaska compared to today!

    1. Hi Marlene … yes. Large enough for power and features, yet small enough to know everyone. Dad used to fish off the side for cod and halibut. Might have some photos if you are interested. I think he enjoyed his stops in alaska … back in the 1950s … wonder how different it is now. Jack

  2. I have a oil painting from a lady named Adda Grigg, Of the Glacier Queen, It seem’s to be from the pitchure above.With the Glacier behind it. If any one would be interested in it, it is a very nice painting from around the 1960’s

  3. I worked on the glacier queen but cannot remember the passenger capacity of that my grand children have asked me how many passengers did it hold I can’t remember so if anybody can remember let me know thank you

  4. I cruised on the Glacier Queen in the summer of ’63 with my grandmother. Was a great trip for a young boy, sat at the captain’s table for a couple of meals and had a great time, it seemed so big at the time. I remember the small communities that we sailed into. Was a great adventure.

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