Crossing the Atlantic on the Stefan Batory

Returning to the UK after our time at Hillsdale College, Stuart Butler and I had so much luggage that we decided to cross the Atlantic by luxury liner, each taking a couple of cabin trunks with us.  The Stefan Batory was much smaller and less luxurious than the great Atlantic liners.  It was Polish, then a Communist state, and much less costly than ships like the QEII.  Its voyage took longer because it started in Montreal and took 5 days up the St Lawrence seaway before reaching the Atlantic, and took a further 5 days to cross it.  It was bizarre in many ways.  The ship's bar and shops took every currency except Polish zlotys.  It was a fine trip, with only one rough day, but there was little to do except watch dolphins swim parallel to us, and see the nightly movie after dinner.

After we docked at dawn at Tilbury, we occasionally saw the ship feature in the news.  When the QEII was requisitioned for the Falklands war, the Batory briefly became the only transatlantic liner.  She was news again in 1984 when 192 of her crew jumped ship at Hamburg to claim political asylum following the struggles between the Polish union, Solidarity, and the state's Communist rulers.  She was retired in 1988, and finally scrapped in Turkey in 2,000.  That was the only time I ever crossed the Atlantic by sea.