Peter Knego’s cruise ship series, the legendary Windsor Castle
Knego travels to the breaking waves of Alang, India to document famous passenger ships and save all the pieces of history and art he can. They go to collectors like him but part of his dream in preserving these treasures is to take them back to their roots with the lines that launched these remarkable ships.
It’s hard, dangerous, and often overlooked work, but Knego is driven by his love for ships from a bygone era and how they reflect the history of the era.
National pride symbols
“The liners were a symbol of national pride, represented the latest technology and had a purpose – to bring people to new life, some even carrying cargo,” he said.
As a child, Knego collected Union-Castle Line memorabilia and the RMS Windsor Castle – delivered by Cammel Laird in 1960 – particularly struck a chord with its more modern and elegant lines. It was started by Queen Mother Elizabeth in a ceremony attended by thousands of people and seen by millions on television.
It had elegant lounges by famous designer Jean Monro, open decks, and was the largest ocean liner to ever provide regular service between the UK and South Africa. Windsor Castle had a proud but short 17-year liner career, before passing to Greek shipping magnate Yiannis Latsis. In addition to serving as an accommodation ship in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the renamed Margarita L languished in Piraeus before being sold to breakers as Rita.
Knego was able to embark in Piraeus to film.
“A floating museum”
“She was beautifully maintained and hadn’t changed, unlike the Transvaal, which was rebuilt to become Carnival Cruise Line’s Festivale,” he said. “Her interiors have remained the same, and the artwork, deck logs, silverware and crockery were unchanged even in 1998, when I first boarded.
“It was a floating museum.
When the ship went to her cemetery in Alang, “I was devastated because she was a time capsule. Cruise ships as an art form are disappearing, ”Knego cried.
When he arrived in Alang in August 2005, the Rita was half demolished, which was “heartbreaking”.
Exclusive video, historical footage, first-hand sources
Exclusive video from Knego of Piraeus, as well as licensed historic footage from Union-Castle showing the Queen Mother launching the ship and life on board enrich her DVD “Torn Castle”, as do interviews with a Purser. long-standing; with maritime historian Ted Scull, a tourist class passenger in 1968; and the late author Peter Newall (“Union-Castle Line: A Fleet History”). His images of Alang are captivating and moving.
“Torn Castle” is the third in a series, after “The Sands of Alang”, starring Costa’s former flagship Eugenio C, and “On the Road to Alang”, which captured ships like the Stella Solaris and the Stella Oceanis of Sun Line, and the Big Bateau Rouge III (Festivale / Château du Transvaal).
“I hope people enjoy not only Union-Castle but also the times,” said Knego.
The liners weren’t cookie-cutter, so each was distinctive, and it was a time when people socialized, chatted over fine dining, tea time and cocktails, and just enjoyed the sea – while sometimes participating in original bridge games such as frog races (with wooden frogs).
The last of his kind
“When people sailed Windsor Castle they remembered it all their lives,” Knego said. “She was the last of her kind. It was important to document it.
Globetrotter Knego spent the pandemic at his home in California creating this latest DVD and building his MidShipCentury YouTube Channel with videos of old and new ships, ranging from a multi-part series on the Achille Lauro to this year’s new World Navigator for Atlas Ocean Voyages.
His documentaries, along with Alang’s Saved Treasures, are available for purchase on DVD or stream or download at www.midshipcentury.com. Then: Blue Lady, built like the liner France and converted in Norway by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Some of Knego’s latest acquisitions in Alang include the stained glass ceiling of the Carnival’s Celebration library by architect Joe Farcus, which depicts the Normandy and Queen Mary liners, and the Helen Webber ceramics of ancient American cities and regions. of the carnival, discarded like Magellan.
Knego isn’t just in his own documentaries. He appears in the 2021 Edgar Wright film “The Sparks Brothers” about Ron and Russel Mael of the influential music group Sparks. The documentary premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is currently airing on Netflix.
Knego spent 20 years as a promoter for Sparks, who at one point – they also wrote the screenplay and music for “Annette”, a film by Leos Carax with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard which premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
With the resumption of cruises, Knego recently sailed on Holland America Line’s new Rotterdam, which he will also document, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endeavor II in the Galapagos, Majestic Princess in Alaska and, soon, he will report on the new Enchanted. Princess. As a freelance writer / photographer he contributes to publications such as Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Porthole, QuirkyCruise.com and USA Today.