Generally, as a rule, bears don’t sail on ships. It’s not that bears don’t like ships, but bears would usually prefer to play in the water, instead of floating over it. Polar bears like ice bergs in the cold North Pole to float on and catch fish. And mountain Grizzly bears sometime float on logs, but big ships with passengers, baggage, and rolling decks are not generally where you will find bears. But some ships seem very much to like stuffed and furry toy bears as mascots. I would like to say it’s because bears look very smart dressed in uniforms, as ship captains and stewards, but it’s probably more that kids seem to like bears on ships, because it’s unusual – and because they look good in uniforms.
We just thought we’d mention it because in our travels, we’ve come across bear mascots on some of the world’s largest ships of history so we thought we’d introduce a few of them
RMS Queen Mary
The RMS Queen Mary is one of the great luxury ocean liners, now a hotel and permanently docked at the harbor in Long Beach California. It was the world’s largest passenger ship since the Titanic for many years after she was launched by the Cunard Line in 1936. The Queen Mary was the premier liner for crossing the Atlantic, carrying royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and movie stars like Clark Gable, Fred Astair, and Elizabeth Taylor. But three years later World War II started and the Queen Mary was turned into a trip carrier. The Queen Mary has a few bears as mascots and people greeters. Two life sized bears and Captain and Steward stand outside the entrance door to gift shop and smaller toy sized bears are available inside to take home.
The most famous ship from history and the largest ever built up to the time of its maiden and final fateful voyage. The Titanic sailed from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, and after picking up passengers in Cherbourg, France, then a last stop for mostly third class immigrants in Cobh Ireland the Titanic sailed across the North Atlantic towards New York, but on the night of April 14, 1912, hit an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the ocean on the 15th of April 1912.
The Titanic was built in the Northern Ireland city of Belfast where there are now a num ber of exhibits to the great ship and her tragic ending. The Titanic Experience is the main exhibit with virtual recreations of the ship and the story around her building, launching and sinking. Bear mascots for the Titanic are presented in uniforms of the ship’s captain and crew. There’s also more Titanic stuff at the nearby Transport Museum. But don’t worry, no bear lives were lost on that Night to Remember in 1912.
SS Great Britain
The engineering visionary Isambard Kingdom Brunel, voted in at least one poll as the second greatest Englishman behind Winston Churchill, was responsible for some of Great Britain’s most lasting advances in transportation, building of the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol and his great steamships built in the Bristol dockyards which advanced ocean travel beyond the days of sail into the industrial age.
When it was launched in 1843, the SS Great Britain was the largest ship in the world and the first propeller driven ocean going iron-hulled passenger steam ship. Brunel combined sail and steam power to drive the ship faster and more reliably than the paddle wheels ships up to that time, beginning the great age of oceanic passenger travel. The sleek ship made voyages from Bristol to New York and then later to San Francisco, a route previously ruled by the Clipper sailing ship.
The SS Great Britain exhibit at the revitalized Bristol Docks presents a unique look at both the lifestyle and engineering of a great ocean-going steamer of the early Victorian era. Smaller stuffed toy bears in ships livery are available in the exhibit’s gift shop, along with the history of the ship, games and other SS Great Britain theme items.
Bears Rule the Waves!