Tuesday, March 26, 2013

QUEENS in Norway by Harald Oanes

Beautiful photos sent by Harald Oanes showing the "QUEEN MARY 2" and the "QUEEN VICTORIA" sailing away at Stavanger in Norway during last year's cruise ships season.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CUNARD will visit Liverpool in 2014 to celebrate AQUITANIA's maiden departure

CUNARD has last week announced that "QUEEN VICTORIA" will visit Liverpool on the 30.5.2014 during an around the British Isles cruise, the date marks the 100th Anniversary of the maiden voyage of a CUNARD legend, the fabulous AQUITANIA one of the most historic and prestigious Liners of the CUNARD LINE. This should be a momentous occasion, Liverpool knows how to make the most of these events, a date to pencil on your diary. Photos of the QV arriving for the very first time at Southampton, 7.12.2007

"GUGLIELMO MARCONI" at Hobart for the first time

In this Historic Photo we can see the Lloyd Triestino "GUGLIELMO MARCONI" arriving at Hobart in Australia for the first time, I don't have the exact date but it would have been early December 1963, the ship departed Italy on her maiden voyage in November of that year and she took three weeks to get to Australia. For other posts and images of the Australian Lloyd Triestino twin sisters, the largest ever built passenger liners for this Shipping Company please visit my blog dedicated to the ships here. Photo Copyright, Lindsey Rex from Melbourne

S.S. "MAXIM GORKIY" at Lisbon in 1989

The ship included in this "post" is another classic beauty and one of my favourites as well. Built in 1969 as the "HAMBURG" for German Atlantik Line, the first major passenger ship built in Germany since 1938, she was built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche in Hamburg, her life with the German operator was short-lived, she was sold to Black Sea Shipping Co in 1974 and renamed "MAXIM GORKIY". She was about 25.000 GRT and had a top speed of 23 knots, the ship could carry just under 800 passengers. In 1988 she was chartered to the German Cruise operator Phoenix Reisen on a long term basis, she was in fact sailing for this company until the very end of her career in 2008 when she was withdrawn. Various attempts failed to save the ship from the scrapyard, including taken her back to Hamburg and be used as an Hotel ship. Unfortunately she was sold to scrap in February of 2009 and ended her days later that year at Alang. "MAXIM GORKIY" is seen here in Lisbon in 1989 already on charter with Phoenix Reisen her Russian colours were kept until 2005, so she's seen here still with the Black Sea Shipping Co. livery.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

M.S. "VISTAMAR" Cruise-Ship and Expedition-Ship

Vistamar - Wikipedia:

The 1989 Built "VISTAMAR" is seen here at Santander during a cruise to the Cantabria Capital in Northern Spain, a beautiful Spanish County that lately has witnessed an increase in Passenger Ships visits and in Lisbon during the summer of 2004. The Photo in Spain was taken from on board BRITTANY FERRIES brand new "PONT-AVEN". For further details of the "VISTAMAR" please click the link above.

BLACK WATCH and FUNCHAL in Lisbon during the late nighties

After a few "posts" about the Superliners of the early 20th century, our Blog takes now to the year of 1997  when the above photos were taken. "FUNCHAL" and "BLACK WATCH" can be seen at Lisbon, the 1961 built "FUNCHAL" taken on passengers for another cruise and the FRED OLSEN ship during a call to the Portuguese Capital. "FUNCHAL" was already sailing for ARCALIA SHIPPING while "BLACK WATCH" had just joined FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES, the ship was originally built in 1972 as the ROYAL VIKING STAR, she was purchased and has been operated since then by FRED OLSEN, so much as changed since 1997 but both ships are still with us, BLACK WATCH still going strong with FRED OLSEN and a much loved ship by her passengers while the "FUNCHAL" is expected to go back to cruising soon after being laid-up in Lisbon since September 2010.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, "ILE DE FRANCE" the first major Liner built after the first World War

The French Liner "ILE DE FRANCE" was for many scholars and Historians the most important and innovative Passenger Liner of the 1920's. She was the first major liner to be built after WWI, launched in 1926 she was 43.000 G.T. She was fondly known as "ILE", when she came into service the great excitement  about this new ship was not about speed or size, but her interior decoration. "ILE DE FRANCE" began "Art Deco" style at sea, she created what became known as "Ocean Liner Style", with glamorous and chic interiors she was stunning, she even carried a small plane on board that would be launched when the ship was about 200 miles from her destination, she would beat her rivals delivering the mail, bags of mail would reach shore while the ship was still at sea, "ILE DE FRANCE" was the first of a new breed of much larger decoratively Atlantic Liners to come, she had a reputation for glamour that would be followed in a much larger scale, the luxury travel by sea of the 1930's was a mere few years away. Postcards above from my collection.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, "AQUITANIA" the last four stacker and CUNARD's dream come true

 "AQUITANIA" at Liverpool getting ready for her maiden voyage 30.5.1914, the day after, the EMPRESS OF IRELAND disaster occurred with the loss of 1400 lives overshadowing the occasion.
                            "AQUITANIA" arriving New York for the first time.
                           "AQUITANIA" serving as a troop ship during WWII
                     "AQUITANIA" departing Southampton for the breakers, 19.2.1950

With the introduction of LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA, CUNARD recovered a lot of business lost mainly to Germany, the two sister's reputation and speed ensured CUNARD was again a prosperous and profitable company. In 1909 a decision was made to build a new liner to run alongside LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA, this would be a ship built with luxury and maximum comfort rather than for speed and most important of all built with solely CUNARD's funds, the new ship would sail regularly every three weeks at an average speed of 23 knots and would carry additional passengers to earn the extra revenue in order to make it profitable, CUNARD decided for unprecedented levels of luxury, it was also decided that all machinery would be positioned below the waterline to create the needed extra space for passenger facilities. A contract was signed with JOHN BROWN at Clydebank in December of 1910 for a new vessel of 45.647 G.T. with a service speed of 23 knots, CUNARD's greatest dream was a reality at last. "AQUITANIA" earned the nickname of "Ship Beautiful" during her career that lasted for nearly 36 years, this beautiful ship, the last four-funneled major liner, one of my favourite's ever and sometimes forgotten would survive two world wars, serving as a troop ship and her record for the longest service-career of any of the 20th century liner stood until 2004 when the QE2 became the longest-serving liner. "AQUITANIA" sailed over 3 million miles and carried over 1.2 million passengers, she was dismantled by Metal Industries of Faslane in 1950. All postcards above from my collection

Monday, March 11, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, White Star Line "OLYMPIC"

RMS "OLYMPIC" was at the time of her construction a huge milestone in marine engineering, she was the first ship to exceed 40.000 GRT her interiors, furnishings and facilities left her in a class of her own. TITANIC's collision and sinking in 1912 ensured that spotlight on the OLYMPIC-CLASS ships remained focused on TITANIC but at the time of her launch "OLYMPIC" was the shape of things to come, the main Shipping Lines of the time started immediately after her introduction competing to match her. "OLYMPIC" had a very distinguished not long career, she became known as the "Old Reliable" during her troop services in the First World War. She was scrapped in October of 1935 an early departure for one of the most significant Passenger Liners of the early 20th century. Photos above from my collection

Superliners of the early 20th century, the Olympic/Titanic/Britannic trio

              "OLYMPIC" arriving New York on her maiden voyage, June 1911

                "TITANIC" leaving Belfast in April of 2012 on her way to Southampton, not for her sea trials as commonly stated, in fact the OLYMPIC was so successful that "TITANIC" only had a few adjustments on her delivery voyage from Belfast to Southampton prior to her maiden voyage.

After the introduction of CUNARD's "LUSITANIA" and "MAURETANIA", Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the WHITE STAR LINE insisted that they should build not two, but three giant liners, the largest in the World. Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie, Chairman of HARLAND & WOLFF unveiled plans for the building of three 46.000 GRT Passenger liners, the most luxurious, safest and largest ships in the World, "OLYMPIC", "TITANIC" and "BRITANNIC" were born. "OLYMPIC" was the forerunner, she was the last word in luxury, a floating palace, the ship left Belfast in May of 1911, "TITANIC" the second of the trio took OLYMPIC's fitting-out base soon after, this new ship would be described as the "World's Safest Ship", "TITANIC" was finally completed in April of 1912, when she left Southampton on her maiden voyage she was the largest, safest and most luxurious ship ever built. "BRITANNIC" was completed during the first World War she came into service in December of 1915 as an hospital ship. Far too much has been talked about these ships, "TITANIC" booked a place in History when she foundered on her maiden voyage, still considered the most tragic Maritime accident ever, this is in my opinion very debatable, one thing is for sure, she became without a doubt the best known passenger ship ever and today she is still the reason why so many people talk about Ocean Liners. Postcards above from my collection.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, the building of the mighty LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA

Samuel Cunard founded the CUNARD LINE in 1840, Cunard a very successful Nova Scotia Shipping owner won the first British mail contract to establish a regular service across the North Atlantic. In 1902, Lord Inverclyde chairman of the CUNARD head office in Liverpool approached the British Government seeking help to build two huge superliners, the biggest, fastest and most powerful passenger liners ever built. CUNARD was alarmed not only with competition mainly from the Germans but also with a new American Tycoon, J. P. Morgan founder of the International Mercantile Marine, Morgan was buying the most powerful British Passenger Firms, including the White Star Line. The British Government agreed with a loan so the "LUSITANIA" and the "MAURITANIA" came into service in 1907. "LUSITANIA" the first, built by John BROWN & Co. Ltd at Clydebank was for a very short period of time the largest and fastest ship in the World, she was 31.550 GRT, the ship regained the Blue Riband for Britain. Built by SWAN HUNTER at Tyne & Wear, the "MAURETANIA" was even larger at 31.938 GRT and she proved to be even slightly faster than her sister so the Blue Riband was safe for Britain. Both ships were about 76.000 S.H.P. and were the first to cross the Atlantic in under five days, they were also beautifully decorated but were dubbed solid and reliable not pretentious, they were also very graceful with yacht-like lines. Both ships became very famous in their own ways, the "LUSITANIA" lost during the first World War and the "MAURETANIA" would be one of the most successful Liners ever built, she was scrapped in 1935. All postcards above from my collection

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, The North German Lloyd Quartet of four-stackers

                           "KRONPRINZ WILHELM"
                           "KAISER WILHELM II"
                          "KRONPRINZESSIN CECILLE"
                            "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE"

The Germans established one of the first marketing campaigns for Ocean Liners, everyone wanted to travel on four-stacker passenger ships, they were symbols of luxury, power, size and speed. In 1897 North German Lloyd built the first "superliner", the KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE, in 1901 the "KRONPRINZ WILHELM", two years later the "KAISER WILELM II" and in 1907 the "KRONPRINZESSIN CECILLE", these ships were very popular and successful before the beginning of World War I. Here's a brief history of each of these four ships. For the "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE" please report to my post of last friday.

KRONPRINZ WILHELM, was built in 1901 by AG Vulcan, she was 14.908 G.T.. During the first World War she was seized by the United States and renamed VON STEUBEN, she was scrapped in 1923

KAISER WILHELM II was also built by AG Vulcan in 1903, she departed on her maiden voyage on the 14.4.1903, this ship was 19.361 G.T., in April of 1917 she was also seized by the United States and renamed AGAMEMNON, she was scrapped in 1940.

KRONPRINZESSIN CECILLE was the last of the four-stackers to be built by AG Vulcan, she departed on her maiden voyage on the 14.7.1907, she was 19.400 G.T.. This liner was named after Crown Princess Cecille of Prussia, she was also seized in 1917 by the United States and renamed U.S.S. MOUNT VERNON, the ship was finally scrapped in 1940.

Superliners of the early 20th Century, British and German response to the "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE"

                                   "OCEANIC" of 1899 of White Star Line

                       "DEUTSCHLAND" of 1900 operated by Hamburg-Amerika Line

After the introduction of "KAISER WILHELM GROSSE" in 1897, the British and even German's greatest rival of North German Lloyd, the 1847 founded Hamburg-Amerika Line were startled. The first answer to the 1897 superliner came from the British two years later, the "OCEANIC" built by Harland & Wolff an Historic Shipyard founded in 1861 supervised by Thomas Ismay a Liverpool shipowner who in 1871 bought a bankrupt fleet of clipper-ships operating from the UK to Australia, this company was called the White Star Line, so "OCEANIC" at 17.272 G.T. was the largest passenger liner in the World, the ship had two funnels and three masts, she departed on her maiden voyage on the 6.9.1899, she became known as the "Queen of the Ocean", the ship ran aground off Foula/Shetland in September of 1914.

Hamburg-Amerika Line after the launch of "KAISER WILHELM GROSSE" took the immediate decision of building a larger and record-breaker liner, this ship was built by AG Vulkan, she was launched on the 10.1.1900 and became the "DEUTSCHLAND, she was 16.703 G.T. and easily took the "Blue Riband", she was another four-stacker, very popular at first she soon revealed her major engine problems, the ship developed massive vibrations at the expense of passengers comfort. In 1910 the "DEUTSCHLAND" was converted to a cruise-ship, one of the first liners of the 20th century to be operated as such, she was renamed the VIKTORIA LUISE, after the first World War, the ship was operated as an emigrant ship once again renamed, HANSA, but she was very unsuccessful and was finally sold for scrap in 1925. Postcards of my collection

Friday, March 1, 2013


In 1871 when the King of Prussia WILHELM became Kaiser of a new United Nation, a new dominant power in Europe emerged, this United Nation was of course Germany. At the end of the century design and technology of Ocean Liners was changing, Germany was planning to become a major seapower, they wanted to show the World their Industrial might, after borrowing skills and craftsmen from British Yards the Germans built a liner that was to change Transatlantic Fashion forever, a new liner built in Germany not Britain at the time already the Ship Building Nation of the World, this liner was the "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE" often described as the World's first "SUPERLINER", she was to be the first of a new breed of German Passenger Liners, she was built in 1897 by VULCAN SHIPYARDS at Stettin, the Kaiser attended her launching held in May of that year, the ship named after his Grandfather. Later in the year, 19.9.1897, the new ship departed Bremerhaven on her maiden voyage to New York with a call at Southampton. "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE" made the run to New York in just five days and twenty hours at an average speed of 22.35 knots capturing the "Blue Riband" for Germany. The new wonder of Ocean Travel was 14.400 GRT and was operated by North German Lloyd she began a new era, the first ship to have four funnels which was soon enough associated with power, speed and even luxury. "KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE" was lost in battle during the first World War in 1914, the end of a ship that changed the History of the Ocean Liners. Photos above from my collection