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Queen Mary 2
QE2
France
United States
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Mary
Normandie
Lusitania & Mauretania
Aquitania
Other Liners

 

The Great Transatlantic Ocean Liners


Aquitania enters New YorkThe Transatlantic Ocean liners changed the world.  Up until the 1960s they were the only way to travel to the "new world".

They were the equivalent of the 747 today - but much more exciting.  Each arrival and departure in Liverpool, Southampton or New York was an event in itself.

They were extremely elegant, fantastically fast and unbelievably huge!  The biggest man made objects that could move - and boy did they move!  They were high society at sea, and THE place to be seen.

Are you American? If so, chances are your grandparents travelled on one of the great ocean liners like the Mauretania.

Are you European?  If so, chances are a relative of yours left on one of these great ships, or one of your relatives worked to build them.

What you probably don't know, is that these great ships helped us to win two world wars - they were the biggest troopships the world has ever known.

Click on the name of a ship below to read all about it... 

Last updates September 2010.

PLEASE NOTE - QUEEN ELIZABETH (2010) AND QUEEN VICTORIA (2007) WILL NEVER BE LISTED HERE.  THEY ARE NOT TRANSATLANTIC LINERS.  THEY ARE SIMPLE, "CHEAP", MASS PRODUCED CRUISE SHIPS.

Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - in Service with Cunard.
(France, 2003)

The QE2's replacement, and the ship nobody thought they'd build.  Cunard's flagship.  The fourth Cunard Queen and the first transatlantic ocean liner since QE2 34 years before.

She is not just an ocean liner in name.  This is not just marketing 'spin'.  She is fast, strong and designed to be comfortable at speed in stormy waters.  She is uniquely custom-designed from her keel plates up.  A one-off.

The question is - is she the last?

QM2 : The Last Transatlantic Liner?

Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) - in Dubai, Retired.
(Scotland, 1969 - 2008)

The third Cunard Queen and the last to be Clyde built. 

For most of her service life she was the only transatlantic liner in service and was the fastest, most powerful, stylish and most famous liner afloat. 

When built, air travel was already the way to cross the Atlantic, so she was designed to be radically different to her predecessors.  she was the epitome of 60s British style - Swinging London at Sea and as comfortable cruising the caribbean, as battling the Atlantic.

The Legendary QE2

S.S. France, 1962 - 1974
S.S. Norway, 1980-2003 - broken up.
France

Reborn as the slower but more profitable "Norway" cruise ship in 1980, she was both the last of the great French transatlantic ocean liners and the first of the new cruise liners.

The longest ship in the world for 43 years!

Beached after a long struggle at Alang shipbreakers, August 2006 and broken up during 2008.

SS United States - in Philadelphia, retired.
(USA, 1952 - 1969)

By far the fastest liner ever, she was rapidly overtaken by the Jet age and became unprofitable.

Designed to be for both navy and commercial use, she was a radical departure from every liner before, or after her.

Today, sadly, she stands idle and stripped in Philadelphia awaiting an uncertain fate.

RMS Queen Elizabeth - destroyed by fire & broken up
(Scotland, 1940/1946-1968)

For decades, the largest liner afloat, the Queen Elizabeth , the second Cunard Queen to be built, helped win World War 2 with her sister ship, The Queen Mary.

Her 1940 secret escape while unfinished from under the nose of the Luftwaffe is a fantastic story.

RMS Queen Mary - retired, in Long Beach as a hotel
(Scotland, 1936 - 1967)

Arguably the most famous ocean liner ever and the first of the Cunard Queens.  
Born in the 30s depression, spent the War years outrunning all the enemy craft and carrying up to 17,000 troops in one crossing. 

The epitome of Art Deco style and elegance.  Queen Mary is now a floating Hotel in Long Beach - just a shell of her former self as the fastest ship afloat but still with us.

SS Normandie - destroyed by fire & broken up
(France, 1935 - 1942)

The most stylish liner ever.  An Art Deco beauty which may have captured the Blue Riband from the Queen Mary had she not met a very tragic end in New York.

Lusitania - sunk by enemy action during WW1
(Scotland, 1907 - 1915)

Mauretania - broken up
(Liverpool 1907 - 1934)

For years the most famous fastest, most luxurious ships afloat.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat with the loss of over 1100 lives while the Mauretania had a long and successful career.

Aquitania - broken up.
(Scotland, 1914-1950)

"The ship beautiful" served for an amazing 35 years including during both world wars and was for a long time the last remaining 4-funnel ship in the world.

 

The Aquitania, with her lights ablaze, captures the romance of an ocean crossing.  The moonlight, bright decks and funnels aglow is captured in this poster from the 1920s.

Other Liners

Caronia, Ivernia, Saxonia, Transvaal Castle

Recommended Reading
I own all these books, and heartily recommend each one.  I've also made some recommendations on the page for individual ships

       

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