One of Cunard's most successful liners, the RMS Mauretania provided transatlantic service for over 28 years, many of them holding the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing, the coveted Blue Riband.
Launched in 1906, the Mauretania, alongside sister ship Lusitania, were Cunard's answer to the successful German superliners of the day, the Kaiser Class ships. With White Star, the other British shipping line acquired by JP Morgan of the US, Cunard answered with two turbine powered superliners. The Mauretania and Lusitania were the largest and fastest ship of their day. Although other ships quickly surpassed the Mauretiania in size, her speed was legendary and remained the record holder until the SS Bremen overtook the Mauretania in 1929.
Unlike her older and smaller sister Lusitania, the Mauretania survived WWI and went on to sail the seas for another decade after the war, bringing pride to the UK.
A Powerful and Fast Ship
Capturing the Blue Riband several times throughout her career, the Mauretania was a powerful and fast ship. Utilizing steam turbines to power the the four propellors, the ship was fast. Although smaller than her later contemporaries, the ship could out-run anyone.
Although her speed was impressive, when full power was applied in the open ocean, the ship suffered from vibrations in the rear of the ship. Since third class was predominantly located in the rear of the ship, those passengers suffered as first class passengers enjoyed a quick journey between continents.
RMS Mauretania During WWI
At the outbreak of WWI, the Mauretania sought refuge in Halifax with the other Cunard liner Aquitania. After a brief and expensive stint as an armed merchant cruiser, the Mauretania resumed civilian service, but due to limited passengers, the ship was recalled and returned to Liverpool and was laid up. After the sinking of the Lusitania, the Mauretania was about to re-enter civilian service when it was decided to become a troopship. Fitted with dazzle paint, the ship transported thousands of allied soldiers throughout the world to the front lines and back.
Service after World War I
After successfully fulfilling her wartime duties as a troopship, the Mauretania resumed service with the RMS Aquitania, and RMS Berengaria (formerly SS Imperator of Germany). After being refitted in 1920 and then again in 1922, the ship was converted to oil from coal, and many other improvements were made.
After a successful post war career, Cunard and White Star merged in the early 1930's and the Mauretania was showing her age and deemed superfluous and ended her career, first as a transatlantic liner, then as a cruise ship.
In may 1935, the ship made a final voyage past her shipyard, to the breakers in Rosyth. Many of the furnishings found on board can still be seen to this day.