RMS Mauretania

RMS Mauretania

On July 28, 1938, at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England, the flagship of the new Cunard White Star Line was launched. In honor of the proud and record-breaking vessel that served Cunard between 1906 and 1934, this ship was christened Mauretania and — like her predecessor — destined to become a favorite among transatlantic travelers because of her speed and luxury.

Mauretania sailed for New York on June 17, 1939, but crossed the Atlantic only a few times before the Second World War broke out and she was converted into a troopship.

In this role she steamed from New York to Panama to Sydney to return to Honolulu in hot pursuit by German U-boats. The ship crisscrossed the Indian Ocean many times to complete her wartime duties repatriating soldiers from across the Commonwealth.

After the war, Mauretania underwent an extensive overhaul and refurbishment to accommodate passengers once again, in summer on the traditional transatlantic route and in winter serving as a cruise ship to the West Indies.

By the 1960s, the ship had ceased to be profitable for Cunard. Her final voyage was in late 1965, when Mauretania departed New York to cruise the Mediterranean one last time.

Thus ended a chapter in the history of the great ocean liners, but the name Mauretania lives on as a symbol of elegance and as a reminder that it was not so long ago that we traversed the mighty oceans of this world in style.

2 Replies

  • I was the radio room messenger on the 1956 west indies cruises. I am a n Australian who worked in the british merchant navy for 3 years I am now 85

  • Interesting, and a great lower Manhattan skyline shot. I would imagine the Cunard White Star flagship in 1938 was the Queen Mary, which was over twice the Mauretania’s tonnage. The two ships did resemble eachother, the Mauretania looking like a small Queen Mary with the third funnel removed. The unstayed funnels and lack of a well deck anticipated the forthcoming Queen Elizabeth.

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