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.