RMS Mauretania

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On 28 July 1938, at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England, the flagship of the newly formed 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, as her predecessor, destined to become a favorite among transatlantic travelers because of her speed and outright luxury.

RMS Mauretania
The ocean liner Mauretania arrives in New York, January 1956 (New York Daily News/Gordon Rynders)

Mauretania sailed for New York on 17 June 1939 but crossed the Atlantic but a few times before the 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 subsequently crisscrossed the Indian Ocean many times to complete her wartime duties repatriating soldiers from different parts of 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, however, the ship had seized to be particularly profitable for Cunard and her final voyage came in the latter months of 1965 as Mauretania departed New York to cruise the Mediterranean for the last time. Thus ended another chapter in the history of the great ocean liners yet the name Mauretania lives on as a symbol of sheer elegance and as a reminder that it was not so long ago that we traversed the mighty oceans of this world in style.

1 COMMENT

  1. 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

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