Cruise Line History – FDR, postcards and other memories from Cunard Line’s RMS Acquitania

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Cunard Line’s R.M.S. Aquitania, one of the greatest of all liners, was built for Cunard by John Brown & Co., and was launched in 1913. After her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 30 May 1914, she made only 2 more Atlantic crossings before World War I began. During the war she served as an armed merchant cruiser, a hospital ship and a troop transport. She returned to commercial service in June 1919, but later that year was taken out of service for refitting and conversion from coal to oil.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his son Elliott aboard the Acquitania in 1931.

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Postcard scenes from the great ship.

In 1920, Cunard followed White Star’s lead and moved its principal New York service from Liverpool to Southampton, which became Aquitania’s new home. In 1931, she became the first liner to accomplish a two-week turnaround between trips across the Atlantic, departing Southampton on 7 and 21 July.

When World War II began, she was again called into service as a troop transport, one of a small number of ships to serve in both World Wars.

In 1948-49, Aquitania was placed on a Southampton-Halifax austerity route; her last transatlantic crossing was from Halifax (departing 24 November 1949) to Southampton (arriving 1 December 1949).

After making 443 transatlantic roundtrips, steaming over 3 million miles and carrying almost 1.2 million passengers over a 35-year career, Aquitania was scrapped in 1950.

youTUBE video of the Aquitania and passage to being scrapped.

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…