Cruise Ship History: Memories of 1929 Crash – Passengers aboard Cunard-White Star’s BERENGARIA went from millionaires to paupers!



Groups of passengers are seen aboard the Berengaria during the fatal 1929 crash.   They lost millions at sea.

The passenger liner Berengaria, originally named Imperator, was built in Germany in 1913 for the Hamburg-Amerika Line. Intended as a rival to Britain’s Olympic, Titanic, Lusitania and Mauretania, she was then the largest ship in the world (919 feet long, weighing 52,117 tons).


Marlene Dietrich aboard the Berengaria in Southampton 1937.

She was handed over to Britain after the First World War, then bought by Cunard as a replacement for Lusitania. Her first voyage for Cunard, still named Imperator, was from Liverpool to New York in February 1920. This was her only voyage from Liverpool, as she later sailed from Southampton.

During the 1920s Berengaria was the flagship of the Cunard fleet, joining Mauretania and Aquitania on the weekly service between Southampton and New York. She made her last Atlantic crossing in 1938.


This builder’s-style model of the ship, scale 1:50, was donated to the Liverpool Maritime Museum by the Cunard Steamship Company.



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"…