So, is it just me, or does one look at the photos of Lusitania's second class cabins and public rooms pretty much put to the rest the myth of Titanic's second class public rooms being "equivalent of 1st Class on other ships?"
The sales pitch is that 2nd class on Titanic would be like traveling 1st class on non-North Atlantic run ships, and I agree with it. If you look at 1st class service to Australia on White Star, it's very similar to 2nd class on Titanic.
You could also make the argument that Second on Titanic was like traveling in First on the previous generation of Liners (like Lucania). Once you factor out the "Gay 90's" Opulence of Lucania, the accommodations are similar, and frankly, I'd rather travel 2nd on Titanic than First on Lucania.
As for a head to head comparison between Second Class on Lusitania and Titanic, I like both of them very much. Titanic had the more modern arrangement, but there is something thrillingly classist about the Lusitania's island superstructure for Second Class. It pretty much shouts "know your place and be happy with it."
LOL.... That deckhouse is sure one helluva statement!
You know, I don't get it... Why would Australian run ships have worse passenger accommodations than the North Atlantic ones? It's a much longer trip to Oceania, so you'd think the shipping lanes would make the passengers as comfy as possible for the long haul.
Re the superiority of "Atlantic-Run" vs. "Austraila-Run" first class: It comes down to passenger sophistication. All the first class liners running between Europe and New York were vying for the richest and most sophisticated clientele the world has/had ever seen. (Today's ultra-wealthy come across as "white trash with money" in comparison).
A similar level of sophistication could not be justified (or afforded) for first class to Australia, South Africa, Canada, etc.
I'd like to mention that many people found the high degree of social polish in Atlantic First Class a little too off-putting, and gladly traveled second class if their social standing wasn't damaged by such a public display of slumming.
>>Re the superiority of "Atlantic-Run" vs. "Austraila-Run" first class: It comes down to passenger sophistication.<<
It might also have something to do with the reletive age of the ships used in the service. You tended to find improvements in the newer vessels which were expected practically as a matter of course.
>>A similar level of sophistication could not be justified (or afforded) for first class to Australia, South Africa, Canada, etc. <<
I wonder if they even would have wanted it. When you get down to it, a lot of what was considered luxurious had a lot to do with eye candy. Marble columns and the very best wrought iron bulestrades and intricate carvings in oak and mahogany wood looked great but really didn't add to any levels of comfort.
Something else to think about is that ships designed for the North Atlantic run were designed for operations in climates that tended to be fairly cold almost all year round. I doubt they would have done that well or been very successful on the run which required going back and forth through the tropics. Their shortcomings there would have become painfully obvious in short order and word gets around about that sort of thing.
It might also have a lot to do with the number of people who traveled first class to Australia, as opposed to the number of people who traveled first class between NYC and the European ports.
The French, and Dutch colonial ships had interiors that, in terms of over-the-top, made the garish North Atlantic ships seem tame by comparison. The Italian, Spanish and French ships on the South Atlantic runs had interiors that made the White Star, German and Cunard north Atlantic ships look like second rate boarding houses but, of course, were aimed at a different class of passenger.
And, by 1912, the White Star, and German, interiors in particular did not represent sophistication. And hadn't for about ten years. Ostentation, aimed at the nouveaux riches, is about as far from sophisticated as one can get.
My guess is that it was a matter of money, and perhaps a slight amount of elitism, regarding Australia, than it was the subjective matter of sophistication. Had there been money to be made in installing expansive first class quarters on the Australian run, it probably would have happened.