Most Glamorous Passenger List


Mar 20, 2007
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It has been asserted that the 'Titanic', when she sailed on her maiden voyage, had a first-class passenger list unequalled in the history of ocean travel.

As we all know, there were indeed a very large number of notables aboard, leading figures from the worlds of finance, industry, the arts and Society. Their presence is what makes the story of the 'Titanic' so fascinating for a social and cultural historian like myself.

But now I'm wondering: in that age when ocean liners really WERE 'the only way to cross', was the first-class passenger list of the 'Titanic' anything unusual? Who, for example, sailed with the 'Lusitania' in 1907 or the 'Aquitania' in 1914? And what about the 'Normandie' when she made her first voyage in 1935? How many celebrities were gathered together then?

I'm not just thinking about maiden voyages - any trip between the turn-of-the-century and WWII would be of interest to me.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>was the first-class passenger list of the 'Titanic' anything unusual?<<

Absolutely not! Any assertion to the contrary is all part of the mythos in my opinion. As you pointed out, liners were the only way to cross and would remain so for at least twenty or so years. Even at that, what commercial air transport existed didn't really get going on a large scale for nearly half and century and what little there was, was very expensive.

As first class travel on liners was also very expensive, it's hardly surprising that the 1st Cabin passenger list would inevitably be a who's-who of the powerful, the rich, and the famous!
 
Mar 20, 2007
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Thank you, Michael. I was aware that the maiden voyage of the 'Titanic' was NOT, as it has often been made out to be, the 'social highlight' of 1912 and that it was a fairly low-key affair, all things considered. And this forum has taught me that many people actually made a point of AVOIDING maiden voyages, when ships would still be experiencing teething problems.

I was really wondering if any liner ever carried as MANY celebrated figures as the 'Titanic' and assume the answer is 'yes'. The only reason I don't know about other, glittering maiden voyage passenger lists is because the ships in question never sank!

It does occur to me that, had various individuals not cancelled their passages, the 'Titanic' might well have been unique - think if the names of Vanderbilt, Morgan and Frick, besides that of the US Ambassador to France, had been listed too...
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I think you'll find that the cancellations were really nothing unusual as well. Then as now, life happens and plans change at the last minute. Sometimes in one of those "Just because I feel like it" moments that everybody deals with.

>>I was really wondering if any liner ever carried as MANY celebrated figures as the 'Titanic' and assume the answer is 'yes'.<<

It is. I think if you check shipping movements of the period, particularly liners, you'll see that celebrity arrivals and departures were routinely reported on by the media of the day.
 
Mar 20, 2007
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When the 'Berengaria' sailed to New York in the late summer of 1924, she carried an unusually large 'Society' contingent, travelling in the entourage of the man John Maxtone-Graham has described as 'the single most famous passenger of the inter-war years' - none other than the Prince of Wales himself. Included in the royal party were Lord Louis Mountbatten and his super-chic wife Edwina, the Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven, Duff and Lady Diana Cooper, the Duchess of Westminster and Harold and Lady Zia Wernher. If memory serves, I think the Countess of Airlie was aboard too. From a rather different milieu (but one equally representative of the era) came Sophie Tucker, the massively popular singer and comedienne. Surely this must qualify as a particularly glamorous passenger list?

I would still be very interested to know who was booked in first-class aboard the 'Lusitania', 'Mauretania' and 'Aquitania' on their maiden voyages...
 

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