News from 1903 Maiden Voyage of Cedric


Mark Baber

Staff member
(As I post this, it's still 20 February here. So, for a few more minutes, Cedric, second of the "Big Four", arrived in New York on her maiden voyage 99 years ago today. This article was published the following morning.)

The New York Times, 21 February 1903

Largest Steamship Afloat Pronounced Steady as a Rock
Gales and High Seas Made No Impression on Her, and None of the Passengers Was Seasick
The largest steamship ever constructed slowly made her way, last evening
between 6 and 8 o'clock, up New York Bay and the North River to the
White Star piers at the foot of Bank Street. The huge vessel was the
new transatlantic liner Cedric, a sister of the Celtic of the same
fleet, but ninety-six tons larger.

The Cedric made a good voyage, according to officers and passengers, and
each and every one of them pronounced her almost perfect as far as
seaworthiness and easygoing in the roughest kind of weather are
concerned. For instance, Sir Cavendish Boyle, the Governor of
Newfoundland, who was among the passengers, said that she was as steady
as a rock, and that although huge seas often hurled themselves against
or over her sides, they had no effect on the monster, which went her way
without even so much as a tremor. "The Cedric is a good example of the
kind of ships the Morgan combine is turning out," added Sir Cavendish.

Another stanch supporter of the Cedric's qualities of resistance to big
seas and high winds was Clegg, the White Star Line's veteran smoke-room
steward, who has been in the employ of the line nearly a quarter of a

"When we left Queenstown," said Clegg, "I placed a small wine glass
filled with champagne on the edge of a sideboard on the port side of the
smoke room. I never touched that glass all the way across, and when we
got to Sandy Hook to-day the glass had not moved half an inch and not a
drop of wine had been spilled. Now, that proves that the Cedric is a
wonder, doesn't it?"

In appearance the Cedric is almost exactly like her sister ship the
Celtic. What small differences in construction do exist, it would take
an expert to find. She is 700 feet long, 75 feet wide, and has a depth
of 49 1-3 feet. Her gross tonnage is 21,000 tons, while her
displacement is 38,000 tons. Like the Celtic, she has four masts and
two funnels, and is designed to cross the Atlantic at an average speed
of about 17 knots. Her interior fittings, while not at all gorgeous,
are yet elegant in appearance.

The Cedric brought 742 passengers, 312 of whom were in the first and
second cabin. According to Dr. R. D. Doble, formerly of the Teutonic,
the ship's surgeon, not a passenger was seasick during the voyage, so
easily did the big ship plough her way through the mountainous seas on
the way over. The log of the liner shows that she encountered all kinds
of gales, especially during the last four days, when she ran into a
succession of heavy northwesters.

"They did not bother us any, though," said Capt. Haddock, "for on this
ship you would hardly know you were at sea unless you happened to take a
walk on deck or looked out of your stateroom window."

The Cedric crossed the ocean in 8 days, 8 hours, and 16 minutes. She
came over the long course of 2,889 miles from Daunt's Rock to New York,
and her log shows that her day's runs were 365, 390, 383, 333, 351, 331,
303, 358, and 75 to Sandy Hook. Her average speed was 14 1/2 knots.

Her commander is Capt. H. J. Haddock, C. B., R. N. R., formerly of the
Britannic, Germanic and Celtic. The chief officer is Lieut. Alexander
Hambleton, R. N. R., and the chief engineer J. W. Alexander, who for the
last two years had been chief engineer on the Britannic, which has been
doing service as a Government transport. The purser is H. McElroy.

Sir Cavendish Boyle said he would go to Montreal to-day, where he would
try and open communication with his Government. He feared, he said,
that it would be hard to do so, owing to the damage to telegraph wires
and navigation by storms and ice, and added that he might be compelled
to go to Halifax to catch a boat to take him to St. John's. Others on
board were H. Montague Allen, Sir Randolph Baker, T. P. Burnham, Capt.
James Cole, R. N.; G. L. Davidson, Erastus S. Day, United States Consul
at Bradford; Capt. C. D. Falbes, Richard McCreery, and J. Robertson.



Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, Sunday, 8 February 1903

White Star Liner Cedric to Sail for This Port on Wednesday
She is 700 Feet Long, Her Gross Tonnage is 21,000, She Has Nine Decks,
and Can Carry 2,600 Passengers

New Yorkers will have a chance next week to view the largest ocean-going
steamship ever constructed. The vessel which holds this proud
distinction is the giant Cedric of the White Star Line, which is
scheduled to sail from Liverpool next Wednesday for New York.

Of course, the principal point of interest in connection with the Cedric
is her great dimensions. Her gross tonnage is 21,000, while her
displacement figures total 38,200 tons. Her extreme length is 700 feet,
her greatest breadth 75 feet, while her depth is 49 1-3 feet. She is of
the twin-screw type, her propellers being driven by two sets of
quadruple engines. To furnish the steam to operate the machinery there
are eight double-ended boilers, each capable of working to a pressure of
210 pounds to the square inch. The Cedric is designed to make the
transatlantic passage in between seven and eight days.

There are nine decks on the Cedric. She is built on the cellular double
bottom principle, and has numerous water-tight compartments that make
her practically unsinkable. She has four masts, and like all the great
White Star liners, two massive buff funnels. It may be interesting to
note that the distance from the top of the funnels to the keel is 131
feet. The diameter of the funnels is 14 feet 3 inches by 11 feet, which
proves that it would be an easy matter for them to be utilized in the
London underground tube railways, if it were ever found necessary to
substitute ocean-going steamship funnels for the specially prepared

The passenger accommodations are as follows: In the first saloon, 350;
in the second saloon, 250, and in the steerage 2,000. Her crew will
number 335, making a total population on board when all the
accommodations are taken of 2,935 souls. In addition to the ordinary
staterooms there are there are suites of bed, sitting, and bath rooms,
enabling those who desire the greatest possible comfort and room to find
both aboard the great ship.

Of the various handsome apartments none will be handsomer than the
saloon dining room. It is situated on the upper deck, extends the full
width (seventy-five feet) of the ship, is lofty and airy, beautifully
decorated, and has a seating capacity of about 340. The library is
another luxuriously appointed room, as is also the smoking room and the
various other lounging apartments in both the first and second saloon

The accommodations of the third-class passengers are on the upper,
middle, and lower decks, some in two, four and six berth cabins, and
others in open berths. These open berths are very comfortable, the beds
being furnished with good spring mattresses, as in the inclosed rooms.
The ventilation of this, and all other parts of the ship, is effected by
a system of electric and steam fans, as well as by natural means, and is
thus rendered as perfect as possible. The third-class passengers have
large dining rooms, besides comfortably furnished sitting and smoking
rooms. There are separate galleys, or kitchens, for all three classes
of passengers, also separate pantries equipped in the most approved
modern style.

In the first and second class quarters the floors of the corridors,
saloons, and smoking rooms are laid with patent rubber flooring, which
is not only decorative, but prevents slipping and noise, a great
desireatum on board ship. The vessel is well provided with such
essentials as music, electric light and electric bells.

It is interesting to know that many of the great shell plates of the
Cedric weigh as much as three tons each, while some of the bigger pieces
of the ship, such as the stern frame, reach the grand total in weight of
fifty tons. The launching weight of the Cedric was 14,257 tons, and her
dead weight carrying capacity is 18,400 tons. In external appearance
the Cedric differs little from her sister and slightly smaller ship the

With the completion of the Cedric the White Star Line gains the
distinction of owning the two largest vessels in the world, and the
additional distinction of owning thirteen vessels exceeding 10.000 tons
each. The commander of the Cedric will be Lieut. Haddock, R. N. R., who
is well known to White Star travelers.