Will have to dig out Maxtone- Graham for this one- but I know Mauretania still held the record (for 22 years!) and she and the Lusitania dueled back and forth for the fasted run. I daresay- just off the top of my head that Olympic and the Imperator were the top of the list at this time-for size- will have fun digging tonight. Mark Barber could probably reel them right off! The other top contenders were probably German too- stay tuned. The 4-stacked France (which was a HONEY of a ship) is probably on the list too.
CGT's France (23,666) was afloat but not yet in service; her maiden voyage started on 20 April. Imperator (Hapag, 52,117) wasn't yet afloat; she wasn't launched until 23 May 1912.
Of these, eight were at one time the largest ship in the world; George Washington, Adriatic, Amerika, Dakota and Minnesota were not. Eleven of the thirteen were on the Europe-New York service; Dakota and Minnesota (which I admit I've never heard of before) ran from the U.S. west coast to the Far East, and were U.S. owned.
All tonnage figures used here are from Kludas' Great Passenger Ships of the World. Although the numbers in other sources may differ slightly, the order probably wouldn't change.
I can't answer "fastest", but will post some thoughts on that question after the kids are asleep.
Actually, I can answer the "fastest" part of this question, if I provide my own definition of "fastest ships". Defining "fastest ships" as meaning "ships with the highest regular service speed", the following were the fastest ships in service on 10 April 1912:
1. Mauretania (Cunard) 25 knots
Lusitania (Cunard) 25 knots
3. Kronprinzessin Cecilie (NDL) 23 knots
Kaiser Wilhelm II (NDL) 23 knots
5. Kronprinz Wilhelm (NDL) 22.5 knots
Deutschland (Hapag) 22.5 knots
7. Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse (NDL) 22 knots
8. Titanic (White Star) 21 knots
Olympic (White Star) 21 knots
Lucania (Cunard) 21 knots
Campania (Cunard) 21 knots
Again, these figures are taken from Kludas; other sources may vary by a half-knot or so, but this ranking looks about right to me, with one possible exception. Although Kludas and Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway agree that Kaiser Wilhelm II was faster than Deutschland and Kronprinz Wilhelm, she never managed to win the westbound Blue Riband, even though she had more than four years to do so before Lusitania arrived on the scene. During most of that time, the westbound record was held by Deutschland, at 23.15 knots. (Deutschland set a total four westbound records, three of them at speeds in excess of 23 knots, and Kronprinz Wilhelm set one, at 23.09 knots.) And, although Kaiser Wilhelm II DID set an eastbound record which stood for more than three years, it was only marginally faster (.07 knot) than the prior record, which was held by Deutschland. I don't know enough details about these ships' regular crossing speeds to know whether the records set by the other two were aberations, with the ships being pushed to the max, or whether Kaiser Wilhelm II was not, in fact, as fast as they were on a regular basis.
Do I know my guys or WHAT! Now Mark- in another dazzling display- tell us the largest (top ten) ships(passenger type) EVER built to date. I will imagine Queen Elizabeth is still in the running for longest, Sovereign of the Seas, Normadie, QE2, Norway, Queen Mary...but I could be wrong. Of course my favorite ship ever-and Titanic people will hiss- is the 4-stacked Mauretania-the most beautiful profile- and fastest. All England mourned the day she went to the breakers. I was invited to the wardroom on QE2 about 5 years ago and the officers STILL get all dreamy-eyed when they talk of her. The bell from the Aquitania is in the wardroom-she was a great favorite too although personally I never liked her bridge much-she did make the scene in both wars though and was well-loved. Ships are funny things- some truly do have a soul and a human-like persona. I always think of Queen Mary as a frumpy Dowager Duchess walking a fat Pekinese and the Normandie as a French supermodel racing down the runway of a Parisian Salon de Haute Couture wearing the very latest daring fashion with a cocktail in one hand. The new ships seem to lack the Romance.
<FONT COLOR="ff0000">Of course my favorite ship ever-and Titanic people will hiss- is the 4-stacked Mauretania-the most beautiful profile- and fastest.
Not every Titanic buff. I've always admired Mauretania for her rich panelling and wonderful dining saloon in first class; Ken Marschall's painting of her really captures her spirit and she had a great old-fashioned steamship profile, with her rich red funnels and cowl vents.
On the other hand, Olympic's decks were far less cluttered and she had a brilliant, sleek slim modern profile when she entered service. She was just beautiful.
<FONT COLOR="ff0000">The bell from the Aquitania is in the wardroom-she was a great favorite too although personally I never liked her bridge much-she did make the scene in both wars though and was well-loved.
Aquitania's bridge was alright before they added the wheelhouse higher up, but when the wheelhouse was added above it looked so boxy. It must have been good protection in good weather. She had a more old-fashioned profile which I like, but I think Mauretania still wins hands down; Aquitania's superstructure wasn't as nice. If it's the most slimlined ship Olympic is unrivalled; but for sheer character Mauretania had it.
>tell us the largest (top ten) ships(passenger type) EVER built to date
No, I won't do that. There is such a fundamental difference between traditional ocean liners and the cruise ships in operation today that such an exercise is, to my mind, like comparing apples to aardvarks.
Until about 40 years ago, the principal purpose for which ships were built was transporation, a means of getting people from one place to another. Sovereign of the Seas, whatever that is, is a means of recreation, not transportation. Can you imagine, for example, any rational person choosing to spend a week (or even a weekend) in steerage-type accommodations for pleasure? Sorta like spending a weekend in the coach section of a DC-9 for pleasure.
Is Wembley larger than a 747? How does the Metropolitan Opera House compare to the Eurostar? I don't know and I don't much care, since their purposes are different. It seems to me that comparing Normandie to one of the Mickey Mouse ships is the same type of comparison.
Tonight I'll try to prepare a list of the largest, in terms of tonnage, "ocean liners" as I understand that term, and leave it to others to provide information about current floating thingies.
By tonnage, the ten largest passenger ships, excluding those built for cruising only---a word which allows the inclusion of QE2, which was built principally, but not only, for cruising---were/are:
Queen Elizabeth (Cunard White Star) 83,673 tons
Normandie (CGT) 83,423 after 1936 refitting
Queen Mary (Cunard White Star) 81,237
France (CGT) 66,348
Queen Elizabeth 2 (Cunard) 65,863
Majestic (White Star; ex-Hapag Bismarck) 56,621
Leviathan (United States Lines; ex-Hapag Vaterland) 54,282
United States (United States Lines) 53,329
Berengaria (Cunard; ex-Hapag Imperator) 52,226
Liberte (CGT; ex-NDL Europa) 51,840
Some notes: Normandie's tonnage was initially 79,280, but a refitting was completed just before QM entered service, permitting Normandie to retain the "largest ship" title. The tonnage shown here for QE2 is her original tonnage; it was later increased after several refittings and is now 70,327. France's tonnage as Norway was originally 69,379, and is now 76,049. The "tonnage" of Leviathan fluctuated wildly without any meaningful modifications to the ship, depending on whether USL wanted to be able to claim her as the largest ship in the world (when she was measured at 59,956) or wanted to save on port fees based on tonnage (when she was measured as 49,943); the figure shown here is the figure Hapag used for her as Vaterland. The tonnage of SSUS was also remeasured several times, as 44,893 in 1962, and 38,216 in 1967. As Europa, Liberte's tonnage was 49,746.