Sailing on Maury in the year 1920

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Ana Luisa Aldana


I am writing a piece of fiction that involves a couple reuniting and marrying on the Mauretania. I've scoured the 'net trying to find information about the on board experience, but no luck. I humbly ask for anyone who has information on where I can find links or can answer the following questions, many thanks in advance.

- How long many days/nights was the crossing from Southampton to New York? Did it ever stop and pick up passengers on the French coast (Calais?)

- What were the first class facilities on board (e.g. Palm court, reading room, etc?).

- How would one while the hours away during the day? Did people play charades, do needlepoint, play cards? What sort of entertainment was available during the day and night?
Was there live music? Did first class passengers dance? Did this only happen during the captain's dinner? How many formal nights (I presume the first and last nights at sea were not formal)

-Was Marconi the communication system?

-What was the largest and most expensive suite(s) on the Mauretania? How were they laid out? Were they big enough to have a sitting area with a fireplace? A dining room? A study? Did these rooms come with several attendants/butlers? Did these rooms have private promenandes/balconies?

-Who was the captain in 1920 and could marriage services be performed?

-What was generally the decor, in the suites and in public areas?

-Were the dining menus similar to Titanic?

Thank you again in advance for help.

rob scott

May 4, 2004
I wanted to reply to this- even if I don't have the exact answers- because I'm doing a similar thing; I plan to have the final 1/3 of my new novel take place on the final voyage of Lusitania.
I will be consulting the various books on her, including Preston's which I am currently enjoying, and some of her sources from her bib and notes as well. Suggest you can peruse the many books mentioned in these boards and also the articles from the front of this site, as well as all the great ocean liner books you can check from library or buy/borrow. Most of these questions can be answered; even suggest finding the reminiscings and diary of known passengers on a Maur run of about 1920; pay close attention to 2 things though: 1) she had a refit in there, maybe 1919-or-20-or-21? so you might get new decor or services or entertainments? and 2) your readers simply getting character surroundings or environment for social scenes may not know or care if you get a small thing wrong, so don't worry.
For details which may be similar and you can't get it for Maur, you might substitute a Lusi detail, but only you know the weight of the scene and can decide!

many books and web site links can be found right here, and bibliographies of the books you do find can help a long way.
I for one cannot go to Liverpool or London for archives but can get books including things in American cities; maybe you can too.
Mauretania was a grand and lux ride then and can help your ambience so dig in and have fun with it- remember that Maur did not have the Lusi 1st class Robert Adam plaster (Preston calls it Louis XVI, but it's British Adam isn't it?) but rather dark Victorian/Edwardian woods, but plenty rich. Maur also swayed or rolled more didn't she??
If you need the exact time of the call to tea or luncheon on Maur, can't get it but can get the Lusi one, take it!
And have fun out there.
Yes, Marconi wireless was aboard for communications but check your date, there may have been something new by 1920? get a Mauretania menu, not Titanic; I bet there's a band for dancing but if it's in the dining room is beyond me; you gotta get a captains list if you wanna name names: I'll use all fictitious names for those my roles meet and only true names for those they do not;
you can tell about Palm courts from photos in books, like did the Veranda cafe have a palm? or is there a palm in the lounge? - And from S'ton-NY times, she was the record holder so it must be only a little over 4 days but you can see an exact one in a Maur section of a liner book; I don't think she would have gone up to Calais before going down to sea, and when did she move UK route point to S'ton? - those are up to you, writer/researcher ;)
I think I'd like to read it.
Mar 20, 2000
"...Maur also swayed or rolled more didn't she??..."

In a taped interview with John Maxtone-Grahame in August 1970, Edith Russell talked about sailing on the Mauretania. She said it had a "terrible vibration" and Maxtone-Grahame agreed, replying, "Yes, very shaky."

Ana Luisa Aldana

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the tip. Other than the train holidays link, are there no other Maury links out there? The ones I found dealt more with exterior shots and general history...she did undergo work in 1921.

Doug McDonnell

Try books, The PPicture History of The Cunard Line or A Picture Hisory of the British Ocean Liners
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