The New Class Olympic & Titanic


Nigel Bryant

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Aug 1, 2010
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Hi all,

Do you think Cunard was abit jealous of the new two vessels of the Olympic class when they came a reality sailing under White Star? I know both lines had different aims, but do you think Cunard got abit jealous over White Star's new ships to build the Aquitania? Do you think Cunard wished they had the two Olympic-class vessels under there ownership? Is that why they strike back at the competition buy building the Aquitania to outdo White Star's class of ships? Was the Cunard Line impressed about the design on the "Olympics"? I know this is a strange question but I would be interested to see what the different responses are.

All the best,

Nigel
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

Do you think Cunard was abit jealous of the new two vessels of the Olympic class when they came a reality sailing under White Star?

*A bit* yes, or even very, but I don't think they were that worried. Lusitania and Mauretania continued to be profitable sailing from Liverpool, whereas Olympic and Titanic were scheduled from Southampton. Many people have overlooked this by saying that Lusitania's passenger totals did not go down much and that this must have dissapointed White Star, but not so: she sailed from a different port.

I know both lines had different aims, but do you think Cunard got abit jealous over White Star's new ships to build the Aquitania?

I am not sure about jealous. Lusitania and Mauretania could at best provide a fortnightly service, albeit a fast and luxurious one. Yet with increasing competition looming from the Germans and White Star, I think Cunard went for that concept: a larger, more luxurious, slightly slower but more economic big passenger carrying ship. Aquitania was being discussed when Olympic was in the early stages of construction, as you know.

Do you think Cunard wished they had the two Olympic-class vessels under there ownership?

Not after Titanic sank.
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I think Cunard were more than happy with their Blue Ribband winners, but like any business they were not pleased that their rivals appeared to be moving ahead -- if not on speed, then luxury and size. Cunard certainly felt that the concept of the 'Olympics' was a good one, and definitely it was from a economic standpoint. From memory, Aquitania's profits had to be high to make up for a lack of a subsidy for her a la Mauretania. No doubt that partly accounted for her massive passenger capacity, in relation to the 'Olympics' -- then again, Cunard's and the German 50,000 tonners squeezed people in. Per net ton, the 'Olympics' were far more spacious with fewer people.

Was the Cunard Line impressed about the design on the "Olympics"?

Yes and no. Cunard were no doubt interested that Bruce Ismay asked them for copies of Mauretania's B-deck windows! Such clear copying would be unthinkable in today's world, IMO. From that view I think they felt Mauretania was grand if White Star were copying *some* details from her. Yet I think overall they were impressed with the 'Olympics.' Cunard criticized some of the 'over grand' décor, before repeating such ideas on Aquitania; many of Aquitania's features were copied from Olympic. Many people have noticed that the two liners are similar in several respects. Cunard *loved* the idea of Olympic's a la Carte restaurant, *and* its décor. On the other hand, Cunard slated the idea of combination machinery from the standpoint that a slight improvement in economy robbed space needed for the massive reciprocating engines and went for a quad-screw turbine-driven design for Aquitania.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Thanks Nigel, I am glad you enjoyed my post.

(HINT: let's hope this thread continues to grow.) A range of opinions from different standpoints is grand. Hopefully some real experts will weigh in.

Best,

Mark.
 

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