The Olympic v the Titanic


Erica Monty

I am so confused! In all the books I have read they say the Olympic and the Titanic were the exact same size. And they say that the Olympic came out in 1911. Why does no one know about the Olympic now. Most regular people have NEVER heard of the Titanic's twin. Why was the Titanic more popular the the Olympic?!?!?!??! Alsmost all the pictures we have of the Titanic are actually from the Olympic so we know they were the same. So why is the Olympic not as well known??!?!!

Jason Bidwell

One simple reason. The Titanic sank. The Olympic didn't. 1500 people died on the Titanic's maiden voyage - including many celebrities of that time. Olympic was "Old Reliable" and was scrapped in 1935. Which story would you prefer reading about?

Philippe Pigeau

I eared there was no private bathrooms for the first class cabins on the Titanic and on other great ships like the Mauretania or the Aquitania. Is that true? And, if it is, when and on which ship have they made their first appearance? Thank You!

P.S. You have a very good site! I found a lot of interesting informations about the RMS Titanic.

Destiny Clardy

I have read in many different places that the Titanic and Olympic name plate were mistakenly switched when put on the ships. That would mean that the Olympic sank, not the Titanic. Is this true?

I have read somewhere that there were private bathrooms for the first and some second class passangers but no private ones for the third class. The first class were better than everyone else and insisted on having private wash rooms. Titanic was the most elegant and the best of ship at that time, so to prove its grandness, the constructors put private wash rooms to assure the passangers that the "Unsinkable" Titanic was the best of the best.
Apr 26, 2005
Philippe: En fait, plusieurs cabines en première classe avaient des salles de bains personnelles communicantes. Elles étaient réparties sur les ponts B et C, le plus souvent à l'aplomb des deux dernières cheminées, et déservaient les suites les plus luxueuses du bord. Il y avait de l'eau chaude et froide courante pour la baignoire/douche et pour les robinets. Le sol était carrelé de linoléum à motifs verts. Des sonnettes pour steward étaient placées à portée de la main. Les passagers de l'Aquitania et du Mauretania avaient aussi droit à un tel luxe, bien que les salles de bains personnelles furent en moins grand nombre. Tu peux voir les plans de ces cabines sur le site même, sous la rubrique 'Deck Plans'. Clique ensuite sur les lettres des ponts de ton choix. J'espère que mes informations te furent satisfaisantes! Sincèrement,

Charles Provost

Erica Monty

I see why more people know about the Titanic sank NOW but why did people back then make more of a fuss about the Titanic?!?!? I'm still confused!

Dan Cherry

Mar 3, 2000
The so-called switching of the Olympic and
Titanic's name plates in an insurance scam were
little more than a perpetuated rumor in the years
after the disaster.
However, any Titanic historian will be happy to
point out endless ways that this is not true. Some
of the more cursory examinations will reveal
several obvious differences:
The Olympic's A-deck promenade was fully open.
Titanic's was enclosed the third week of March in
an improvement to her sister. The third sister,
Britannic, also had this feature.
Titanic's B-deck configuration was completely
different than Olympic. This is obvious in the
window configuration.
Titanic's wheelhouse was flat, whereas Olympic's
was rounded (not the bridge wall, just the
interior wheelhouse). The wreck shows remains of a
flat, square wheelhouse.
Titanic's shipyard number was 401. Olympic was
400. Britannic was 433. The wreck clearly shows,
on the propeller blade, '401'.
As for why we remember Titanic over Olympic and
Britannic, Jason's post above put it best. The
Titanic sank, with a catastrophic loss of life.
The Olympic lived out an otherwise uneventful
career. Same reason why we hear about the
Lusitania but not her sister Mauretania. The
Mauretania, too, lived out a long career, and
the Olympic was scrapped in 1935-37.
You might also ask, "Well, the Britannic sank,
too. Why don't we hear about her?" The Britannic,
though sunk, was one of many war casualties in
WWI. Since the loss of life was minimal (28-30
people) and the British Admiralty kept the sinking
as low key as they could, this is why the shadow
of Titanic obliterates her sisters, merely because
of the scale of tragedy.
Erica, if you are still a little confused, just
holler, and I'll try to clarify things even

Elaine Barnes

I think what you are asking, is why was the Titanic more popular in 1912 than her sister ship, the Olympic? I think the answer is, the Titanic was brand new and I think larger than Olympic. She was on her maiden voyage so more brochures and pamphlets were printed about her.Olympic had already been put in service, so the hoopla around her was now transferred to Titanic. Of course, then Titanic sank on her maiden voyage and then Olympic never had a chance to be in the limelight again. Does that help?

Dave Gittins

Apr 11, 2001
Not so, Erica. Because Olympic was up and running when Titanic went into service, very little fuss was made about Titanic. Titanic was the same size as Olympic, but had slightly more enclosed space, which gave her a larger Gross Registered Tonnage, which is a measure of volume.

There was very little hoopla about the maiden voyage. Photos taken by Francis Browne show just a couple of hundred people on the wharf to see her off.

The song and dance surrounding Titanic comes entirely from the sinking. Had she given years of service she would be forgotten, along with the bigger and better ships that soon followed her. What do you know about Leviathan, Berengaria and Majestic?

Erica Monty

Thank you soo much Everyone helped clear things up for me. Now I can stop wondering so much!
I contest that the Olympic was the more famous of the two prior to 15th April 1912. Harland & wolff didn't bother doing an extensive photo shoot of the Titanic's interiors prior to her departure, they only took photos of the rooms that were not on Olympic. The rooms were so similar that I reckon it wouldn't have been worth taking a new photo shoot of them. Floating wreckage from the Titanic is also 95% identical to equivalent pieces from Olympic. The Titanic left Southampton with hardly any fuss at all as compared to Olympic's maiden voyage in June 1911 which left with a great deal of publicity and fuill complement of passengers. The Railway and Travel Monthly refers to Olympic "The wonder ship" I have not seen a source dating from before the sinking that uses that phrase or anything like it. All that was noted was there were slight improvedments to Titanic that had been learned from experience with Olympic. More later.


Sam Brannigan

Feb 24, 2007
The Titanic left with such little fuss because her maiden voyage was postponed from March to April to complete unforeseen repairs on the Olympic.

The ship was hurried to Southampton as White Star knew that she had to be ready for April 10th and in the middle of the time for getting her ready was Easter.

The Olympic had much longer to prepare. She stopped over in Liverpool en route for Southampton, and the people of both cities had the chance to tour the ship before she left.

Because of the coal strike at the time White Star also realised that it would be a longer and messier job to coal the ship than usual, and in a shorter period of time.

I'm sure had the circumstances been different the Titanic would have entered service with much more spectacle than she did.

Her sea trials were also even shorter than the Olympics before departing Belfast, so the urgency to get the ship to sea is even more apparant.

It is also worth noting that in Titanic Voices by Hyslop et al a contemporary of the two ships notes that there was very little fuss because the Titanic was just another marvel in a series of marvels.


Jan 5, 2001

Slight correction to Olympic's 'full complement' of passengers. According to the list there were somewhere around 1,300, which I have thought was respectable considering the times.

Best regards,

Jan 5, 2001
If I remember rightly, it also appeared in 'The Shipbuilder' who often repeated hyperbole without checking. Still the New York Times said about 1,313 and I think that's the same as the passenger list, I quote from memory.

Aquitania only had 1,000; many famous liners' maiden trips were overshadowed and they did not travel full. I guess the coronation and coal strike stopped many people from travelling.

I agree wholeheartedly with Olympic being at thew forefront. The Belfast News-Letter gave 3 pages (from memory) to her launch, but less than a page to Titanic. The paper said that as Titanic had not been completed to the same standard before launching she was slightly lighter, still making Olympic the heaviest ship launched, like Adriatic was heavier than Mauretania according to the same paper.

Sam Brannigan

Feb 24, 2007

I am having severe trouble with sending e-mail and wish you could somehow pass on my feelings about the "Nomadic".

I think that it is a disgrace that such an important part of the worlds maritime heritage should be treated like this.

Notwithstanding the Titanic, the fact that the last surviving ship from a line such as White Star, which was so important for the immigrant trade at its most crucial time, should be dying in the 21st century is a total disgrace.

I hope Senan reads this and can inform the relevant authorities in Cobh as to whats happening.

Lets bring the old girl back to "Queenstown"!


Scott Cosso

Feb 12, 2004
Its pretty simple why we hear of Titanic and not the Olympic. Let me ask some questions. What ship do you hear of more? Lusitania or Mauritania? Empress of Ireland or Empress of Britain? Andrea Doria or Cristoforo Columbo? And Imporator was the biggest ship after Titanic, have you ever heard of that? Titanic sank with a great loss of life and disappeared for 73 years so that captured the public's imagination.
As for Nomadic, I dont see how it can be left to be scrapped or something. I mean, that ship once floated side by side with the Titanic. 220 feet long, yeah thats big but can be repaired witha little time and effort. It can be an honorary tender when Titanic 2 comes out.
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Scott, you make some interesting points. There is something about disaster that grabs everybody's attention. Not in every case though. How many people have heard of the Morro Castle? We have, but outside of those with an affection for liners, the list of those who have heard of this one is mighty slender.

As to the Nomadic, I can see all too easily how she can be scrapped. The Enterprise of WWII fame should have been a sure thing for preservation. Instead, she was scrapped.

Michael H. Standart

Robert D. Lackey

After the Titanic sank, the Olympic was withdrawn from service and a double hull was added. This feature was also added to the Britannic.

It's my understanding this modification to Olympic actually made it heavier than the Titanic.

The Titanic was slightly heavier than Olympic when it left for it's maiden voyage due to some changes made during the fitting out process.

It is true the Olympic got the most publicity during the building phase of the two ship. Some of the eary White Star publicity releases promote the Olympic alone. Later the Olympic and Titanic are promoted together.

The Olympic and Titanic were built side by side and the Olympic hull was painted differently than the Titanic at launch.

There is no chance the two ships could have been confused.

But it is interesting that Captain Smith did forget about the enclose part of A deck and some sources claim he said something to the effect "I'm no longer on the Olympic". But this can be explained and understood without discrediting Smith's ability to know which ship he was running.

He was under tremendous stress and shock at the time of the oversight due to the knowledge that according to Andrews the ship would sink and he and Andrews and few others realised that and how terrible the lost of life would be.

Similar threads

Similar threads