Titanic or Lusitania


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Nov 9, 2002
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Hey Everyone,

I was just wondering which ship you all thought was more luxuries and had more beautiful interior rooms. The Lusitania had high ceilings and was very airy while the Titanic had a more cozy feeling with more heavy furniture. Of course the Lusitania was older than the Titanic but it still is kind of hard to decide. Let me hear what you guys think!
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Sahand:

I agree with you. For me, there's just no comparing the elegance of Lusitania's interiors to any other ship afloat during her time.

I think her superstructure wasn't as appealing as Titanic's (especially her rear view with all those open decks) but her interior appointments were unrivaled in my opinion. Although on a smaller scale than Titanic, her rooms gave the illusion of greater space and airiness by virtue of white paint work, delicate gilding, higher ceilings, and less fussy treatment in general. She looked like an ocean-borne miniature Versailles and you can't get more enchanting than that.

By contrast, Titanic's interiors, on the whole, seem dark and uninviting to me, especially the Jacobean dining saloon and reception hall, a style very fashionable at the time but just not as light and fresh-looking as (for instance) Lusitania's dining room, entrance hall and reading-writing room, all exquisitely paneled in white and set with gilt fixtures, recalling the fashion of the three Louis. It's this fine interpretation of regal French style that set her apart. Titanic's interiors only came close to topping Lusitania with its own French-inspired rooms - the a la carte restaurant, the Cafe Parisian, and the verandah or Palm Court, etc.

That's just how I see it, though.

Randy
 
Sep 22, 2003
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I personally like Lusitania better too, Both Exterior and Interior. Although Some People may disagree w/ me on this, most White Star ships in my opinion looked too Box like on the Exterior, the Only exception being the Georgic (1929). The only Real advantic I Think Titanic's Exterior had is it made the Funnel Positions appear better, While the Lusitania's Made her's seem like they were too far forward, though this is all only my opinion.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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That's a matter for changing tastes, also. Our modern taste tends to run for the open and spacious, while the taste in the 19teens - whatever you term the era - was turning towards a cosier, more intimate environment in interior design. Therefore, what you got on Titanic reflected this.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I think that any of the Olympics would be put to shame by the glitz and glamour of the way other liners were appointed, and this sure does a number on the usual superlative that these ships were the last word in luxury. They certainly were anything but IMO.

Having said that much, I have no doubt whatever that it was the Olympics which were much better seaboats because they avoided a lot of the topweight problems that made other liners lively rollers even in moderate seas. This was a notable problem for both the Lusitania and the Mauritania as well as the bigger ships that Germany already had on the slips.

The Imperator for example was not known as the Limperator for nothing, and even such efforts as cutting down the hight of the stacks and adding several thousand tons of concrete as permanent ballest never really cured the problem. At best, they put a band-aide on it.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Yes the Imperator had lousy stability. if you read simpson's book where he describes Lusitania's stability problems, he goes too far n make her sound more like Imperator. The most stable alantic ship without mechanical stabilizers was probably the Homeric (former NDL Columbus)
 
Sep 22, 2003
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yes. i do recall this. but i find most of simpson's book to be unreliable. While he is right about lusitania being unstable, he overplays it my opinion. A more reliable source would be the Engineering Special Edition book, though Ramsay or Bailey & Ryan will also do fine.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>but i find most of simpson's book to be unreliable.<<

As do some other historians. I seem to recall seeing some figures for the Lusitania which claimed a righting arm of 33 degrees, which is a dangerously slim margin for the North Atlantic IMO. However, this may reflect the condition of the ship in an already damaged state. I'll have to go back for a look see in the papers that I have.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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"...That's a matter for changing tastes, also. Our modern taste tends to run for the open and spacious, while the taste in the 19teens - whatever you term the era - was turning towards a cosier, more intimate environment in interior design. Therefore, what you got on Titanic reflected this..."

I wasn't speaking merely of my own taste but from an understanding and appreciation of the influences in interior decoration of the time.

While there was a gathering trend in Edwardian days toward Jacobean and other English period styles (which figured into Titanic's design), the prevailing fashion was for the "Old French Look," as espoused by stylist Elsie de Wolfe and other leading taste-makers of the era. Whether the specific mood was Louis Seize or Directoire or Empire, the basic character was nonetheless French neo-classical.

Therefore, my statement in praise of Lusitania's interiors isn't just my opinion but would have been the opinion of many style-conscious contemporary travelers.

My thought is that Titanic's designers were hoping to set it apart from its competition, the regal Cunard, and so seized upon a more traditional, less formal look by fusing period styles together in a sort of care-free, homey way. One see this, for instance, in the placing of dark English furniture and fixtures against white-painted "French look" paneling and ceilings (i.e., the dining room), a decision that isn't at all in bad taste. But, as an evocation of a pure period style, it isn't authentic in its arrangement and overall expression.

By contrast, Lusitania's designers were very careful about producing a "total" look in their scheme of period decoration, especially in their treatment of the pervasive French taste. Almost everything was accurately replicated - even down to small accents and details, such as the fine gilt trim, the luxurious plaster work, the Boucher-inspired ceiling art in the dining room, the cameo insets in the paneling in the first-class suites, etc.

The difference between the interiors on Lusitania and Titanic can almost be identified in terms of gender. The Titanic gave that warm, hearty feeling of an English country house or a private gentleman's club in London, with its delightful hodge-podge of furnishings and fixtures; Titanic was essentially a man's realm.

But aboard Lusitania, the soft, gracious mood of a ladies' music parlor or boudoir was set, with its airy lightness and delicate detailing. The decor was completely feminine and primarily Parisian in tone; she was like a floating Maxim's.

Style wise, you might say Titanic was lord to Lusitania's lady. Neither was "better" than the other, perhaps, but a lady always come first!
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Randy, when I was a boy, such 'French-style' furniture was so commonly seen that it was a mainstay of the house-clearance trade. Very occasionally, an authentic piece - most usually a chair - was discovered among the jumble. An auctioneer I knew then would sometimes say (always as if it were the first time he had!): "That Louis says a lot of things; but you can't always believe him." The circa1910 reproductions - otherwise of quality - always looked somehow 'heavier' and their paint 'chalkier'. At a time when people almost paid to have it taken away, I liked such furniture and would always refer to it as 'Titanic rococo'.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Don:

You are so right about the 1900s replicas of Louis and Empire chairs. They were definitely heavier and larger than the 18th century originals. You can see that in the Titanic lounge chairs especially, which look far more comfortable than the "real things" I have seen at Petit Trianon. In fact, with the exception of one of Mme. du Barry's sofas (ca. 1770) in the drawing room, none of the furniture there looks large enough to seat a normal size man of today.

Of course some of the chairs and tables made later for Marie-Antoinette (post-1774) were purposefully made on a small scale in keeping with the fashion for the miniature which the Queen is credited with inspiring. While Edwardian styles were lighter in color and seemingly less fussy, the recent Victorian taste nonetheless left its mark in pieces of commodious size and heaviness.

Yes, "Titanic Rococo" is a good name for it!

Randy
 
Mar 20, 2000
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I thought it might interest the board to read what interior decorating guru Helen Churchill Candee thought of modernized Louis XV and XVI styles.

A designer more in spirit than by profession (although she did occasionally create interiors for hire), she had much to say in her books and articles about the current trend for copying old French and other period furniture. Unfortunately, there is no known record of her impression of Titanic's decor.

Yet one can easily imagine the lovely Mrs. Candee gliding about the ship's public rooms, examining with her cultivated and critical eye the craftsmanship, color schemes and placement of furniture. Perhaps it was as she swept from lounge to verandah to restaurant, making mental notes of White Star style, that she first attracted the admiring glances of that brace of dapper dudes who would become her protectors en route.

Anyhow, here are a few excerpts from Candee's "Decorative Styles and Periods" (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, Co., 1906), one of her most popular works.

"...Unhappily for those who do know the difference (between Louis XV and XVI), the market is now being flooded with cheap machine-made imitations, which bear a painful resemblance to the real. It is annoying, surely, to run against the echo of de Pompadour in the department store, set between kitchen hardware and groceries, but these impertinences of fresh wood and machine-turned tool are but upstarts and, like the toadstools on the lawn, will not last. Perhaps they cultivate the public taste but I doubt if that is ever done except by study of the best. And the best - no matter how the prejudice of the day resents it - is of the past."

She says, too, that "if forms are copied, workmanship rarely is."

Personally, Candee was enamored of the styles of Louis Quinze and Seize but she was a stickler for the original article. This was not snobbishness on her part but a passionate appreciation of the consummate skill of the 18th century craftsmen who made such an art of their work.

She says it best herself:

"...The old chair was made by men who studied the rules of proportion as religiously as they learned the catechism, and who prepared for this by steeping their minds in the five orders of architecture. Each chair was turned out complete by one worker, often by him who designed it. Therein lies the reason for the perfection of the old. A piece of furniture was a composition, the expression of a man's own taste and erudition..."

She went on to say that

"...Without associating with original pieces, perhaps it is impossible to know the difference. Indeed I find myself embarrassed to set it down on paper. The atmosphere of antiquity which is its charm is impossible to describe - it must be felt. By reading you may know its history, by studying you may know its detail but only by contact can you feel its full charm..."

It's clear in reading her work that architecture and interior design were wedded in her opinion, not just due to shared principles but because both were, essentially, "a study of man." It is the human history behind the creation of a chair, the weaving of a tapestry, the arrangement of a suite of furniture that fascinated her.

And it is her touching depictions of the people and customs of various historical periods that imbue her own work with such sparkle and warmth.
 
J

Jing Hua Wu

Guest
I find Titanic to be definitely more luxurious than Lusitania. The fixures, decorations, and furnitures of big T are better than that of Lucy's. However, the first class public rooms of Lucy are more spacious, and the skylights in those room make them look somewhat bigger than they actually are. Titanic's first class public rooms looked more confined.

Still, big T's more luxurious because it got a sidewalk cafe, Turkish and electric baths, and a swimming pool, amenities that were not on Lucy. And she definitely look more visually balanced too, without the long distance between funnel 4 and the stern.
 

Wesley Burton

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Apr 22, 2004
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I would have to say Titanic was the more luxurious of the two. I do think Lucy's first class dining saloon was more luxurious though. Sadly neither room exists anymore.

And nothing Lucy had can compare with the grand staircase.
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi All,

My favorite interiors have and always will rest with the Titanic and Olympic, although Lusitania did have an elegant First Class Dining Saloon I believe the one aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II outclasses both ships by far.

The Olympic Class has a much more graceful profile than the Lusitania and Mauretania being that it is both balanced and pleasing, while Lusitania and Mauretania are so boxy and squared off.

The funnels of the Olympic Class ships rise gracefully from a well balanced deck while those aboard Lusitania and Mauretania rise suddenly from a cluttered mess of domes and oversized, gaudy ventilators.

The Cunard ships did have luxurious First Class cabins and accommodations, but the grand period suites aboard the Olympic Class shame them, especially the two Parlor Suites on Titanic.

I have many more comparisons on why I favor the White Star pair over that of Cunard however these are the most pertinent for both argument and time’s sake.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Feb 6, 2005
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Personally I prefer Titanic a lot better every cabin and public room is cozy homey, expecially the Smoking room. Where you and your friends can just go up the that room sit at your favourite table, play a few rounds then just get up go admire the fire, or the writting table without having to walk a distance from a point where you can still see your friends at the table. The Titanic just seemed warmer while the Lucy just seemed coolier. Both have their ups and downs. But the Titanic is for me
 
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João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
I definitely prefer Titanic, because she had such luxurious interiors, the public rooms were more opulent, the first class staterooms were more well-decorated and were more complete, not just by the private bathrooms but also by the fireplaces that I think Lucy didn't have. And Lusitania didn't have anything we can compare to the magnificent Grand Starcaise, there were no gymnasium, no turkish baths, no swimming pool and no squash court. Titanic seems stronger and heavier than Lusitania. Lucy was faster, ok, but didn't have the glamour and the popularity of Titanic, she looked so "thin". In some researches I did I found that many of the Lusitania passengers often reported excessive vibrations and low stability. Titanic was the last word in modern technology, combining this to traditional and gorgeous heavy and carved furniture, and the Olympic ships crew was more attentive than any other in the world, passengers could travel like kings in this liners! Titanic really looked more safe than the Cunard's ocean liner... (I'm not being sarcastic, if you see pictures of both, you'll say the same).

Regards, João
 
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