Voyages That Didnt Happen

Jim Kalafus

Dec 3, 2000
Pre-plane travel, your crossing was frequently prefaced by a train journey. This meant notifying your local society column well in advance if you lived in the Midwest or West. So quite a few "Departing on the Titanic" blurbs appeared right up until April 15, as people who lived far from NYC set out. No doubt these crossings that didnt happen later became oft-told family stories.


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Scott Mills

Jul 10, 2008
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Given how laborious and time intensive travel was during that period, imagine having purchased a ticket on Titanic only to find out that when you arrive in New York, the ship you intended to sail on would not be departing for its return voyage to Europe--ever.

I imagine that this resulted in many a stressful trip where passengers had to re-arrange their travel plans, and book passage on a different vessel as soon as they arrived in New York.

Does anyone know how long it took White Star to refund tickets sold for Titanic's return voyage, or whether or not White Star merely transferred passengers to another White Star liner?

If someone booked passage on a Titanic they might be pretty irritated to find White Star trying to force them to take a smaller slower liner with less amenities than an Olympic class vessel, and seeing as how Olympic was in transit to Europe and once there, a crew strike occurred, a passenger would have to wait weeks if they wanted to sail on Olympic.

I am guessing that, much like today's airline industry, companies like White Star had agreements with other lines to transfer passengers when, for one reason or another, White Star could not provide the berth passengers had paid for on a White Star vessel.


Mar 25, 2019
Glasgow, Scotland
According to, the ageing Majestic become a reserve ship after the Olympic entered service in 1911. After the Titanic disaster, the Majestic was brought back into service to fill the Titanic's planned 1912 schedule.

Considering how some of the Titanic's passengers had been transferred from laid up ships of the American Line which was also part of IMM, presumably it could work the other way too ? If for whatever reason White Star couldn't find them berths then the overspill are accommodated by other IMM concerns such as American Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Dominion Line, Red Star Line etc

Scott Mills

Jul 10, 2008
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Keep in mind that the number of lifeboats on British vessels were only up to the same antiquated standard that Titanic and Olympic were when many passenger arrangements had to be rebooked. Anyone willing to fly on the Boeing 737 max 8 right now?

Having to replace Titanic with Majestic must have been a tough blow for White Star, particularly if they were trying to cement brand loyalty. There was a far cry between the type of passage one could expect from an Olympic class liner, and Majestic--the Majestic having been built in 1889.

Furthermore, White Star would suffer more with the loss of Britannic in the First World War. Basically, they had to go an entire decade with only one large modern liner, but I suppose this was partially true of Cunard as well. Cunard lost Lusitania during the war, but Aquitania, which was finishing her fitting out (much like Britannic) in August of 1914 survived. Meaning pretty quickly after the war Cunard was able to restart at least her two ship express service.

Cunard did have to wait to start her three ship express service though with the loss of Lusitania. Having purchased Imperator from the British government and re-christening her Berengaria, it turned out she needed an extensive rebuild before she was ready to actually enter service for Cunard.

Incidentally, I forgot about the IMM angle. White Star *could* easily re-book people on other IMM ships, but in addition to what you pointed out, Sam, regarding the reluctance to board ships with inadequate lifeboat capacity immediately after Titanic sank, I assume many people booking passage on a large modern liner--and paying a premium--were doing so on purpose.

Given this, had I purchased passage on Titanic's return voyage, I would be pretty irritated to now how to take one of these smaller IMM vessels, which had far fewer amenities, was far slower, and much more prone to roll around in the ocean and make passengers sick for half the voyage.
May 3, 2005
Were there any records of whether or not any of those persons mentioned in those news articles continued on their voyages on other ships since it was obviously impossible to book passage on the Titanic and they would have been only able to book on lesser ships with lesser amenities ?
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Mike Spooner

Jan 31, 2018
Surely if they have brought a ticket for Titanic return crossing and the ship wasn't available, they must be entitle to a full refund!

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