Would all the passengers have actually been happy to arrive in New York early?

Sep 9, 2017
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It seems Titanic was pushing to arrive early but surely passengers would have made plans for meeting with people/ arriving at places/ getting picked up etc at certain times. And these are the days before cell phones (obviously) so plans weren't easy to change at short notice.

Would they have been happy with having to depart the ship early?

Or would they have been allowed to stay on the ship until they were ready to leave at the time they had planned?
 
A

Aaron_2016

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It seems Titanic was pushing to arrive early but surely passengers would have made plans for meeting with people/ arriving at places/ getting picked up etc at certain times. And these are the days before cell phones (obviously) so plans weren't easy to change at short notice.

Would they have been happy with having to depart the ship early?

Or would they have been allowed to stay on the ship until they were ready to leave at the time they had planned?

Good question. I watched two cruise ships arrive at night in Southampton. I returned early the next morning and heard the ship's speakers announcing to the passengers that they could now disembark the ship. I don't know if the same procedure occurred in 1912 but I think it has to do with the dock workers, porters, transportation, and hotel reservations. They would arrive early and gain all the prestige and glory, but they would not actually disembark until the appointed hour. There are plenty of ships anchored off Belfast harbour waiting to come in, but they still have to wait for the appointed time, despite arriving many hours early. When my sister booked her cruise she said that the price was based on the rooms per night just like a hotel. I wonder if the cost of the tickets in 1912 were based on how many nights they needed accommodation for on the ship, or if the cost was a generic one for the destination?


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Mar 18, 2008
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Passengers could stay aboard for the night and leave the ship the next morning after breakfast if they wanted. Olympic did arrive a few times early Tuesday nights and most of the passengers left the ship. So no real problem.
 
Sep 9, 2017
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Well that's cool if they had the option. I wondered if maybe 3rd class passengers would be told to depart straight away while first class would have the option of staying until they were ready to leave at the planned time.
 

Athlen

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Apr 14, 2012
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The tickets for Third Class were required to have the contract printed on them. It states that the passenger will be transported from point A to point B, with 10 cubic feet of space for luggage, and that they will be fed during the trip. The contract was required to state the minimum amounts of food to be provided weekly, which was set by law (this is why there was a guaranteed half-ounce of mustard and pepper). It also included a sample bill of fare.

These requirements arose from the Merchant Shipping Act. On looking further into the Act I found this:

327. (1) Every steerage passenger in an emigrant ship shall be entitled for at least forty-eight hours next after his arrival at the end of his voyage to sleep in the ship, and to be provided for and maintained on board thereof, in the same manner as during the voyage, unless within that period the ship leaves the port in the further prosecution of her voyage.

Merchant Shipping Act (1894, 57 & 58 Vict. Ch. 60)​

I can't find anything for cabin (1st cabin = 1st class, 2nd cabin = 2nd class) passengers in the Act, probably because those were well-enough regulated by custom and it was steerage that needed to be legislated upon. It is definitely already clear that 1st and 2nd class passengers were permitted to remain aboard ship until after breakfast, though. It seems the same was true for 3rd class.
 
Sep 9, 2017
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That's very interesting.

Actually just saw a documentary on youtube in which a woman recounts her mother expressing concern to her father (after overhearing that the ship was going to arrive early) that the hotel wouldn't be expecting them so early. Obviously she would have been unaware of the above, but if the ship had not met with disaster that night she'd have been informed at some point that they could stay on.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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3rd class would disembark at Ellis Island.

1st & 2nd class passengers had the note about the landing arrangements printed in the passenger list and that they could spend the night aboard in the passenger list. The stewards and purser stuff would give them the same information.
 
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Mark Baber

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Over the years I've come across news reports of all sorts of different things happening if a ship arrived early, including: cabin passengers being allowed to stay on board overnight; cabin passengers required to stay on board overnight (if, for example, customs inspectors were not available); cabin passengers required to disembark, etc. Similarly, where steerage passengers would spend the night (e.g., on board or at Ellis Island) varied. There seems to have been no hard and fast rule.
 
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Mark Baber

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Here are some examples:
12 November 1895: Coptic (Capt. Lindsay) arrives at San Francisco from Hong
Kong, Yokohama and Honolulu, setting a new record of 6 days, 2 hours for the
Honolulu-San Francisco leg of the trip. Because of her unexpectedly early
arrival, she will anchor between Alcatraz and Lima Point overnight rather
than try to dock in the dark. Among her passengers is Francis M. Hatch, the
new Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary from the Republic of
Hawaii to the United States. (Source: The San Francisco Call, 13 November
1895.)

7 January 1903: Corinthic, see 21 November, which arrived last night and
anchored in the stream overnight, docks at Wellington for the first time.
Continued 9 January. (Source: The Evening Post (Wellington), 7 January
1903.)

15 August 1903: At New York, Celtic II (Capt. Lindsay) arrives at the Bar at
6:15 p.m. and, rather than anchoring overnight in the harbor, proceeds
directly to her dock. This leaves her "dumbfounded" passengers, who had
counted on another night and breakfast on board, unexpectedly in search of
hotel accommodations when they disembark. (Source: The New York Times, 16
August 1903.)

9 January 1906: Canopic (Capt. Inman Sealby) arrives at Boston from the
Mediterranean with over 900 passengers, most of them Italian or Portuguese.
As the ship is being docked the tide carries her toward the Boston Navy
Yard, and she comes close to colliding with the nearby U.S.S. Constitution
before being brought safely to her pier. After she is secure her saloon
passengers and U.S. citizens in second-class and steerage will be cleared by
immigration officials tonight; the balance of her passengers will remain on
board overnight and be examined tomorrow. (Source: Boston Daily Globe, 10
January 1906.)

8 July 1906: Celtic II (Capt. Ranson), which arrived at New York last
night, but too late to dock, is able to land her passengers by 8 a.m. due to
the early morning arrival of the medical examiners at Quarantine. Among her
294 cabin passengers are Waldorf Astor and his bride, Nancy Langhorrne Shaw,
publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and J. P. Morgan, Jr.; there are also 206 in
steerage. (Sources: The New York Times, 9 July 1906; New-York Tribune, 9
July 1906; The Sun (New York), 9 July 1906.)

1 April 1908: After a westbound trip during which she encountered much
rough weather followed by "remarkable clam water" at the end, Oceanic II
(Capt. Haddock) arrives at New York late in the evening. Her gangplank is
not put down until 10:45 p.m. and most of the ship's second-class passengers
reportedly decide to remain in board overnight because of the late hour.
Among Oceanic's passengers is suffragette Lady Cook, née Tennessee Clafin,
accompanied by her nephew Millard Sparr. (Sources: The New York Times, 2
April 1908; Ellis Island ship manifest.)

12 September 1909: When Arabic II arrives at her New York pier at 10:15
p.m., nearly 400 of her 548 cabin passengers refuse to come ashore and
decide to spend the night on board rather than have to face customs
officials and then hotel accommodations that late at night. The customs
inspectors are said to be "upset" by their having had to leave
"half-finished dinners" to clear only a small number of passengers and
having to return early tomorrow morning, in the words of one, "to
accommodate them who would rather sleep than spend a few late hours on the
pier opening their trunks and explaining the contents of them to our men."
(Sources: The New York Times, 13 September 1909; Ellis Island ship
manifest.)

15 August 1911: Returning from his annual trip abroad, J. P. Morgan arrives
at New York on Olympic (Capt. E. J. Smith); when reporters board at
Quarantine at 10 p.m., they find Morgan in his suite on C deck, playing
solitaire. His yacht Corsair comes alongside, but Morgan remains on board
Olympic overnight and boards Corsair at the pier. Other passengers include
U.S. Ambassador to France Robert Bacon, Sir Charles Beresford and
Philadelphia traction magnate P. A. B. Widener. (Sources: New-York Tribune,
16 August 1911; The Sun (New York), 16 August 1911; The World Evening
Edition (New York), 16 August 1911; Ellis Island ship manifest.)

30 September 1920: As Baltic II reaches the Ambrose Lightship just before
midnight and prepares to anchor there until morning, a severe southeasterly
gale leads Capt. Hambelton to return to sea to await calmer weather. Baltic
will proceed to quarantine early tomorrow, but because of congestion at
White Star's piers she will be held at anchorage there and will not arrive
at Pier 60 until 1:30 in the afternoon. On board are 2,060 passengers and
$10 million in gold consigned to New York bankers. (Source: New York
Tribune, 2 October 1920; The New York Times, 2 October.)
 
Mar 22, 2003
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There is documented evidence that J Bruce Is may was not a fan of his ship's arriving at night because he was looking at it as disturbance to the passengers many of whom would stay on board overnight anyway. He was however very delighted with an early arrival, such as early evening, if it would not cause a disturbance or hardship.
 

Mark Baber

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Here's another possibility:
3 March 1904: At New York, barges with over 400 steerage passengers from
Oceanic II (Capt. Cameron) set off for Ellis Island in the tow of the
sidewheeler John E. Moore in an "impenetrable" fog. The Moore wanders
about the Hudson for three hours or more before landing at a location which
(according to the Tribune) a scouting party identifies as either Germany or
Hoboken; the latter turning out to be correct, the skipper sets off again
after receiving telephone advice from Ellis Island that the immigrants can
still be taken there. The passengers, however, will not be processed today
and will (a) spend the night on Ellis Island due to a shortage of
immigration personnel, the employee ferry Carlisle having made only one trip
through the fog (Times), or (b) spend the night on Oceanic after being
returned to the ship due to their alarm at their plight (Tribune) or the
Moore's captain not wanting to do any more sailing today (Sun). (Sources:
The New York Times, 4 March 1904; New-York Tribune, 4 March 1904; The Sun
(New York), 4 March 1904; Ellis Island ship manifest.)
 
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