Launched on 21 April 1913 at the John Brown & Co. shipyard, Aquitania was destined to become one of the longest-lived and most beloved liners in Cunard Line history.
The 45,647 GRT Aquitania was the last ship to join Cunard’s pre-World War I “Grand Trio” (following Mauretania (1906) and Lusitania). The massive four-stacker was 901 feet long and 97 feet at beam. She could carry 3,230 passengers (618 first class, 614 second class and 2,004 third class). After a 1926 refit, Aquitania’s capacity was reduced to 2,200 passengers (610 first class, 950 second class and 640 tourist class). She was rated at 23 knots.
Aquitania departed Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York on 30 May 1914, the day after Empress of Ireland tragedy. It must have been a subdued departure in light of the fact that Empress of Ireland’s destination was Liverpool.
Aquitania made just two more voyages to New York before the outbreak of World War I and her requisition by the British government.
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