HAPAG’s Deutschland (1900), the world’s second “four stack” liner (following rival Norddeutscher Lloyd’s Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse) was launched at Hamburg’s Blohm & Voss shipyard on 10 January 1900, beginning the first of her three lives.
The 20,815 GRT twin-screw Deutschland, 602 feet long with a 72 foot beam and a 23-knot rated speed, was slightly larger than Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. Yet in terms of outward appearance, both ships were remarkably alike. Each featured four funnels and a pair of masts. When seen together the two vessels could almost be mistaken for sister ships, although owned by competing lines. On 12 July 1900, Deutschland took the Blue Riband from Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, completing a westbound transatlantic crossing in 5 days, 15 hours, and 46 minutes at an average speed of 22.42 knots. The liner’s “world’s fastest” status was didn’t last long, however. On 16 September 1902, Norddeutscher Lloyd’s Kronprinz Wilhelm snatched the Blue Riband from Deutschland, completing a westbound transatlantic crossing in 5 days, 11 hours, and 57 minutes at an average speed of 23.09 knots.
In 1910, after a decade of reliable transatlantic service (and troublesome vibrations that prevented her from running regularly at high speed), HAPAG converted Deutschland into a full-time cruise ship. She was also given a new name—Viktoria Luise—reflecting the name of HAPAG’s first purpose-built cruise ship, Prinzessin Victoria Luise, which in 1906 had run aground and was wrecked off the coast of Jamaica.
Viktoria Luise was converted into an auxiliary cruiser for use by the Imperial German Navy during World War I, yet saw no action due to the troublesome engines that had also cut short her years as an Atlantic greyhound.
In 1921 the ship entered her third life (minus two funnels), becoming an immigrant carrier named Hansa. Stricter US immigration laws, however, eliminated the need for such vessels, and in 1925 Hansa (ex-Deutschland, ex- Viktoria Luise) was sold for scrap.
Deutschland (1900)—First Class Interior Views
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