What's your favourite ocean liner?

Do you go for size, grace, history or something else? Everyone knows about the Titanic, but what about the Lusitania, on which the toll was nearly as large?

If you like massive “4 stackers”, in the 20s and 30s you could have crossed the Atlantic on the 1st Mauretania, the Olympic, or the fantastic Aquitania (which amazingly survived for several years after WW2).

I love the Queen Mary, and I hope to step foot on it / her some day, but I think the Normandie was more beautiful, and her ending was as tragic as it could get without loss of life. I can’t find much affection for the Queen Elizabeth and even less for the QE2, other than the fact that they were built by Scots. However I’ve seen the QM2 and think she’s pretty cool. I am aware of the work of contemporary cruise ship builders.

As a kid I was obsessed with 1930s liners but I don’t know how I never heard of the Majestic or the Berengaira. In particular the Majestic is my new favourite thing; she was the 3rd largest ship in the world when she caught fire and sank about 10 miles from where I am now at the start of WW2. I don’t know whether she was completely below the surface when she hit the bottom or not, I’m thinking of getting in touch with local newspapers to see if they have any pictures.

There’s something I can’t quite comprehend about the awesomeness of the Empress of Britain. She was beautiful and as far as I can tell looked much bigger than she actually was - anyone got any thoughts? She was the biggest ship sunk by the Axis in WW2 (not the biggest loss of life, I think that was the Lancastria).

I always preferred the liners that were the biggest of their age, but I’m now getting into the smaller one such as the 2nd Mauretania. I’ve been reading about the smaller liners which served New Zealand, Australia and South Africa right up until the 1970s; I wish I could have gone on one of those. There is still a small ship that serves St Helena.

There’s also the 19th century screw liner The Campania who’s hull lies, apparently in surprisingly good condition, on the bottom of the Forth near where I live, after sinking during WW1, at which time she had been converted to an aircraft carrier.

As an east of Scotlander,it’s been strange for me to discover something recently; everyone knows that so many massive ships were built on the Clyde on the west of Scotland. No-one realises that just as many ships were broken up on the Forth on the east coast. Not just the above mentioned Majestic and Campania (which in any case hasn’t been broken up), there’s also the massive Olympic, both Mauretanias, and many others.

Meant to mention, I’ve read that during WW2 the Queens, painted grey, sailed with up to 16000 soldiers across the Atlantic, unaccompanied, as they were so fast that neither the escorts or the U-Boats could keep up with them. How cool is that?

A somewhat older ship The Steamship Atlantic, in the very early age of ocean liners I think the sail/paddle wheel combination made for a very handsome even romantic looking vessel.

Mine is the SS United States, the mystery ship. For years her hull and engineroom were clasified.

She has 248,000 Hp, is the fastest cruise ship built.

When I was a midshipman I wanted to serve on her, but she was laid up before I got my thirds.

Yup, I always prefer to see derelict houses to ones which have been restored, so I’d sooner see the SS United States in Philadelphia than the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The only reasons I prefer the QM are the 1000’ factor and the Scottish builtedness.

For me it’s the Great Eastern, that overreaching monstrous glorious white elephant.

My grandfather captained an escort boat in the UK during the war. He escorted the QM into harbour many times. Apparently the QM’s Chief Engineer told him that after the perilous Atlantic crossing, they were never more relieved than when they saw my grandfather’s ship come into view.

BTW, The QM hasn’t been restored. It’s a fabulous example of art deco, all in original condition. Given the connection, it was a real thrill for me to visit the bar where my grandfather may have had a drink.