Welcome to some facts on what is reputed to be the world's first cruise ship.
Launched in 1900, let’s take a cruise through history aboard the SS Prinzessin Victoria Luise, credited with having been the first purpose-built cruise ship, a German passenger ship of the Hamburg-America Line.
It only spent six years in service before it was accidentally grounded off the coast of Jamaica (oops), but boy was she a beauty. Designed to look more like a private yacht than any of her commercial counterparts, she was pure luxury. We’re talking first-class cabins only (120 of them), interior design approved by the German emperor himself and amenities including a library, a gymnasium, and even a darkroom for the development of film by amateur photographers.
It was such a beautiful ship that it actually made the Kaiser jealous that it was slightly better than his royal yacht.
Pushing at a steady 15 knots (28 km/h), she might not have chugged along quite as quickly as the Titanic (probably for the best), but for a passenger-only ship, the SS Prinzessin Victoria Luise was a totally revolutionary vessel. She had been purposely built as the world’s cruise ship, a novel idea that came about following an experiment by German shipping magnate, Albert Ballin.
In 1988, he noticed that one of his company’s largest flagship ocean liners, the SS Augusta Victoria was doing a lot of sitting around in port being quite useless for most of the winter season, simply because travellers preferred to make the North Atlantic journey in warmer climates.
So against everyone’s advice, he decided to send the Augusta Victoria on a 58-day “pleasure voyage” from Germany through the Mediterranean to the Orient. The cruise included well-planned excursions ashore and ports-of-call along the route. The voyage was a huge success and introduced the concept of the “floating hotel”.
Here are a few more photographs:
Clancy's comment: Wow, they had such style and grace in those days.