R.M.S. Aquitania was launched from the yard of John Brown & Company on 21st April 1913. The moment her mammouth hull slipped into the Clyde marked the beginning of one of the most distinguished careers of any transatlantic steamer. When she enterred commercial service in 1914, she was neither the largest nor the fastest liner on the North Atlantic run, being superseded in size by 'Vaterland', 'Imperator', and 'Olympic', and overtaken in speed by her elder running mates 'Lusitania' and 'Mauretania'. Against her competitors, the defining characteristic of Cunard's newest superliner would be the rare beauty of her interiors. A tour through her public apartments constitued a journey through the artistic and architectural history of Europe. Inspired by the great houses of England and furnished with masterful reproductions of distinguished artworks, her interiors achieved a remarkable architectual elegance which proved enduringly popular.
Her commerical life would be distinguished by its longevity. Remaining with the company until 1950 and serving in dutiful capacities during both world wars, she ended her days as the longest running of the great transatlantic liners of the early twentieth century. The 1920s and 1930s marked the heydays of 'The Ship Beautiful'. With the decline in the rate of migration, Cunard Line introduced the new Tourist-Third Cabin, opening the ship to a new class of traveler. This would be replaced by Tourist Class by 1933. The Second World War was unkind to the great lady. Handed back to Cunard after wartime service in 1948, it became clear that she was no longer fit for passenger travel. Her service had already been replaced by the new-fashioned 'Queen Elizabeth'. With her Board of Trade certificate refused in 1949, she was finally sold to face the scrappers at Faslane in 1950.
First Class 1928
Aquitania was renowned for the rare beautiful of her interiors, executed in numerous period styles of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. In order to keep her fashionable, Cunard Line regularly improved and updated her staterooms and public rooms to keep her at the height of luxury on the North Atlantic. By the late 1920s, her First Class accommodations were still among the finest of any liner.
Passengers in Tourist Class were well catered for aboard Aquitania. Having run a successful Tourist-Third Cabin service between 1925 and 1932, Cunard later elected to introduce a new First-Tourist-Third configuration. The new Tourist Class passengers gained full access to what had previously been Aquitania's well-appointed Second Class, with numerous improvements added for their benefit.