Canadian Pacific’s latest liner, Empress of Russia, sailed from Liverpool on 1st April 1913, heading for Vancouver via Gibraltar, Suez, Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki and Yokohama. She arrived at Vancouver on 7th June 1913, under Captain Beetham, after a brief stop and civic reception at Victoria. Thousands gathered to welcome her at the quayside.
CPR had ordered two new vessels from Fairfield’s in 1911 – Empress of Russia (Yard No 484) and Empress of Asia (Yard No 485). They were 592 feet long, and 16,810grt. Both were equipped with turbines driving four propellers, giving a service speed of 19 knots and a maximum speed of 20.5 knots. Initial accommodation was listed as 284 in First Class, 100 in Second Class and 808 in Asiatic Steerage, with a crew of around 560.
Both vessels were intended for the trans-Pacific service from Vancouver to Yokohama. Over the years they were to be extremely successful sisters, and were always popular with passengers. First Class in particular was very well-appointed.