Oceanic sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage on 6th September 1899, under Captain J.G. Cameron, with 1,456 passengers and 434 crew. However, because many of the replacement stokers were untrained, she made the crossing with the engines only generating about 75% of their potential and arrived at Sandy Hook on 15th September, docking just after noon. She had completed the crossing in 6 days 2 hours 27 minutes, at an average 19.57 knots.
The channel for the approach to New York harbour was just 30 feet deep at the time. This meant that for some time Oceanic had to restrict the cargo she carried until Congress later supplied sufﬁcient funds to enable the authorities to dredge the channel deeper, to at least 35 feet, more in places.