30th May 1914 – Aquitania leaves on maiden voyage

aqui-maiden departureDocked at Liverpool, following two days of public inspection and guided tours, Aquitania was moved to the Prince’s Landing Stage. She was berthed at the Landing Stage at approximately 1pm on 30th May. By 2pm the London Boat Train had arrived, and by 2.40pm all the passengers were embarked. The ropes were cast off and Cunard’s newest liner left for her maiden voyage. Total complement for this trip was 1,055 passengers. The actual crossing was unremark­able – the average speed for the trip was 23.10 knots: logged distance from Liverpool to Ambrose Channel Light ship was 3,181 miles in 5 days 17 hours 43 minutes. She passed the Ambrose Light Ship at 5am on Friday, 5th June, and by 9.15am she was off Pier 54, escorted by a huge flotilla of welcoming boats. She finally docked at 9.35am.

Aqui maiden depThe legendary career that was opening up in front of Aquitania was to see her safely through two World Wars, carrying 1,200,000 passengers over some 3 million miles during her life of nearly 36 years. Aquitania was never involved in any major incident, and received virtually no bad publicity. One of the few unfortunate events in her career happened the day before her maiden voyage – the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Ireland was hit and sunk by Storstad, a Norwegian collier, in heavy fog off the mouth of the Saint Lawrence, with the loss of over 1,000 lives. In spite of this disaster, Cunard claimed that no passengers can­celled their voyage. The effect on this sinking, so soon after the loss of the Titanic, subdued interest in the maiden voyage of the new Cunarder.