On 3rd April 1913, Hapag’s Vaterland was launched by Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. Initially Ballin had wanted to call the liner Europa, but political pressure from the Emperor forced him to change this just before the launch. The three liners in this group – Imperator, Vaterland and Bismarck – were not strictly sisters, with variations in length, breadth and gross tonnage, and interior differences. However they shared a common profile and were generally regarded as sisters.
Once the speeches were made, the Prince released the traditional bottle of champagne and the hull slid slowly into the River Elbe. Three tugs moved in and towed her to the fitting-out berth. Meanwhile the principal guests enjoyed a festive dinner held at Hamburg’s City Hall. Sadly she had a very brief career as Vaterland, and was interned at New York at the outbreak of the Great War. Later she was seized by the US authorities and renamed Leviathan, becoming America’s first superliner.