S.S. Imperator, 1913


North Atlantic Liners 1899-1913

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The Imperator of over 50,000 tons was the first of three intended for the Hamburg-New York service the premier crossing of the Atlantic. Delivered in 1913, she gave a year’s useful service, (her sister Vaterland gave a mere 3 months) before the Great war. The third ship, Bismarck, lay unfinished for 8 years. They were designed to for a new mail contract, which demanded they be built in Germany. The first German turbine ships of any note, accommodation was provided for over 4,900 passengers. There was 330,000 cu. ft capacity for cargo. Her launch was attended by the Kaiser. In June 1913 she left Cuxhaven on her maiden voyage to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg. Her owners were far from happy about her lack of stability caused by recommendations following the Titanic disaster which required major alterations. Convention demanded that the third funnel – a dummy – be retained. Imperator arrived at Hamburg a few days before the declaration of war so was laid up for the duration. In May 1919 the Imperator put to sea again, having been temporarily assigned to the United States for use as a transport for the repatriation of American troops from France. She was allocated to Britain. Following her transfer, she was put under Cunard management. As Berengaria in 1921 she was sent to the Tyne for overhaul. She returned to service, a worthy companion for the Aquitania and Mauretania and started a long successful period on the Southampton-Cherbourg-New York route. Her career ended at New York in 1938, when fire broke out in her main lounge and she was broken up back in the UK.

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Dimensions 48.5 × 23 cm