1900 - 1925
order to snatch the Blue Riband of the Atlantic from Britainís Campania
and Lucania, the German shipping line Norddeutscher Lloyd, based
at Bremen, commissioned the 14,000-ton Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
in 1897. As that ship was able to maintain an Atlantic crossing time of
above 22 knots, the Blue Riband was in Germanyís hands before the yearís
end. The Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was the largest ship afloat,
and her luxurious interiors attracted passengers from all over Europe.
Her four funnels indicated safety and comfort for the average emigrant.
|HAPAG's speed champion
the Norddeutscher Lloyd was not the only German shipping line. The Hamburg-based
Hamburg-Amerika Linie watched enviously as their archrivalís
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse took all the glory. Just as the rivalry
between Britainís Cunard Line and White Star Line, the German rivalry required
a response from the other part. The Hamburg-Amerika Linie was not late
in realising that to maintain their reputation they had to commission a
ship to rival - and even outmatch - the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
in the late 19th century, the new ship entered service on July 4, 1900.
Hamburg-Amerika Linie had christened the new liner Deutschland.
At over 16,000 tons she was the largest vessel ever constructed after White
Star's 17,000-tonner Oceanic, not counting Isambard Brunelís giant
Great Eastern from 1860. The Deutschland had followed the
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosseís trend and sported four funnels divided
in pairs. Her quadruple expansion engines connected to the two screws made
the ship possible to average 23 knots over the Atlantic. The Deutschland
immediately took the Blue Riband in possession at her arrival on the scene.
The Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse proved too powerless to regain the
prize, and there seemed to be no ship to threaten the Deutschland.
time of the century shift, the ocean liners were becoming Ďsuper linersí.
This showed not only in size, but also in interior fitting. The Kaiser
Wilhelm der Grosse featured such elegance and luxury that its like
had never been seen on the high seas. The Deutschland had followed
- and bettered - this. The Hamburg-Amerika Linie ship could explain her
fittings with one word: Vast. Even
the vesselís café
had a squared glass dome in the high ceiling. This room became very popular
among the passengers, but also the shipís grillroom proved a success.
|The popular First Class
Café on board the Deutschland.
though a luxury liner, the Deutschland faced a common problem on
board speed champions - vibrations. The rate of vibration at 23 knots was
very disturbing among the passengers, and this resulted in a lower number
of booked tickets. The Deutschland had the Blue Riband in her possession,
but otherwise she had become a financial disaster.
the Deutschland lost the Blue Riband to the newly commissioned Norddeutscher
Lloyd liner Kronprinz Wilhelm. However, the Deutschland regained
it the following year and kept it until the arrival of the British Cunard
Lineís 31,000-tonners Lusitania and Mauretania in 1907. By
then the Hamburg-Amerika Linieís management had decided on aiming on size,
stability and luxury only, not speed. That factor was left to the Norddeutscher
Lloyd. By this the Deutschland was doomed. The truth was now that
she was neither the largest nor the fastest any longer, and she had terrible
vibration problems. This resulted in a complete refit in the years
1910-11. Her engines were replaced
by far less powerful ones, to reduce the problem of vibration. The new
task for the Deutschland was to cruise the West Indies, the Mediterranean
and Scandinavia. The large ship emerged in 1911 as the luxury cruise ship
Victoria Luise, with accommodation for 487 first-class guests. Her
hull was painted in white, and she would receive the reputation of the
finest cruise ship in the world.
Luise remained in Germany during the hostilities between 1914-18. Due
to engine problems she was not used as a troop-ship. When the war was lost
in 1918, all of the major German liners were handed over to the victorious
Allies, all but the former Deutschland. She was not of interest
because of her operational problems. The impressive German fleet that had
consisted of liners such as Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Amerika,
Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, Imperator, Vaterland and
the newly launched Bismarck were either sunk or handed over. The
Victoria Luise was all that remained. Germany had to start all over
from scratch and rebuild their fleets. The next German ships of distinction
were the two sisters Bremen and Europa who appeared in the
shift 1920-30. Because of yet another German-made war, these two liners
were also lost; the Bremen destroyed by fire during that war, and
the Europa handed over to France, renamed Liberté.
|In 1921, the Deutschland
emerged as the two-funnelled emigrant ship Hansa.
Luise survived a bit in the twenties, but in 1921 she was refitted
with two funnels and renamed Hansa. The Hansa was designed
for the emigrant route, but as America had restricted its immigration-laws
after the war, the ex-Deutschland was never fully satisfactory in
her new role. In 1925, it was evident that the ship was old, and since
no fit use could be given her she was sent to the scrappers in Hamburg
Luise/Hansa - Specifications:
||684 feet (209 m)
||67 feet (20.5 m)
||16,502 gross tons
||Quadruple expansion engines
powering two propellers.