Lusitania - Cruise Ship History 1907
In the early 1900s, cruise ships were either dirty immigrant torture devices, or incredibly elegant travel for rich people. The Lusitania fell soundly into category 2.
The ship set records with its cross-Atlantic travel. Her first voyage was in 1907, and she made it between Liverpool and Boston in under 5 days. It was expensive, but it was a rite of passage for many of the elite to make that trip. The ship was a large one, carrying just under 2,000 people total.
The ship was extremely elegant and lavish. There were fine woods, wrought iron, silver fixtures, chandeliers with electric lights. There was also a "second class" set of areas for lower class passengers.
Unfortunately, by 1914 Germany was at war with England, and the Lusitania kept up its back-and-forth trips in jeopardy. On May 6th, she was steaming to Cork in Ireland when a German U-20 submarine spotted her. One torpedo later, there were 1,201 dead, including 128 Americans.
Even so, the US stalled at entering this "European" war, and did not officially join the fight until 1917.
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