Aquitania Down the Years


Aquitania’s long life ensured that she had to adapt to keep up with the times. When she returned to service in 1920, after the war, Cunard took the opportunity to improve her accommodation to ensure her popularity; after immigration declined in the early 1920s, the focus switched to attracting passengers to the new ‘tourist third cabin’ accommodation provided in the second half of the decade. Several new public rooms for these passengers were provided in the 1929 refit. In the early 1930s, second class and tourist third cabin gave way to tourist class – a single designation – and then in 1936 the North Atlantic Conference renamed first class as ‘cabin class’ onboard Aquitania, as she recovered from the depression and Queen Mary arrived on the scene. These changing circumstances explain many alterations that were made over the years.

The purpose of this short article is to take a brief glance at several changes in the second and first class areas, by comparing them as they were in 1914 to their appearance in 1938, which was the final complete year before Aquitania was withdrawn from the express service to serve in the war. It is not intended to provide an exhaustive analysis of every change, in each passenger class, made during every single refit, as it is beyond the article’s scope to do so. An even more extensive use of images would render the download times intolerable – even for those with a fast internet connection.

Hopefully, the images presented here will be worth the wait.


In 1914, aft on C-deck Aquitania’s second class entrance was surrounded by staterooms for second class passengers. (The Shipbuilder, 1914/Author’s Collection.)
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Although creased, this deckplan shows the location of the original first class grill room. (The Shipbuilder, 1914/Author’s Collection.)
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