When Luxury Went to Sea


Front Cover and Spine, When Luxury Went to Sea by Douglas Phillips-Birt, 1971.

Front Cover and Spine, When Luxury Went to Sea by Douglas Phillips-Birt, 1971. GGA Image ID # 209163c70e


Excerpt from When Luxury Went to Sea

The age of the luxury liner opened in the 1890s flared into final brightness in the 1950s of the present century and lingers today in the shape of one ship, the French Line's France.

Meanwhile, another, the Cunard's QE2, tries to establish an acceptable modern interpretation of what was once uninhibited, proudly exclusive grandeur afloat.

The liners of this age served the route of gold linking Europe with the brazenly rich United States of America, where a new class of person was learning how to spend money as lavishly as any Old World rentier.



  • Text
  • Plates
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index


Back Cover, When Luxury Went to Sea by Douglas Phillips-Birt, 1971.

Back Cover, When Luxury Went to Sea by Douglas Phillips-Birt, 1971. GGA Image ID # 209167e5db


From the Inside DJ Flap

In the late 1890s, with the development of North Atlantic passenger routes well underway, luxury liners began to appear in the leading merchant fleets—designed to satisfy the demands of a wealthier and predominantly American traveling public who believed that "how you travel is who you are."

This attractively illustrated study begins with a prelude to this period, contrasting the rising standards of comfort afloat brought by the steamships in Dickens' time with the magnificent interiors of such famous ships as the Aquitania, the SS France, the RMS Queen Mary, and the SS United States.

The book brings the story up to the present day, noting the stages by which the luxury liner, now almost extinct, has been turned into a cruising liner in which comfort rather than luxury prevails.

It is as much a social as a maritime study, reflecting in the world afloat the swing from an exclusive to an egalitarian society—with a dash of nostalgia for the splendors of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.


Ships Index

  1. America
  2. Amerika
  3. Aquitania
  4. Atlantic
  5. Berengaria
  6. Bismarck
  7. Bremen
  8. Britannia
  9. Caledonia
  10. Carpathia
  11. Conti di Savoia
  12. Deutschland
  13. Etruria
  14. Europa
  15. France, (1912
  16. France (1962)
  17. Great Eastern
  18. Ile de France
  19. Imperator
  20. Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
  21. Kaiser Wilhelm der Gross
  22. Kaiser Wilhelm II
  23. Kronprinz Wilhelm II
  24. Leviathan
  25. Liberté
  26. Lusitania
  27. Majestic
  28. Manhattan
  29. Mauretania
  30. Nahlin
  31. Normandie
  32. North Star
  33. Olympic
  34. QE2
  35. Queen Elizabeth
  36. Queen Mary
  37. Ravel
  38. Rex
  39. Rome
  40. Sapphire
  41. Titanic
  42. Umbria
  43. United States
  44. Valiant
  45. Vaterland
  46. Washington


Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • Personal name: Phillips-Birt, Douglas, 1920-1978.
  • Main title: When luxury went to sea [by] Douglas Phillips-Birt.
  • Published/Created: Newton Abbot, David and Charles, 1971.
  • Description: 96 p. (chiefly illus., facsim.). 25 cm.
  • ISBN: 071535339X
  • LC Classification: VM381 .P47
  • LC Subjects: Ocean liners.
  • Dewey class no.: 387.2/43
  • National bib no.: B71-20387
  • Type of material: Book


Return to Top of Page

Maritime Books
Ocean Travel Collection
GG Archives

Ocean Travel / Maritime Books § 1

Ocean Travel Topics A-Z