Ocean Travel - Daily Life Aboard A Steamship


Articles on Steamships, Ocean Liners - Life on Board a Steamer

Discover what life was like on board the steamship through historical articles richly illustrated with photographs and illustrations. View our ephemera catalog collections to see all of the memorabilia produced on or for each voyage, ship, or steamship line.



The Little Boutique Shop on Board the Steamship "Lapland" of the Red Star Line, 1909.

Boutique Shops and Ship Stores

How little shops on board ships plying between European and American ports, became an extremely profitable business well worth the investment to offer their passengers.


Front Cover, The Fabulous Interiors of the Great Ocean Liners, 1984.

Steamships, Ocean Liners, and Ocean Travel Books

Discover Rare, Hard-to-Find Books about Steamship of our Ancestors, Ocean Liners the Sailed the World's Oceans, and Ocean Travel / Maritime Books.


Passengers Browse the Brochure Kiosk on Board the SS Victoria. Glass Plate Image Circa 1900.

Vintage Ocean Liner and Travel Brochures

Fabulous Collection of Ocean Liner and Travel Brochures from the latter 1800s through the 1950s. Many are not only rare but offer a unique glimpse of passenger accommodations for ocean travel, often profusely illustrated with photographs and other illustrations.


J. W. Bailey Correspondence, RMS Saxonia, 7 March 1907, Page 1 of 3.

Ocean Travel Correspondence

The GG Archives has a number of letters written by passengers on ocean liners from the late 1800s through the 1920s. Digitizing handwritten letters is a very time-consuming task.


Immigrant Ship Ephemera

Ships and Ocean Liners Archival Collections

Some of the most prized collectibles are ephemeral memorabilia produced on or for each voyage or ship. They include passenger lists, brochures, tickets and voyage contracts, luggage tags, postcards, sports and entertainment programs, and more.


Bureau of Information on a Ship

Interesting Fun Facts and Factoids

All the fun and exciting facts and factoids about steamships and ocean liners. Topics covered include night signals, safety, time, ship barbers and barber shops, submarine signaling, aerial mail, classes of ships, guarding gold at sea, and much more.


Steerage Passengers on Deck

Journeys in Steerage

On steamships, Steerage (or Tween Decks) and Third Class was the default choice of many immigrants from the 1850s through the 1930s. The conditions varied by steamship line and were likely to be relatively harsh compared to modern standards.


Group Photo of German Immigrants to America on the SS Albert Ballin of the Hamburg-America Line - 1926

Ocean Travel Journeys

A new section added in the latter part of 2020 devoted to patrons of the GG Archives who offered photographs and stories of their ancestors' travels across the oceans.



Other Ephemera

A rare example of an Embarkation Notice from the 1920s for a transatlantic voyage of Cabin Passenger Miss McKellar, on the SS Laurentic of the White Star Line.


Original Third Class/Steerage Steamship Passage Contract and Ticket from Gothenburg, Sweden to New York, 14 November 1902, on the White Star Line RMS Celtic.

Passage Contracts and Tickets

We have a superb collection of original passage tickets for Transatlantic and other destinations, dating from the 1880s through the 1950s. They were vital for immigrant passages to America unrivaled for their value as a primary source.


An Allan Line Steamer docked at the Liverpool Landing Stage

Postcards of Steamships and Ocean Liners

The GG Archives has many high-grade postcards in our Maritime collection. There is quite a variety, including black & white, colorized, photograph, watercolor, and oil paintings. They often capture ships and harbor scenes that otherwise would be lost to time. A number of these are works of art and are suitable for framing.


The Captain's Dinner

Programs and Concerts

Steamship Lines printed a wide variety of programs for onboard events including sporting, entertainment/variety shows, movies, social events, music concerts, charity concerts and fundraisers, and many more.


Provisioning a Transatlantic Liner - Equivalent in Live Stock and General Stores.

Provisioning Steamships and Ocean Liners

Learn about provisioning a transatlantic ocean liner with enough food, supplies, and other stock items for all meals and drinks for thousands of passengers.


View of Private Bathroom - SS Minnesota

Sanitation at Sea

Everything you ever wanted to know about sanitation, bathing, and facilities on the steamships and ocean liners of the past. You’ll learn about freshwater supplies, Turkish baths, electric baths, plumbing, swimming pools, sinks, toilets, and more.


Collage of Immigrant Passenger List Covers

Ship Passenger Lists

The GG Archives has an extensive collection of these passenger records in our Maritime Collection. Our largest holdings of ship passenger arrival records are for the Cunard Line / Cunard White Star Line.


Printing a Daily Newspaper on Board a Steamship circa 1910.

Ship Publications - Newspapers, Newsletters, and Magazines

Our travel-related newspapers, newsletters, and magazines encompass several steamship lines, including Cunard, CGT French Line, Hamburg America Line, and Norddeutscher Lloyd. Maritime publications include Sea Breezes, Steamboat Bill, The Shipbuilder, and more.


Young Couple Discuss Their Options on Deck.

Shipboard Affairs

Shipboard Affairs can be any number of things, from the ship's crew's daily affairs in making the ship a perfect floating hotel for their guests to romantic affairs and other affairs of the heart.


The Captain of a Transatlantic Steamship

Sea Captains

Biographies of many transatlantic sea captains and commanders from the 1880s through the early 1900s. You’ll find steamship captains from Cunard, White Star, Inman, Guion, Anchor, American, Red Star, CGT French Line, and many others.


Baggage Steward Assisting Passengers

Ship Crews

The crew of a ship are the heart and soul of the ocean liner. Topics covered include employment, organization, stewards, stewardesses, nurses, physicians, and life on board an ocean liner as a member of the crew.


1887-02-05 SS La Bretagne

Steamship Lines Archival Collection

View our extensive archival collection of ephemera produced by the various steamship lines that offered passenger service to immigrants, tourists, socialites, and others who crossed the vast oceans, dating from the 1800s through the 1960s.


SS France of CGT Frech Line

Ship Tonnage, Weights, and Measures

Determining the tonnage of a ship is somewhat complicated, but likely more straightforward than you might expect. We break down this subject into cargo and carrying capacity, gross tonnage, net tonnage, along with a great explanation of deadweight, cargo, gross, net, and displacement tonnage.


Port of Antwerp, Belgium

Steamship and Ocean Liner Ports of Call

Ports of Call in the United States, Canada and Europe utilized by steamships during the peak immigration era of 1880-1954 including Boston, New York, Antwerp, Fishguard, Hamburg, Liverpool, London, Rotterdam, Southampton, and others.


Rose Host, Stowaway on a Steamship

Stowaways on Steamships and Ocean Liners

If you’ve ever wondered about stowaways found on the transatlantic ships, answers to many of your questions can be found amongst several articles. There is one reporter’s exposé that is quite a fascinating read on the subject.


Poster for the RMS Titanic: The World's Largest Liner. Southampton ~ New York via Cherbourg & Queenstown

RMS Titanic Archival Collection

The White Star liner Titanic, the largest ship ever built, bound from Liverpool for New York, collided with an iceberg, four hundred miles off the shore of Newfoundland, on the night of April 14th, and about four hours later sank in water two miles deep.


Photo 01: Last Farewells To The Ocean Voyager At The New York Pier

Transatlantic Voyages

Covers the development of the steamship from early steamships, propulsion, food service, oceanic travel, rooms, provisions, meals, the immigrant trade and processing of immigrants on board the ocean liners, passenger comforts, evolution of the steamship and much more.


Front Cover of the 1910 Edition of The Scientific American Handbook of Travel.

Travel Guide (1910)

Superb Travel Guide from 1910 Offers general hints on how to adjust oneself to surroundings can prove so useful as on a sea voyage. This book prepares the traveler by informing him how to go, how much it will cost, how to amuse himself, and what to do on arrival at the coveted shore.


American Export Lines 1948 Advertisement for The New 4 Aces: SS Excalibur, SS Exochorda, SS Exeter, SS Excambion.

Ocean Travel Vintage Advertisements

From the 1880s through the 1950s, many exciting and colorful ads were produced by many steamship lines in support of their services, world tours, new ships, new ports of call, and other related marketing efforts. The GG Archives has an extensive amount of these ads that we will be adding throughout the remainder of 2020 and beyond.


Vintage Menus

Vintage Ocean Liner Menus

Grand collection of vintage ocean liner and other menus covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, farewell dinner, special occasions, and specialty menus that provide an insight into the variety of foods served on the transatlantic steamships and ocean liners and restaurants from the 1800s through the 1950s.


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