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Cunard Line is a British
cruise line A cruise line is a company (law), company that operates cruise ships that operate on Cruising (maritime), ocean or River cruise, rivers and which markets cruises to the public. Cruise lines are distinct from Passenger ship, passenger lines which ar ...
based at
Carnival House Carnival House is a landmark office building in the city of Southampton Southampton () is a city in Hampshire, South East England, approximately south-west of London and west of Portsmouth. A major port, and close to the New Forest, it lies at ...
at
Southampton Southampton () is a port A port is a facility comprising one or more or loading areas, where ships load and discharge and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can also be found far inland, su ...
,
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
, operated by
Carnival UK Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands. A dual-listed company, Carnival is composed of two comp ...
and owned by
Carnival Corporation & plc Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands. A dual-listed company, Carnival is composed of two comp ...
. Since 2011, Cunard and its three ships have been registered in
Hamilton, Bermuda The City of Hamilton, in Pembroke Parish, is the territorial Capital city, capital of the British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is the territory's financial centre and a major port and tourist destination. It ...

Hamilton, Bermuda
. In 1839,
Samuel Cunard Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet (21 November 1787 – 28 April 1865), was a British-Canadian shipping magnate, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who founded the Cunard Line. He was the son of a master Carpentry, carpenter and timber merchant who had ...
was awarded the first British transatlantic
steamship A steamship, often referred to as a steamer, is a type of steam-powered vessel Steam-powered vessels include steamboats and steamships. Smaller steamboats were developed first. They were replaced by larger steamships which were often ocean-going. ...

steamship
mail contract, and the next year formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company in Glasgow with shipowner
Sir George Burns Sir George Burns, 1st Baronet (10 December 1795 – 2 June 1890) was a Scotland, Scottish shipping business magnate, magnate. Burns was born in Glasgow, the son of John Burns (minister), Rev John Burns (1744–1839), a Presbyterian minister of r ...
together with
Robert Napier
Robert Napier
, the famous Scottish steamship engine designer and builder, to operate the line's four pioneer paddle steamers on the Liverpool–Halifax–Boston route. For most of the next 30 years, Cunard held the
Blue Riband The Blue Riband () is an unofficial accolade given to the Passenger ship, passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest Velocity, average speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely us ...
for the fastest Atlantic voyage. However, in the 1870s Cunard fell behind its rivals, the
White Star Line The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, more commonly known as the White Star Line (WSL), was a British shipping company. Founded out of the remains of a defunct packet company, it gradually rose up as one of the most prominent shipping lines ...
and the
Inman Line The Inman Line was one of the three largest 19th-century British passenger shipping Freight transport is the physical process of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, mo ...

Inman Line
. To meet this competition, in 1879 the firm was reorganised as the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd, to raise capital. In 1902, White Star joined the American-owned
International Mercantile Marine Co. The International Mercantile Marine Company, originally the International Navigation Company, was a trust formed in the early twentieth century as an attempt by J.P. Morgan to monopolize the shipping trade. IMM was founded by shipping magnate ...
In response, the British Government provided Cunard with substantial loans and a subsidy to build two superliners needed to retain Britain's competitive position. ''Mauretania'' held the Blue Riband from 1909 to 1929. Her sister ship, ''Lusitania'', was torpedoed in 1915 during the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a that began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. It involved much of , as well as , the and , and was also fought ...
. In 1919, Cunard relocated its British homeport from Liverpool to Southampton, to better cater for travellers from London. In the late 1920s, Cunard faced new competition when the Germans, Italians and French built large prestige liners. Cunard was forced to suspend construction on its own new superliner because of the Great Depression. In 1934, the British Government offered Cunard loans to finish ''Queen Mary'' and to build a second ship, , on the condition that Cunard merged with the then ailing White Star line to form Cunard-White Star Line. Cunard owned two-thirds of the new company. Cunard purchased White Star's share in 1947; the name reverted to the Cunard Line in 1950. Upon the end of the Second World War, Cunard regained its position as the largest Atlantic passenger line. By the mid-1950s, it operated 12 ships to the United States and Canada. After 1958, transatlantic passenger ships became increasingly unprofitable because of the introduction of
jet airlinerJet Airliner may refer to: * Jet airliner, an aeroplane powered by jet engines * "Jet Airliner" (Steve Miller Band song), a 1977 song composed by Paul Pena and popularized by the Steve Miller Band * "Jet Airliner" (Modern Talking song), Modern Ta ...
s. Cunard undertook a brief foray into air travel via the "Cunard Eagle" and "BOAC Cunard" airlines, but withdrew from the airliner market in 1966. Cunard withdrew from its year-round service in 1968 to concentrate on cruising and summer transatlantic voyages for holiday makers. The Queens were replaced by ''Queen Elizabeth 2'' (''QE2''), which was designed for the dual role. In 1998, Cunard was acquired by the
Carnival Corporation Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line A cruise line is a company (law), company that operates cruise ...
, and accounted for 8.7% of that company's revenue in 2012. In 2004, ''QE2'' was replaced on the transatlantic runs by (''QM2''). The line also operates ''Queen Victoria'' (''QV'') and (''QE''). As of 2019, Cunard is the only shipping company to operate a scheduled passenger service between Europe and North America.


History


Early years: 1840–1850

The British Government started operating monthly mail
brig A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged Square rig is a generic type of sail and rigging arrangement in which the primary driving sails are carried on horizontal spar (sailing), spars which are perpendicular, or wikt:square#Adjecti ...

brig
s from
Falmouth, Cornwall Falmouth ( ; kw, Aberfala) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of th ...
, to New York in 1756. These ships carried few non-governmental passengers and no cargo. In 1818, the Black Ball Line opened a regularly scheduled New York–Liverpool service with
clipper ship A clipper was a type of mid-19th-century Merchant ship, merchant Sailing ship, sailing vessel, designed for speed. Clippers were generally narrow for their length, small by later 19th century standards, could carry limited bulk freight, and had ...
s, beginning an era when American sailing packets dominated the North Atlantic saloon-passenger trade that lasted until the introduction of
steamships A steamship, often referred to as a steamer, is a type of steam-powered vessel Steam-powered vessels include steamboats and steamships. Smaller steamboats were developed first. They were replaced by larger steamships which were often ocean-going. ...
. A Committee of Parliament decided in 1836 that to become more competitive, the mail packets operated by the Post Office should be replaced by private shipping companies. The
Admiralty Admiralty usually refers to: * Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank ...
assumed responsibility for managing the contracts. The famed Arctic explorer Admiral Sir
William Edward Parry Sir William Edward Parry (19 December 1790 – 8 July 1855) was an Anglo-Welsh explorer of the Arctic best known for his 1819–1820 expedition through the Parry Channel, probably the most successful in the long quest for the Northwest Pa ...
was appointed as Comptroller of Steam Machinery and Packet Service in April 1837. Nova Scotians led by their young Assembly Speaker,
Joseph Howe Joseph Howe, (December 13, 1804 – June 1, 1873) was a Nova Scotian journalist, politician, public servant, and poet. Howe is often ranked as one of Nova Scotia's most admired politicians and his considerable skills as a journalist and writer hav ...

Joseph Howe
, lobbied for steam service to
Halifax Halifax commonly refers to: *Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada *Halifax, West Yorkshire, England *Halifax (bank), a British bank Halifax may also refer to: Places Australia *Halifax, Queensland *Halifax Bay, North Queensland Canada Nova Scotia *Hali ...
. On his arrival in London in May 1838, Howe discussed the enterprise with his fellow Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard (1787–1865), a shipowner who was also visiting London on business. Cunard and Howe were associates and Howe also owed Cunard £300 (). Cunard returned to Halifax to raise capital, and Howe continued to lobby the British government. The
Rebellions of 1837–1838 The Rebellions of 1837–1838 (french: Les rébellions de 1837), were two armed uprisings that took place in Lower Lower may refer to: *Lower (surname)Lower is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Arthur R. M. Lower (1889– ...
were ongoing and London realized that the proposed Halifax service was also important for the military. That November, Parry released a tender for North Atlantic monthly mail service to Halifax beginning in April 1839 using steamships with 300 horsepower. The
Great Western Steamship Company The Great Western Steam Ship Company operated the first regular transatlantic steamer service from 1838 until 1846. Related to the Great Western Railway The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a History of rail transport in Great Britain, British ...
, which had opened its pioneer Bristol–New York service earlier that year, bid £45,000 for a monthly Bristol–Halifax–New York service using three ships of 450 horsepower. While
British American British American usually refers to Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n ...
, the other pioneer transatlantic steamship company, did not submit a tender, the St. George Steam Packet Company, owner of , bid £45,000 for a monthly Cork–Halifax service and £65,000 for a monthly Cork–Halifax–New York service. The Admiralty rejected both tenders because neither bid offered to begin services early enough. Cunard, who was back in Halifax, unfortunately did not know of the tender until after the deadline. He returned to London and started negotiations with Admiral Parry, who was Cunard's good friend from when Parry was a young officer stationed in Halifax 20 years earlier. Cunard offered Parry a fortnightly service beginning in May 1840. While Cunard did not then own a steamship, he had been an investor in an earlier steamship venture, ''Royal William'', and owned coal mines in Nova Scotia. Cunard's major backer was whose
Robert Napier and Sons Messrs Robert Napier and Sons was a famous firm of Clyde shipbuilders and marine engineers at Govan Govan ( ; Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language ...
was the Royal Navy's supplier of steam engines. He also had the strong backing of Nova Scotian political leaders at the time when London needed to rebuild support in British North America after the rebellion. Over Great Western's protests, in May 1839 Parry accepted Cunard's tender of £55,000 for a three-ship Liverpool–Halifax service with an extension to Boston and a supplementary service to Montreal. The annual subsidy was later raised £81,000 to add a fourth ship and departures from Liverpool were to be monthly during the winter and fortnightly for the rest of the year. Parliament investigated Great Western's complaints, and upheld the Admiralty's decision. Napier and Cunard recruited other investors including businessmen James Donaldson,
Sir George Burns Sir George Burns, 1st Baronet (10 December 1795 – 2 June 1890) was a Scotland, Scottish shipping business magnate, magnate. Burns was born in Glasgow, the son of John Burns (minister), Rev John Burns (1744–1839), a Presbyterian minister of r ...
, and David MacIver. In May 1840, just before the first ship was ready, they formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company with initial capital of £270,000, later increased to £300,000 (£ in ). Cunard supplied £55,000. Burns supervised ship construction, MacIver was responsible for day-to-day operations, and Cunard was the "first among equals" in the management structure. When MacIver died in 1845, his younger brother Charles assumed his responsibilities for the next 35 years. (For more detail of the first investors in the Cunard Line and also the early life of Charles MacIver, see Liverpool Nautical Research Society's ''Second Merseyside Maritime History'', pp. 33–37 1991.) In May 1840 the coastal
paddle steamer A paddle steamer is a steamship A steamship, often referred to as a steamer, is a type of steam-powered vessel, typically ocean-faring and seaworthy, that is propelled by one or more steam engines that typically move (turn) propellers or Pad ...

paddle steamer
''Unicorn'' made the company's first voyage to Halifax to begin the supplementary service to Montreal. Two months later the first of the four ocean-going steamers of the ''Britannia Class'', departed Liverpool. By coincidence, the steamer's departure had patriotic significance on both sides of the Atlantic: she was named ''Britannia'', and sailed on 4 July. Even on her maiden voyage, however, her performance indicated that the new era she heralded would be much more beneficial for Britain than the US. At a time when the typical packet ship might take several weeks to cross the Atlantic, ''Britannia'' reached Halifax in 12 days and 10 hours, averaging 8.5 knots (15.7 km/h), before proceeding to Boston. Such relatively brisk crossings quickly became the norm for the Cunard Line: during 1840–41, mean Liverpool–Halifax times for the quartet were 13 days 6 hours to Halifax and 11 days 4 hours homeward. Two larger ships were quickly ordered, one to replace the ''Columbia'', which sank at
Seal Island, Nova Scotia A replica of the Seal Island lighthouse Seal Island (also known as Great Seal Island) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_nor ...
, in 1843 without loss of life. By 1845, steamship lines led by Cunard carried more saloon passengers than the sailing packets. Three years later, the British Government increased the annual subsidy to £156,000 so that Cunard could double its frequency. Four additional wooden paddlers were ordered and alternate sailings were direct to New York instead of the Halifax–Boston route. The sailing packet lines were now reduced to the immigrant trade. From the beginning Cunard's ships used the line's distinctive red funnel with two or three narrow black bands and black top. It appears that Robert Napier was responsible for this feature. His
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where are and repaired. These can be s, military vessels, s or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, whi ...
in Glasgow used this combination previously in 1830 on Thomas Assheton Smith's private steam yacht "Menai". The renovation of her model by Glasgow Museum of Transport revealed that she had vermilion funnels with black bands and black top. The line also adopted a naming convention that utilised words ending in "IA". Cunard's reputation for safety was one of the significant factors in the firm's early success. Both of the first transatlantic lines failed after major accidents: the British and American line collapsed after the foundered in a gale, and the Great Western Steamship Company failed after stranded because of a navigation error. Cunard's orders to his masters were, "Your ship is loaded, take her; speed is nothing, follow your own road, deliver her safe, bring her back safe – safety is all that is required." In particular, Charles MacIver's constant inspections were responsible for the firm's safety discipline.


New Competition: 1850–1879

In 1850 the American
Collins Line The Collins Line is the common name for the United States, American shipping company started by Israel Collins and then built up by his son Edward Knight Collins, formally called the New York and Liverpool United States Mail Steamship Company. Unde ...
and the British
Inman Line The Inman Line was one of the three largest 19th-century British passenger shipping Freight transport is the physical process of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, mo ...

Inman Line
started new Atlantic steamship services. The American Government supplied Collins with a large annual subsidy to operate four wooden paddlers that were superior to Cunard's best, as they demonstrated with three
Blue Riband The Blue Riband () is an unofficial accolade given to the Passenger ship, passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest Velocity, average speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely us ...
-winning voyages between 1850 and 1854. Meanwhile, Inman showed that iron-hulled, screw propelled steamers of modest speed could be profitable without subsidy. Inman also became the first steamship line to carry steerage passengers. Both of the newcomers suffered major disasters in 1854. The next year, Cunard put pressure on Collins by commissioning its first iron-hulled paddler, . That pressure may well have been a factor in a second major disaster suffered by the Collins Line, the loss of its steamer ''Pacific''. ''Pacific'' sailed out of Liverpool just a few days before ''Persia'' was due to depart on her maiden voyage, and was never seen again; it was widely assumed at the time that the captain had pushed his ship to the limit in order to stay ahead of the new Cunarder, and had likely collided with an iceberg during what was a particularly severe winter in the North Atlantic. A few months later ''Persia'' inflicted a further blow to the Collins Line, regaining the Blue Riband with a Liverpool–New York voyage of 9 days 16 hours, averaging . During the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. ...
Cunard supplied 11 ships for war service. Every British North Atlantic route was suspended until 1856 except Cunard's Liverpool–Halifax–Boston service. While Collins' fortunes improved because of the lack of competition during the war, it collapsed in 1858 after its subsidy for carrying mail across the Atlantic was reduced by the US Congress. Cunard emerged as the leading carrier of saloon passengers and in 1862 commissioned ''Scotia'', the last paddle steamer to win the Blue Riband. Inman carried more passengers because of its success in the immigrant trade. To compete, in May 1863 Cunard started a secondary Liverpool–New York service with iron-hulled screw steamers that catered for steerage passengers. Beginning with ''China'', the line also replaced the last three wooden paddlers on the New York mail service with iron screw steamers that only carried saloon passengers. When Cunard died in 1865, the equally conservative Charles MacIver assumed Cunard's role. The firm retained its reluctance about change and was overtaken by competitors that more quickly adopted new technology. In 1866 Inman started to build screw propelled express liners that matched Cunard's premier unit, ''Scotia''. Cunard responded with its first high speed screw propellered steamer, ''Russia'' which was followed by two larger editions. In 1871 both companies faced a new rival when the White Star Line commissioned the and her five sisters. The new White Star record-breakers were especially economical because of their use of compound engines. White Star also set new standards for comfort by placing the dining saloon midships and doubling the size of cabins. Inman rebuilt its express fleet to the new standard, but Cunard lagged behind both of its rivals. Throughout the 1870s Cunard passage times were longer than either White Star or Inman. In 1867 responsibility for mail contracts was transferred back to the Post Office and opened for bid. Cunard, Inman and the German
Norddeutscher Lloyd Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) (North German Lloyd) was a German shipping company. It was founded by Hermann Henrich Meier and Eduard Crüsemann in Bremen on 20 February 1857. It developed into one of the most important German shipping companies of the l ...
were each awarded one of the three weekly New York mail services. The fortnightly route to Halifax formerly held by Cunard went to Inman. Cunard continued to receive a £80,000 subsidy (equivalent to £ in ), while NDL and Inman were paid sea postage. Two years later the service was rebid and Cunard was awarded a seven-year contract for two weekly New York mail services at £70,000 per annum. Inman was awarded a seven-year contract for the third weekly New York service at £35,000 per year. The
Panic of 1873 The Panic of 1873 was a financial crisis that triggered an depression (economics), economic depression in Europe and North America that lasted from 1873 to 1877 or 1879 in France and in United Kingdom, Britain. In Britain, the Panic started two ...
started a five-year shipping depression that strained the finances of all of the Atlantic competitors. In 1876 the mail contracts expired and the Post Office ended both Cunard's and Inman's subsidies. The new contracts were paid on the basis of weight, at a rate substantially higher than paid by the
United States Post Office The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a ter ...
. Cunard's weekly New York mail sailings were reduced to one and White Star was awarded the third mail sailing. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday a liner from one of the three firms departed Liverpool with the mail for New York.


Cunard Steamship Company Ltd: 1879–1934

To raise additional capital, in 1879 the privately held British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was reorganised as a public stock corporation, the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd. Under Cunard's new chairman, John Burns (1839–1900), son of one of the firm's original founders, Cunard commissioned four steel-hulled express liners beginning with of 1881, the first passenger liner with electric lighting throughout. In 1884, Cunard purchased the almost new Blue Riband winner ' from the
Guion Line The Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company, known commonly as the Guion Line, was a British passenger service that operated the Liverpool-Queenstown-New York route from 1866 to 1894. While incorporated in Great Britain, 52% of the company' ...

Guion Line
when that firm defaulted on payments to the shipyard. That year, Cunard also commissioned the record-breakers ' and ' capable of . Starting in 1887, Cunard's newly won leadership on the North Atlantic was threatened when Inman and then White Star responded with twin screw record-breakers. In 1893 Cunard countered with two even faster Blue Riband winners, ' and ', capable of . No sooner had Cunard re-established its supremacy than new rivals emerged. Beginning in the late 1860s several German firms commissioned liners that were almost as fast as the British mail steamers from Liverpool. In 1897 of Norddeutscher Lloyd raised the Blue Riband to , and was followed by a succession of German record-breakers. Rather than match the new German speedsters, White Star – a rival which Cunard line would merge with – commissioned four very profitable Big Four ocean liners of more moderate speed for its secondary Liverpool–New York service. In 1902 White Star joined the well-capitalized American combine, the
International Mercantile Marine Co. The International Mercantile Marine Company, originally the International Navigation Company, was a trust formed in the early twentieth century as an attempt by J.P. Morgan to monopolize the shipping trade. IMM was founded by shipping magnate ...
(IMM), which owned the
American Line The American Line was a shipping Freight transport is the physical process of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals and cargo, goods from one l ...
, including the old Inman Line, and other lines. IMM also had trade agreements with Hamburg America and Norddeutscher Lloyd. Negotiators approached Cunard's management in late 1901 and early 1902, but did not succeed in drawing the Cunard Line into IMM, then being formed with support of financier J. P. Morgan. British prestige was at stake. The British Government provided Cunard with an annual subsidy of £150,000 plus a low interest loan of £2.5 million (equivalent to £ in ), to pay for the construction of the two superliners, the Blue Riband winners ' and ', capable of . In 1903 the firm started a
Fiume Rijeka ( , , ; hu, Fiume, it, Fiume ; local Chakavian Chakavian or Čakavian (, , , sh-Latn, čakavski proper name: or own name: ''čokovski, čakavski, čekavski'') is a South Slavic regiolect or language A language is a st ...

Fiume
–New York service with calls at Italian ports and Gibraltar. The next year Cunard commissioned two ships to compete directly with the ''Celtic''-class liners on the secondary Liverpool–New York route. In 1911 Cunard entered the St Lawrence trade by purchasing the Thompson line, and absorbed the Royal line five years later. Not to be outdone, both White Star and Hamburg–America each ordered a trio of superliners. The White Star ' liners at and the Hapag ' liners at were larger and more luxurious than the Cunarders, but not as fast. Cunard also ordered a new ship, ', capable of , to complete the Liverpool mail fleet. Events prevented the expected competition between the three sets of superliners. White Star's ''
Titanic RMS ''Titanic'' was a British passenger liner Liner or LINER may refer to: Line drawing * , a type of makeup * , a porous-tip pen with its own ink source * used in engraving * A used by coach painters Linings * , a noise-damping ...

Titanic
'' sank on its maiden voyage, both White Star's ' and Cunard's ''Lusitania'' were war losses, and the three Hapag super-liners were handed over to the Allied powers as war reparations. In 1916 Cunard Line completed its European headquarters in
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...

Liverpool
, moving in on 12 June of that year. The grand neo-Classical
Cunard Building The Cunard Building is a Grade II* listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland ...

Cunard Building
was the third of Liverpool's ''Three Graces''. The headquarters were used by Cunard until the 1960s. Due to First World War losses, Cunard began a post-war rebuilding programme including eleven intermediate liners. It acquired the former Hapag (renamed ''Berengaria'') to replace the lost ''Lusitania'' as the running mate for ''Mauretania'' and ''Aquitania'', and
Southampton Southampton () is a port A port is a facility comprising one or more or loading areas, where ships load and discharge and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can also be found far inland, su ...
replaced Liverpool as the British destination for the three-ship express service. By 1926 Cunard's fleet was larger than before the war, and White Star was in decline, having been sold by IMM. Despite the dramatic reduction in North Atlantic passengers caused by the shipping depression beginning in 1929, the Germans, Italians and the French commissioned new "ships of state" prestige liners. The German ' took the Blue Riband at in 1933, the Italian ' recorded on a westbound voyage the same year, and the French ' crossed the Atlantic in just under four days at in 1937. In 1930 Cunard ordered an 80,000-ton liner that was to be the first of two record-breakers fast enough to fit into a two-ship weekly Southampton–New York service. Work on "Hull Number 534" was halted in 1931 because of the economic conditions.


Cunard-White Star Ltd: 1934–1949

In 1934, both the Cunard Line and the White Star Line were experiencing financial difficulties.
David Kirkwood David Kirkwood, 1st Baron Kirkwood, PC (8 July 1872 – 16 April 1955) was a British politician, trade unionist and socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassin ...
, MP for Clydebank where the unfinished Hull Number 534 had been sitting idle for two and a half years, made a passionate plea in the House of Commons for funding to finish the ship and restart the dormant British economy. The government offered Cunard a loan of £3 million to complete Hull Number 534 and an additional £5 million to build a second ship, if Cunard merged with White Star. The merger took place on 10 May 1934, creating Cunard-White Star Limited. The merger was accomplished with Cunard owning about two-thirds of the capital. Due to the surplus tonnage of the new combined Cunard White Star fleet many of the older liners were sent to the scrapyard; these included the ex-Cunard liner ''Mauretania'' and the ex-White Star liners ' and . In 1936 the ex-White Star ' was sold when Hull Number 534, now named ', replaced her in the express mail service. ''Queen Mary'' reached on her 1938 Blue Riband voyage. Cunard-White Star started construction on ', and a smaller ship, the second ', joined the fleet and could also be used on the Atlantic run when one of the Queens was in drydock. The ex-Cunard liner ''Berengaria'' was sold for scrap in 1938 after a series of fires. During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
the Queens carried over two million servicemen and were credited by Churchill as helping to shorten the war by a year. All four of the large Cunard-White Star express liners, the two Queens, ''Aquitania'' and ''Mauretania'' survived, but many of the secondary ships were lost. Both and were sunk with heavy loss of life. In 1947 Cunard purchased White Star's interest, and by 1949 the company had dropped the White Star name and was renamed "Cunard Line". Also in 1947 the company commissioned five freighters and two
cargo liner A cargo liner, also known as a passenger-cargo ship or passenger-cargoman, is a type of merchant ship which carries general cargo and often passengers. They became common just after the middle of the 19th century, and eventually gave way to contain ...
s. ', was completed in 1949 as a permanent cruise liner and ''Aquitania'' was retired the next year.


Disruption by airliners, Cunard Eagle and BOAC-Cunard: (1950–1968)

Cunard was in an especially good position to take advantage of the increase in North Atlantic travel during the 1950s and the Queens were a major generator of US currency for Great Britain. Cunard's slogan, "Getting there is half the fun", was specifically aimed at the tourist trade. Beginning in 1954, Cunard took delivery of four new 22,000-GRT intermediate liners for the Canadian route and the Liverpool–New York route. The last White Star motor ship, ' of 1930, remained in service until 1960. The introduction of jet airliners in 1958 heralded major change for the ocean liner industry. In 1960 a government-appointed committee recommended the construction of project Q3, a conventional 75,000 GRT liner to replace ''Queen Mary''. Under the plan, the government would lend Cunard the majority of the liner's cost. However, some Cunard stockholders questioned the plan at the June 1961 board meeting because transatlantic flights were gaining in popularity. By 1963 the plan had been changed to a dual-purpose 55,000 GRT ship designed to cruise in the off-season. Ultimately, this ship came into service in 1969 as the 70,300 GRT . Cunard attempted to address the challenge presented by jet airliners by diversifying its business into air travel. In March 1960, Cunard bought a 60% shareholding in
British Eagle British Eagle International Airlines was a major British independentindependent from government-owned corporation A state-owned enterprise (SOE) or government-owned enterprise (GOE) is a business enterprise Business is the activity ...
, an independent (non-government owned) airline, for £30 million, and changed its name to Cunard Eagle Airways. The support from this new
shareholder A shareholder (in the United States often referred to as stockholder) of a corporation is an individual or legal entity (such as another corporation, a body politic, a Trust law, trust or partnership) that is registered by the corporation as the ...
enabled Cunard Eagle to become the first British independent airline to operate pure
jet airlinerJet Airliner may refer to: * Jet airliner, an aeroplane powered by jet engines * "Jet Airliner" (Steve Miller Band song), a 1977 song composed by Paul Pena and popularized by the Steve Miller Band * "Jet Airliner" (Modern Talking song), Modern Ta ...
s, as a result of a £6 million order for two new Boeing 707-420 passenger aircraft. The order had been placed (including an option on a third aircraft) in expectation of being granted traffic rights for transatlantic scheduled services. The airline took delivery of its first
Bristol Britannia The Bristol Type 175 Britannia was a United Kingdom, British flight length, medium-to-long-range airliner built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1952 to fly across the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth. During development two prototypes ...
aircraft on 5 April 1960 (on lease from Cubana). Cunard hoped to capture a significant share of the 1 million people that crossed the by air in 1960. This was the first time more passengers chose to make their transatlantic crossing by air than sea. In June 1961, Cunard Eagle became the first independent airline in the UK to be awarded a licence by the newly constituted Air Transport Licensing Board (ATLB)''Aircraft'' (Gone but not forgotten... British Eagle), p. 35 to operate a scheduled service on the prime Heathrow – New York JFK route, but the licence was revoked in November 1961 after main competitor, state-owned BOAC, appealed to Aviation Minister
Peter Thorneycroft George Edward Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft, (26 July 1909 – 4 June 1994) was a British Conservative Party politician. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer The Chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the Chancellor, i ...
.Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten... British Eagle), pp. 34/5''Fly me, I'm Freddie!'', pp. 99, 148 On 5 May 1962, the airline's first 707 inaugurated scheduled jet services from London Heathrow to Bermuda and Nassau. The new jet service – marketed as the ''Cunarder Jet'' in the UK and as the ''Londoner'' in the western hemisphere – replaced the earlier Britannia operation on this route. Cunard Eagle succeeded in extending this service to
Miami Miami (), officially the City of Miami, is a coast, coastal metropolis located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Miami-Dade County in southeastern Florida, United States. With a population of 467,963 as of the 2020 United States census, 2020 censu ...

Miami
despite the loss of its original transatlantic scheduled licence and BOAC's claim that there was insufficient traffic to warrant a direct service from the UK. A load factor of 56% was achieved at the outset. Inauguration of the first British through-plane service between London and Miami also helped Cunard Eagle increase utilisation of its 707s. BOAC countered Eagle's move to establish itself as a full-fledged scheduled transatlantic competitor on its Heathrow—JFK
flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, spac ...
route by forming BOAC-Cunard as a new £30 million
joint venture A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership Equity sharing is another name for shared ownership or ''co-ownership (disambiguation), co-ownership''. It takes one property, ...
with Cunard. BOAC contributed 70% of the new company's capital and eight Boeing 707s. Cunard Eagle's long-haul scheduled operation – including the two new 707s – was absorbed into BOAC-Cunard before delivery of the second 707, in June 1962.BOAC-Cunard eventually operated a fleet comprising 11 707-436/465s, two 707-336Cs and four s''Aeroplane — World Transport Affairs: C.E.A. hands over mid-Atlantic service'', Vol. 104, No. 2659, p. 12, Temple Press, London, 4 October 1962 BOAC-Cunard
lease A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the user (referred to as the ''lessee'') to pay the owner (the Lessor (leasing), ''lessor'') for use of an asset. Property, buildings and vehicles are common assets that are leased. Industrial o ...
d any spare aircraft capacity to BOAC to augment the BOAC mainline fleet at peak times. As part of this deal, BOAC-Cunard also bought flying hours from BOAC for using the latter's aircraft in the event of capacity shortfalls. This maximised combined fleet utilisation. The joint fleet use agreement did not cover Cunard Eagle's European scheduled, trooping and charter operations.''Aeroplane — B.O.A.C. buys Cunard off the North Atlantic'', Vol. 103, No. 2643, p. 4, Temple Press, London, 14 June 1962 However, the joint venture was not successful for Cunard and lasted only until 1966, when BOAC bought out Cunard's share. Cunard also sold a majority holding in the remainder of Cunard Eagle back to its founder in 1963. Within ten years of the introduction of jet airliners in 1958, most of the conventional Atlantic liners were gone. ''Mauretania'' was retired in 1965, ''Queen Mary'' and ''Caronia'' in 1967, and ''Queen Elizabeth'' in 1968. Two of the new intermediate liners were sold by 1970 and the other two were converted to
cruise ship Cruise ships are large passenger ship A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers on the sea. The category does not include cargo ship, cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of pas ...

cruise ship
s. All Cunard ships flew both the Cunard and White Star Line house flags until 4 November 1968, when the last White Star ship, ''Nomadic'' was withdrawn from service. After this, the White Star flag was no longer flown and all remnants of both White Star Line and Cunard-White Star Line were retired.


Trafalgar House years: 1971–1998

In 1971, when the line was purchased by the conglomerate Trafalgar House, Cunard operated cargo and passenger ships, hotels and resorts. Its cargo fleet consisted of 42 ships in service, with 20 on order. The flagship of the passenger fleet was the two-year-old ''Queen Elizabeth 2''. The fleet also included the remaining two intermediate liners from the 1950s, plus two purpose-built cruise ships on order. Trafalgar acquired two additional cruise ships and disposed of the intermediate liners and most of the cargo fleet. During the
Falklands War The Falklands War ( es , link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war An undeclared war is military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or par ...
, ''QE2'' and ''Cunard Countess'' were chartered as troopships while Cunard's container ship '''' was sunk by an
Exocet The Exocet () is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The Exocet saw its first wartime launch during the Falklands War The Falklan ...

Exocet
missile. Cunard acquired the
Norwegian America Line The Norwegian America Line ( no, Den Norske Amerikalinje), was a cruise ship line, originally an operator of passenger and cargo ships. Founded in 1910, the company ran a regular transatlantic crossing, transatlantic service between Norway and the ...
in 1983, with two classic
ocean liner An ocean liner is a passenger ship primarily used as a form of transportation across seas or oceans. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (such as for pleasure cruises or as hospital ships). Cargo ve ...
/cruise ships. Also in 1983, the Trafalgar attempted a hostile takeover of P&O, another large passenger and cargo shipping line, which was founded three years before Cunard. P&O objected and forced the issue to the British
Monopolies and Mergers Commission The Competition Commission was a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegra ...
. In their filing, P&O was critical of Trafalgar's management of Cunard and their failure to correct ''Queen Elizabeth 2s mechanical problems. In 1984, the Commission ruled in favour of the merger, but Trafalgar decided against proceeding. In 1988, Cunard acquired
Ellerman Lines Ellerman Lines was a UK cargo and passenger shipping company that operated from the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. It was founded in the late 19th century, and continued to expand by acquiring smaller shipping lines unti ...
and its small fleet of cargo vessels, organising the business as Cunard-Ellerman, however, only a few years later, Cunard decided to abandon the cargo business and focus solely on cruise ships. Cunard's cargo fleet was sold off between 1989 and 1991, with a single container ship, the second ''Atlantic Conveyor'', remaining under Cunard ownership until 1996. In 1993, Cunard entered into a 10-year agreement to handle marketing, sales and reservations for the Crown Cruise Line, and its three vessels joined the Cunard fleet under the Cunard Crown banner. In 1994 Cunard purchased the rights to the name of the Royal Viking Line and its '' Royal Viking Sun''. The rest of Royal Viking Line's fleet stayed with the line's owner,
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), also known in short as Norwegian, is an American cruise line A cruise line is a company (law), company that operates cruise ships that operate on Cruising (maritime), ocean or River cruise, rivers and which markets ...
. By the mid-1990s Cunard was ailing. The company was embarrassed in late 1994 when ''Queen Elizabeth 2'' experienced numerous defects during the first voyage of the season because of unfinished renovation work. Claims from passengers cost the company US$13 million. After Cunard reported a US$25 million loss in 1995, Trafalgar assigned a new CEO to the line, who concluded that the company had management issues. In 1995, Cunard Line introduced ''White Star Service'' to ''
Queen Elizabeth 2 ''Queen Elizabeth 2'', often referred to simply as ''QE2'', is a retired British ocean liner converted into a floating hotel. Originally built for the Cunard Line Cunard Line is a British cruise line based at Carnival House at Southa ...

Queen Elizabeth 2
'' as a reference to the high standards of customer service expected of the company. The term is still today onboard it's newer vessels. The company has also created the White Star Academy, an in-house programme for preparing new crew members for the service standards expected on Cunard ships. In 1996 the Norwegian conglomerate
Kværner Kværner was a Norway, Norwegian engineering and construction services company that existed between 1853 and 2005. In 2004, it was amalgamated to the newly formed subsidiary of Aker ASA - Aker Kværner, which was renamed Aker Solutions on 3 Apri ...
acquired Trafalgar House, and attempted to sell Cunard. When there were no takers, Kværner made substantial investments to turn around the company's tarnished reputation.


Carnival: from 1998-Present

In 1998, the cruise line conglomerate
Carnival Corporation Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line A cruise line is a company (law), company that operates cruise ...
acquired 62% of Cunard for US$425 million. Coincidently, it was the same percentage that Cunard owned in Cunard-White Star Line. The next year Carnival acquired the remaining stock for US$205 million. Ultimately, Carnival sued Kværner claiming that the ships were in worse condition than represented and Kværner agreed to refund US$50 million to Carnival. Each of Carnival's cruise lines is designed to appeal to a different market, and Carnival was interested in rebuilding Cunard as a luxury brand trading on its British traditions. Under the slogan "Advancing Civilization Since 1840", Cunard's advertising campaign sought to emphasise the elegance and mystique of ocean travel. Only ''Queen Elizabeth 2'' and ''Caronia'' continued under the Cunard brand and the company began Project ''Queen Mary'' to build a new ocean liner/cruise ship for the transatlantic route. By 2001, Carnival was the largest cruise company, followed by
Royal CaribbeanRoyal Caribbean may refer to: * Royal Caribbean International (previously Royal Caribbean Cruise Line), a cruise line brand * Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., a shipping company that owns Royal Caribbean International along with several other cruise li ...
and
P&O Princess Cruises P&O Princess Cruises plc (stock symbol in London and NYSE: POC) was a shipping company that existed between 2000 and 2003, operating the P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, A'Rosa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Ocean Village (company ...
, which had recently separated from its parent, P&O. When Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess agreed to merge, Carnival countered with a hostile takeover bid for P&O Princess. Carnival rejected the idea of selling Cunard to resolve antitrust issues with the acquisition. European and US regulators approved the merger without requiring Cunard's sale. After the merger was completed, Carnival moved Cunard's headquarters to the offices of Princess Cruises in
Santa Clarita, California Santa Clarita (; for "Little St. Clare") is a city in northwestern . With a population of 228,673, it is the third-largest city by population in Los Angeles County, and the 17th-largest in the state of . It is located about northwest of downt ...
, so that administrative, financial and technology services could be combined.
Carnival House Carnival House is a landmark office building in the city of Southampton Southampton () is a city in Hampshire, South East England, approximately south-west of London and west of Portsmouth. A major port, and close to the New Forest, it lies at ...
opened in Southampton in 2009, and executive control of Cunard Line transferred from Carnival Corporation in the United States, to
Carnival UK Carnival Corporation & plc is a British-American cruise operator, currently the world's largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands. A dual-listed company, Carnival is composed of two comp ...
, the primary operating company of Carnival plc. As the UK-listed holding company of the group, Carnival plc had executive control of all Carnival Group activities in the UK, with the headquarters of all UK-based brands, including Cunard, in offices at Carnival House. In 2004, the 36-year-old ''QE2'' was replaced on the North Atlantic by . ''Caronia'' was sold and ''Queen Elizabeth 2'' continued to cruise until she was retired in 2008. In 2007 Cunard added ''Queen Victoria'', a cruise ship of the Vista class originally designed for
Holland America Line Holland America Line is an American-owned cruise line A cruise line is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, le ...
. To reinforce Cunard traditions, ''Queen Victoria'' has a small museum on board. Cunard commissioned a second Vista class cruise ship, , in 2010. In 2010, Cunard appointed its first female commander, Captain Inger Klein Olsen. In 2011, Cunard changed the vessel registry of all three of its ships in service to
Hamilton, Bermuda The City of Hamilton, in Pembroke Parish, is the territorial Capital city, capital of the British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is the territory's financial centre and a major port and tourist destination. It ...

Hamilton, Bermuda
, the first time in the 171-year history of the company that it had no ships registered in the United Kingdom. The captains of ships registered in Bermuda can marry couples at sea, whereas those of UK-registered ships cannot, and weddings at sea are a lucrative market. On 25 May 2015, the three Cunard ships – ''Queen Mary 2'', ''Queen Elizabeth'' and ''Queen Victoria'' – sailed up the Mersey into Liverpool to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Cunard. The ships performed manoeuvres, including 180-degree turns, as the
Red Arrows The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics Aerobatics (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "Portmanteau (luggage), portmanteau") is a Blend word, blend of words
Red Arrows
performed a fly-past. Just over a year later ''Queen Elizabeth'' returned to Liverpool under Captain Olsen to take part in the celebrations of the centenary of the Cunard Building on 2 June 2016. The White Star Line flag is raised on all current Cunard ships and the ''Nomadic'' every April 15 in memory of the ''Titanic'' disaster.


Fleet


Current fleet


Future fleet


Former fleet

The Cunard fleet, all built for Cunard unless otherwise indicated, consisted of the following ships in order of acquisition:


1840–1850

All ships of this period had wooden hulls and paddle wheels.


1850–1869

Only ''Arabia'' had a wooden hull and only ''Arabia'', ''Persia'', ''Shamrock'', ''Jackal'' and ''Scotia'' had paddle wheels.


1869–1901


1901–1918


1918–1934


1934–1949

See also: White Star Line's , ''Homeric'', ''Majestic'', ''
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
'', and ''Laurentic''.


1949–1968


1968–1999


Cunard Hotels

After Trafalgar House bought the company in 1971, Cunard operated the former company's existing hotels as Cunard-Trafalgar Hotels. In the 1980s, the chain was restyled as Cunard Hotels & Resorts, before folding in 1995.


See also

*
Cruise line A cruise line is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Comp ...
*
Transatlantic crossing Transatlantic crossings are passages of passengers and cargo across the Atlantic Ocean between Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...
* Cunard Yanks *
Cunard Building (New York City) The Cunard Building, also known as the Standard & Poors Building, is a 22-story office building located at 25 Broadway, adjacent to Bowling Green Park in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City New York City (NYC), ...


References


Notes


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * Fowler Jr., William M. ''Steam Titans: Cunard, Collins, and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic'' (London: Bloomsbury), 2017. 358 pp


External links

*
Cunard History Website on Chriscunard.com

Official 'Queen Mary 2' Fan Page


GG Archives * ttp://www.lastoceanliners.com/cgi/lolline.pl?CUN The Last Ocean Liners – Cunard Line– trade routes and ships of the Cunard Line since the 1950s * http://www.charlesfreemandesign.com/curator-intro Cunard Sesquicentennial Exhibition – 150 Transatlantic Years – The Ocean Liner Museum, New York NY *
TheShips List
{{Authority control 1998 mergers and acquisitions Carnival Corporation & plc British companies established in 1840 Cruise lines History of Liverpool Packet (sea transport) Shipping companies of the United Kingdom Transatlantic shipping companies Travel and holiday companies of the United Kingdom 1840 establishments in England Cunard family Companies based in Southampton Transport companies established in 1840