Friday, 16 May 2014

Anecdote Saturday - round-the-world ticket 120 pounds.

1910 a travel guide from the United States to and from Europe gives one an impression of steamer travel during the time of the Waratah.

'The cost of a first-class passage to Europe varies with the line and the season of the year. Vessels of the first class command a very high minimum rate even "out of season." At the time of writing it is hardly possible to obtain a first-class passage for less than $87.50, on good ships, and good accommodations will cost $110.00 to $125.00 on other than Mediterranean steamers.'

'The choicer cabins bring extremely high prices, and it is nothing unusual to find accommodations which are a thousand dollars or more for cabins for one or two persons. There are many factors connected with the price of staterooms; the time of passage must he considered, for every increased knot of speed means a vastly increased coal consumption, which is almost inconceivable to the layman; the saving of a day in passage may mean double coal consumption.'

This is a very revealing passage giving an insight into the economics of steam travel. The Waratah may have been capable of a faster speed with her twin quadruple expansion engines, but this was restricted to 13.5 knots to save cost.

'The costliness of ships must also be considered. It naturally costs more to travel in a vessel which has involved the expenditure of $7,000.000 than in a comparatively small and cheap ocean liner costing five or six hundred thousand.'

I feel there is some exaggeration expressed here. The Waratah cost 139 000 pounds to build. I certainly wouldn't classify vessels costing between 500 000 and 600 000 dollars cheap modes of transport, even taking into consideration the pound, US dollar exchange. I cannot find any steamships that cost 7 million dollars, 1910.

1906, The RMS Lusitania, one of the largest and most luxurious steamers of the time cost roughly 1.3 million pounds. 1912, the Titanic, then the largest and most opulent liner afloat cost 7.5 million dollars to build.

'A slower boat with large freight-carrying capacity is often more comfortable than the express steamer which races through the water at a high rate of speed with constant vibration. The number of passengers is also much more limited and there is more room for promenading and for the steamer chairs.'

The Waratah was just such a vessel and her specifications suited those who could afford her first class saloons. It is interesting to note that the faster vessels were less comfortable and engine vibration constituted a drawback. Vibration was particularly a problem with the enormous luxury steamship, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

'Those who wish to rest at sea should bear this in mind. The traveler who desires comfortable lounges. palm-gardens. Dutch caf├ęs, gymnasiums, and Turkish baths. electric baths. etc. should be willing to pay some $25.00 or more extra for each passage.'

'In case of sickness or death the company usually refunds all except agent's' commission. In case of necessity the lines have the right to substitute some other steamer or steamers, and even change the date of sailing without notice, and passengers have no claim or demand upon the companies except for a refund of the amount paid on account of the accommodation reserved.'

'When passengers are kept from sailing by misadventure, the company usually allows them to sail on other steamers of same line. A steamship company is a business corporation, and their good nature, which is large, should not be imposed upon.'

'On some lines servants accompanying first cabin passengers, if they have access to the first cabin accommodations, must pay a special rate which will be made known on application to the company. On other lines servants such special information as the cost of transporting bicycles, automobiles, dogs and other animals, excess baggage, and transportation of infants; special regulations as to children, etc.'

Servants and children were lumped together with sundries such as extra baggage and bicycles.

'It is very difficult in compiling a book of this nature to avoid a suspicion of partiality. The editor does not recommend any particular line or any particular steamer. It is matter for individual judgment and usually the passage money paid is a satisfactory criterion of the accommodations which may be expected.'

Booking Passage On A Steamship - 1910 Travel Guide http://www.gjenvick.com/HistoricalBrochures/Steamships-OceanLiners/1910-TravelGuide/BookingASteamshipVoyage.html#ixzz31mrZJ7ZJ


The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)  Saturday 15 May 1909

LUND'S BLUE ANCHOR LINE.

THE WARATAH

ROUND THE WORLD TICKETS, FROM £120

SALOON CABINS on Upper and Bridge Decks.

THIRD CLASS ACCOMMODATION of the Highest
Standard.

FOR NATAL (DURBAN), CAPETOWN, AND LONDON,
VIA MELBOURNE and ADELAIDE.

The Waratah of this Line will leave Sydney
on the undermentioned date at noon:

June 20

Arrive Natal, July 24

WARATAH:

Twin Screw (Captain J. E. Ilbery)

FIRST SALOON AMIDSHIPS.
Largest and Best Appointed Cabins in the Trade.

THIRD-CLASS CABINS fitted with every comfort.

FARES:-London: First Saloon, £57.

third class. £10, £18, £20.

...fitted with laundry
...fitted with Signal Bells
...fitted with Bulkhead Closet Apparatus

RETURN AND STOP-OVER TICKETS INTERCHANGE-
ABLE WITH THE ABERDEEN LINE STEAMERS.

For illustrated Pamphlets, Plans, etc., apply to
GILCHRIST, WATT, and SANDERSON, Ltd.



First Class Ticket

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2 comments:

Stuart Flood said...

A lot of what I have read also suggests that the type of power plant installed on a steamship also had an impact on fuel consumption. Turbine steamers generally seem to burn more fuel than ones with triple expansion or combination engines (triple expansion with an exhaust turbine. The Titanic even though it was lager than the Lusitania burned less fuel.

ANDREW VAN RENSBURG said...

Thanks Stuart. Also the Titanic was built for comfort rather than speed. The Lusitania on the other hand represented the Cunard Line's attempt to recapture the Blue Riband(for speed)from the Kaiser class Steamers.