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Cunard Steamship Lines

In 1838, Canadian shipping magnate, Samuel Cunard, along with engineer, Robert Napier, and businessmen, James Donaldson, George Burns, and David Maclver formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. The company successfully bid on the rights to run a transatlantic shipping company between England and America. Later, it would change its name to Cunard Steamships Limited becoming the greatest name in ocean travel in history.

In 1840 the company’s first steamship, the Britannia, sailed from Liverpool to Boston marking the beginning of regular passenger and cargo service. The prosperous company eventually absorbed Canadian Northern Steamships Limited and its principal competition, the White Star Line[?], owners of the ill-fated, RMS Titanic. For more than a century and a half, Cunard dominated the Atlantic passenger trade with some of the world’s most famous liners including:

Some of the firsts accomplished by Cunard Steamships according to the company's web site were:

  • First transatlantic passenger service (Britannia, 1840).
  • Cunard introduced the first passenger ship to be lit by electricity (Servia, 1881).
  • Cunard introduced the first twin-screw ocean liner (Campania, 1893).
  • Cunard introduced the first steam turbine engines in a passenger liner (Carmania, 1905).
  • Cunard introduced the first gymnasium and health centre aboard a ship (Franconia, 1911).
  • Cunard introduced the first indoor swimming pool on a ship (Aquitania, 1914).
  • Cunard held the record from 1940-1996 for the largest passenger ship ever built (Queen Elizabeth, 1940).



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