Was the Lusitania a Cruise Ship?

By Alice Nichols

The RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner that operated during the early 20th century. It was the largest and most luxurious cruise ship of its time, and was famously sunk by a German U-boat during World War I. The sinking of the Lusitania is widely remembered as one of the most significant events of the war, as it helped to further inflame anti-German sentiment in both Britain and America.

The Lusitania was built in 1906 by the Cunard Steamship Company. The vessel measured 787 feet long and had a displacement of 31,550 tons.

It was powered by four steam turbines that could reach speeds up to 25 knots. The ship featured two decks for passengers and three for crew, along with luxurious amenities such as restaurants, bars, libraries, salons, and even a swimming pool.

The Lusitania made its maiden voyage in September 1907 from Liverpool to New York City. It quickly became popular among wealthy passengers due to its luxurious accommodations and fast speed.

In spite of its grandeur, however, it was not actually classified as a cruise ship. Instead, it was considered an “ocean liner” since it primarily carried cargo rather than passengers.

In 1915, the Lusitania left New York bound for Liverpool when it encountered a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. The U-boat fired one torpedo at the ship which struck near its bow and caused massive internal explosions that quickly sent it beneath the waves within 18 minutes. 1,201 people were killed in the attack including 128 American citizens.


The RMS Lusitania was an iconic ocean liner that operated during early 20th century and is remembered for its sinking by a German U-boat during World War I. Despite its grandeur and luxurious amenities, it was not officially classified as a cruise ship since it primarily carried cargo rather than passengers.