Saloon (First Class) Accommodations

Cunard chose Scottish architect James Millar to design the interiors of the Scottish-built Lusitania and chose English architect Harold Peto to design the interiors of the English-built Mauretania. Millar made extensive use of plaster and gold leaf that gave Lusitania‘s accommodations a light and airy feel, whereas Peto opted for dark woods that gaveMauretania‘s accommodations a heavy and rich feel.  While the technical specifications of both ships would be nearly identical, the distinct “personalities” of the ships’ interiors were unmistakable.

Like other ships of her time, Lusitania’s interiors were decorated with a wide variety of historical styles.

Grand Staircase

The grand staircase wrapped around the ship’s two gilded-cage elevators and connected all six decks of passenger accommodations with spacious lobbies on each level.

Lounge and Music Room

The saloon lounge and music room was on the Boat Deck ‘A’, just aft of the grand staircase.  The room measured 68 feet x 65 feet (21 m × 20 m) and was bounded on port and starboard sides by the boat deck.  The lounge and music room had a barrel-vaulted skylight 20 feet (6.1 m) tall at its apex, with stained glass windows that each represented one month of the year.

The room was decorated in Georgian style with inlaid mahogany panels.  These panels surrounded a jade green carpet with a yellow floral pattern.  The forward and aft ends of the lounge had a 14-foot- (4.3 m) high, green, marble fireplace with enameled panels by Alexander Fisher.  Decorative plasterwork linked the overall design of the room.

Reading and Writing Room

At the time of the Lusitania, the reading and writing room as the exclusive preserve of the women.  This room was just forward of the grand staircase on Boat Deck ‘A’.  The room’s walls were decorated with carved pillasters and mouldings marking out panels of grey and cream silk brocade.  The windows featured etched glass, and the chairs and writing desks were mahogany.

The room was covered with rose carpeting and complemented with Rose du Barry silk curtains and upholstery.  The room was crowned with a glass dome overhead.

Smoking Room

At the time of the Lusitania, the smoking room was exclusive preserve of the men.  This room was aft of the lounge and music room on Boat Deck ‘A’.  The smoking room was decorated in Queen Anne style, with Italian walnut panelling and Italian red furnishings.

Verandah Café

At the very aft end of the saloon accommodations on Boat Deck ‘A’ was the verandah café, behind the smoking room.  This public room was the first such café on a Cunarder.  In warm weather, the aft wall of the café could be opened up to the promenade give customers the impression of sitting at a Parisian sidewalk café.  Due to the inclement weather of the North Atlantic, however, this feature was rarely used.

The verandah café was not popular early in Lusitania‘s career, and Cunard considered replacing it with a nursery or a gymnasium.  In the end, Cunard decided to redecorate the room with ivy, trellises, and wickerwork.  The more welcoming atmosphere of the new verandah café made the café popular with travelers.

Staterooms

Saloon cabins were on decks A through E and ranged from one shared room to a variety of en-suite arrangements in a choice of decorative styles.  The largest of these were the two regal suites on Promenade Deck ‘B’, forward of the grand staircase and between the first and second funnels.  Each regal suite had two bedrooms, a dining room, a parlor room, and a bathroom.  The port suite was decorated in the style of the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

Dining Saloon

The first-class dining saloon was the grandest room afloat.  The room sat on two decks, Shelter Deck ‘C’ and Saloon Deck ‘D’, and had an open, circular well in the center.  The upper floor could seat 147 and measured 65 feet x 65 feet (20 m × 20 m) with the room’s port and starboard sides bounded by promenades.  The lower floor could seat 323 and  measured 85 feet x 81 feet (26 m × 25 m) and ran the entire width of the ship.

The room was decorated in white plaster, gold leaf, and mahogany panels, dotted with Corinthian-styled pillars.  And it was all crowned with a dome over the well and center of the room.  The dome measured 29 feet x 23 feet (8.8 m × 7.0 m) and was decorated with frescos in the style of François Boucher and Louis XVI.

The chairs and tables, however, were fixed swivel chairs bolted to the floor in case of rough seas.  Seating that could be rearranged on demand would not appear until White Star’s Olympic of 1911.

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