Irrepressible

The Great Depression significantly affected the shipping industry.  Few were wealthy enough anymore to pay for the expensive crossings that complemented her luxurious interiors.  Thus, in 1932 Aquitania was sent to the Mediterranean for cheap “booze cruises.”   These booze cruises were popular with the Americans due to Prohibition at the time, which made alcohol illegal in the United States. Aquitania left New York on 3 February 1932 for the Mediterranean on her first such cruise.  She made further cruises along this route during the year and along an additional New York to Bermuda route.  In November, Aquitania underwent another overhaul, where her first class accommodations were reduced to 650, tourist class accommodation expanded to 600, and third class altered to 900 passengers.  Her public rooms were renovated, and Aquitania also gained a theater. On 10 April 1935, Aquitania ran aground on Thorne Knoll just outside of Southampton, England.  Ten tugboats and the next high tide eventually freed her. Throughout the rest of the 1930s until the outbreak of World War II, Aquitania served in the dual roles of crossing and cruising. With the merger of Cunard and its rival, White Star, in 1934, many ships in both company’s fleets became redundant.  Furthermore, technology was enabling the construction of larger and faster ships, meaning that the ships that were profitable during the 1920s were becoming outdated.  As such, the newly formed Cunard-White Star let go of illustrious ships such as Mauretania, Olympic, Berengaria, and Majestic, sending them off to the scrapyard. Aquitania herself was scheduled to be let go in 1940.  The newer, larger, and faster duo of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth would be able to provide a weekly service with two ships that had previously taken three ships to do.  But history had other plans…

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