Red Star Line New York—Dover—Antwerp Service (1908)
ANTWERP, the busy seaport of Belgium—and, in fact, one of the leading ports of the world — was chosen as the terminus of the Red Star Line owing to its central geographic position. This city has most complete and direct railroad and steamship connections, not alone with all parts of Europe but with the world generally. Travelers intending to visit the Continent will find Antwerp a most advantageous point from which to commence their tour, as numerous fast trains leave there daily for Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Vienna, Swiss points, Italy, etc.
At Dover, the English port of call for the Red Star Line, passengers land at the Prince of Wales’ Pier, from which trains convey them to the center of London within two hours.
At Antwerp the steamers are also brought alongside the Company’s new and commodious piers, within a short distance of the principal hotels and railway stations.
A new steamer is under construction for this service.
The Steamships Finland, Kroonland, Vaderland and Zeeland
The New York-Dover-Antwerp service of the Red Star Line is now maintained by four of the newest, staunchest and finest steamships of the whole Atlantic fleet. The Finland and Kroonland are the latest acquisitions and both fly the American flag, having been built recently at the famous shipyards of the Wm. Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding & Engine Company of Philadelphia.
They are prototypes of their sister ships, the Vaderland and Zeeland, constructed by John Brown & Co., Ltd., of Glasgow, Scotland. All four are twin-screw steamers, providing security against breakdowns, and, except in the one point of speed, are the equal of any ships afloat.
Constructed on the same general plan and modeled for safety and steadiness (a noteworthy feature of these ships being their great breadth of beam and depth in comparison to their length) their general dimensions are also similar: Length, 580 feet; breadth of beam, 60 feet; gross tonnage, 12.760 tons.
This type of ship, on account of lines and general distribution of weight, is wonderfully safe and steady in a sea-way, and passengers traveling by this route are, as a rule, entirely free from seasickness, which too often mars the pleasure of an ocean voyage. These new and popular steamers are practically unsinkable, being divided by watertight bulkheads into twelve compartments. Throughout every department they exceed the requirements of Lloyds and the Bureau Veritas, and are accorded the highest rating of British and American registry.
A perfect system of ventilation insures pure, sweet and wholesome atmosphere throughout—a most important matter, which has received the utmost attention. By means of powerful Sturtevant blowers, located on the boat deck, a stream of fresh air is constantly supplied to all parts of the ship.
In cold weather, this current is passed over a system of steam pipes, and the heat thus supplied may be regulated for each deck independently, and by the occupant of each stateroom to suit his own comfort. This eliminates steam pipes or radiators from staterooms and contributes much to the general comfort.
These steamships are equipped with the Marconi wireless telegraph system, which enables passengers to attend to important details of business or to exchange greetings with friends separated hundreds of miles; and by this means, the news of the day from both sides of the ocean is made known.
The steamers are lighted throughout by electricity, and a complete system of electric bells brings all parts of the ship into communication, while the steering gear is controlled by a telemotor from the wheelhouse on the navigation bridge.
Large storerooms permit the carrying of extensive supplies of fresh provisions, meats and vegetables being kept in excellent condition during the voyage by special refrigerating plants.
The engine-room of a ship is always a matter of wonder to the passenger. There is hardly an indication on these ships as to its location, because of the almost complete absence of vibration, a feature that appeals to all voyagers who know how disagreeable and nerve-racking is the constant quivering and shaking of a vessel propelled bv old types of engines.
Technically the engines of the Red Star Line steamers are of the quadruple expansion, direct-acting and surface condensing type. Steam is generated in eight of the latest style of boilers, each boiler having four furnaces, making thirty-two in all. The boilers occupy two compartments leading into two great funnels, each ninety feet high and elliptical in shape, being 13 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches. The immense shafts are of Siemens-Martin steel and the twin propellers are of manganese bronze.
Passengers are carried on three decks—promenade, upper and saloon. On the promenade deck are spacious staterooms of inviting comfort, fitted with extension berths, folding tables and other conveniences. Handsome brocade curtains adorn these cabins.
Among the first-class staterooms are included four special suites, each consisting of two rooms—either or both of which can be used as a bedroom or sitting room—with a lobby between, each cabin communicating with a private bathroom and toilet, fitted with sanitary porcelain bathtubs.
The large square windows in these cabins are fitted with sliding shades of ornamental glass, and as the promenade deck is situated so high above the water that no swell or spray can reach it, the windows can be left open in almost any kind of weather.
All staterooms on these ships are unusually large, handsomely appointed and ventilated by the Sturtevant system already described, scrupulous neatness being everywhere apparent. All these rooms are finished in mahogany, and the interior rooms, which on most ships depend entirely on artificial light, are, in frequent instances, lighted from overhead through oval, corrugated glass. Electric lights are also available night or day.
Public Rooms on Red Star Line Steamships
The public rooms on all Red Star Line steamers are splendid apartments; but a description of one ship will suffice for all, as these four steamers are alike in all essentials, equally beautiful and superbly furnished.
Let us, for instance, look at the Vaderland:—Paneled with oak, richly carved, the entrance hall on the Vaderland is relieved of the somberness usually noticeable in interiors of heavy finish by a massive gilt grill, fitted to an overhead skylight, which floods the corridor with light.
Beneath this grill winds the companionway leading to the main saloon, while directly forward of the entrance hall one catches a glimpse of a most daintily furnished music room and library—a vista of Nile green sofas and divans, spindly chairs, the gloss of satin wood and the sheen of curly maple tables exquisitely inlaid with rich woods of a darker tone.
Descending the stairway one enters the dining saloon, a spacious, handsome apartment stretching the entire width of the beamy vessel, amidships. On the sides, alcove tables give a pleasant suggestion of coziness and seclusion. The seats are covered with rose-colored moquette, and the upholstery through-out is in excellent keeping with the color scheme of the other decorative materials.
The woodwork is finished in lustrous white, the sheen of its glossy enamel reflecting the soft light of silver candelabra and the glow of electric lights, which stud the ceiling in pendants of opalescent glass. Six oil paintings of merit, representing scenes in Belgium and Holland, help to panel the room and blend in tone with the bright-hued sliding shutters, which screen in very-colored glass the big air ports. The furniture is of mahogany, except the sideboards, which are of satinwood, handsomely inlaid.
Architect and decorator have done much to render pleasing the music room and library—the one in selection of location, the other in adornment. A striking feature of the apartment is the elliptical contour of its forward end, affording an unobstructed view ahead, much frequented by passengers who love to note the progress of the vessel or the ever-changing scene from such a point of vantage.
The room itself is finished in white enamel, with panels of striped silk upholstery, and the windows are fitted with cloisonné glass panels, which give a fine effect by either day or night. There are also a beautifully designed piano and bookcase, as well as convenient writing-tables of inlaid satinwood.
The smoking-room for first-class passengers is paneled in fumed American oak, and the chairs and couches are handsomely finished in leather. Small tables for card parties are also provided. Under foot is a floor of rubber tiling, which affords an excellent foothold, while overhead is a broad ventilating skylight.
The general tone of high-grade fittings also extends throughout the entire second-class space, and is particularly noticeable in the saloon, a richly furnished apartment that, like the first-class dining-saloon, extends the entire width of the ship.
The furniture is mahogany, and carpets, cushions and curtains are in varying shades of one color, giving a very pleasing effect.
Second Class Accommodations
Aft of the saloon are located staterooms for seventy-six voyagers in second-class and at the after end of the promenade deck, which is also reserved for second-class passengers, is a deck-house containing the entrance hall and the ladies’ room. This apartment is finished in mahogany, the bright patterns of the ceiling matching in tone the panels of tulip and satinwood with which the walls are decorated. The second-class smoking room on the promenade deck is exceptionally large, filled with deep, leather-upholstered chairs and seats, tables for cards, and has every convenience for smokers.
Music on deck and in the dining-saloon, provided by a string and brass orchestra, is a pleasant feature of the Red Star Line steamers. During the summer season dances are held frequently on the immaculate decks, the appropriate decorations—flags and colored electric lights—lending gayety to the scene.
Third Class Quarters
The third-class quarters are commodious and well ventilated. The berths are of galvanized iron frames, with woven wire springs. Families are berthed in rooms containing two, four and six berths; and all the quarters have well-lighted dining rooms with tables and revolving chair seats.
Source: International Mercantile Marine Company, "Red Star Line New York—Dover—Antwerp Service," Facts For Travelers: American Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Dominion Line, Leyland Line, Red Star Line, White Star Line, 1908: P. 41-46