The Transatlantic Voyage - 1910 Travel Guide
THE DAY BEFORE SAILING.
It is always wise to visit the steamer the day before sailing when this is possible. This enables the necessary inquiries, such as the location of seats at the table, and steamer chairs, etc., to be settled decidedly. If the seats cannot be assigned at that time, at least a reservation can be made.
The Voyage - What To Expect
It is a good rule to always be at the dock a full hour before the advertised 'time of sailing. This will enable you to look after your baggage and see that the smaller articles of baggage are placed in the stateroom. The stewards will usually, on request, lock the stateroom to prevent the possible theft of hand-baggage, rugs, umbrellas, etc.
The company assumes no responsibility for loose baggage unless placed in the hands of the baggage-master. Visitors from other cities should aim to reach New York the day before sailing, and the same remarks apply to those who sail from Philadelphia, Boston, etc.
It is very essential that ample time be allowed to transfer baggage from railroad stations to the pier. After a reasonable time has been allowed for the express company to make the transfer, the pier should be called up and the baggage-master should be inquired for, then make your inquiries as to whether the baggage has been received, specify the number of pieces, and the style, as "steamer trunk," "Saratoga, trunk," etc. In case of non-receipt,' call up the express company and have the matter traced at once.
If visitors are stopping at a hotel or private house where all the baggage is collected, a cab should be taken to the pier. Allow ample time not only for the run, but for waiting at the pier, as there will be many carriages on the day of sailing. When the vehicle comes near to the gang-plank the passengers should alight and the baggage master should be asked to put the steamer trunk and hand-baggage in the stateroom.
Stewards are on hand to make the transfer. Trunks which are not wanted at all during the voyage should have a "hold" label or label which says, "not wanted." Trunks which may be needed during the voyage should have a "wanted" label attached ; they will then he put in a place where access can be had at any time during the voyage upon proper notice to the purser, or other official in charge. The baggage having been disposed of, the visitor should buy such reading matter as will be needed from the newsstand and then the stateroom should be sought.
If the stewards lock up the baggage there will be less anxiety than if the stateroom is left open. The passenger should then repair to the deck to meet his friends. In the height of the season and on a large steamer, it is sometimes wise to ask your friends to meet you in some foreordained place, such as the music-room, the lounge, the main saloon, the main deck, or near the purser's office.
Lists of passengers in printed form can be obtained at the purser's office, chief steward's office, or in the saloon before leaving. It should be remembered that many persons engage passage a few hours prior to sailing, so that the steamer lists are only accurate in a general way. There are usually enough steamer lists so that visitors can take one away with them. The seating at table is referred to elsewhere, also steamer chairs.
Ocean steamers sail promptly unless they are held back by some unforeseen circumstance, such as fog. After bidding good-bye to friends it is interesting to stay on deck until the vessel warps out and she turns her how seaward in midstream. The trio down the bay is, of course, always interesting even to New Yorkers.
Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, and Coney Island, are all soon left behind. In the meantime the sailors have been getting out the sea ladder for the pilot's descent ; at last the steamer is abaft the pilot boat with its yellow funnel looking not unlike a private yacht.
A rowboat is put off from the steam pilot boat and the sailors throw the rowers the rope and the boat is trailed alongside and brought underneath the sea ladder. There is a sharp clank-clank in the engine-room of the signals and the machinery stops, while the pilot with his little bag of mail shakes hands with the captain and disappears over the rail.
He reaches the rowboat, the rope is cast off, and as soon as it is a safe distance from the ship, clank-clank goes the engine signal from the bridge, and the machinery is not usually stopped again until a foreign port is reached.
The dropping of the pilot is the last bit of excitement which the passenger is apt to have unless another vessel is sighted during, the trip, or a possible whale, or in extreme cases, an iceberg ; gulls and porpoises can be seen almost daily during the trip.
The sight of a whale is not so unusual at sea as a passenger may think ; be may see two for each five voyages. This is based on the experience of the writer. The next point of land which will be seen will usually he the coast of Ireland or the Scilly Islands, and the passenger is now free to enjoy the good cheer and the amusements which the ship affords.
With the wireless the traveler does not feel so entirely cut off from the world as in former years when the only pews of any description which could be received was when another vessel was met somewhere in the great ocean lane.