Booking Passage On A Steamship

Cunard Line Ticket Office in Trondheim, Norway circa 1910.

Cunard Line Ticket Office in Trondheim, Norway circa 1910. GGA Image ID # 1789e932b9

The cost of a first-class passage to Europe varies with the Line and the season of the year. Vessels of the first-class command a very high minimum rate even "out of season."

At the time of writing, it is hardly possible to obtain a first-class passage for less than $87.50 on good ships, and good accommodations will cost $110.00 to $125.00 on other than Mediterranean steamers.

The choicer cabins bring incredibly high prices. It is nothing unusual to find accommodations that are a thousand dollars or more for cabins for one or two persons.

Advertisement from the Cunard Line Promoting Ships In Their New York - Liverpool Service -- Aquitania, Mauretania, and Lusitania.

Advertisement from the Cunard Line Promoting Ships In Their New York - Liverpool Service -- Aquitania, Mauretania, and Lusitania. GGA Image ID # 178a06b79b

There are many factors connected with the price of staterooms; the time of passage must be considered, for every increased knot of speed means a vastly increased coal consumption, which is almost inconceivable to the layman; the saving of a day in the passage may mean double coal consumption.

The costliness of ships must also be considered. It naturally costs more to travel in a vessel that has spent $7,000.000 than in a comparatively small and cheap ocean liner costing five or six hundred thousand.

A slower boat with a large freight-carrying capacity is often more comfortable than the express steamer, which races through the water at a high rate of speed with constant vibration. The number of passengers is also much more limited, and there is more room for promenading and for the steamer chairs.

Those who wish to rest at sea should bear this in mind. The traveler who desires comfortable lounges, palm-gardens, Dutch cafés, gymnasiums, and Turkish baths, electric baths, etc., should be willing to pay some $25.00 or more extra for each passage.

The proper plan to pursue is to write to the New York office of the five or six principal trans-Atlantic lines. The intending traveler will receive courteous letters accompanied by diagrams and price lists of all staterooms; this will enable one to select accommodations within his means. The minimum fares charged when accommodations are available are given beyond, so apply early if you seek low fares.

Interior View of the Hamburg-American Line Office in St. Louis, Missouri.

Interior View of the Hamburg-American Line Office in St. Louis, Missouri. GGA Image ID # 178a189f03

Berths are usually not considered engaged unless secured by a payment of 25 percent of the passage money, and never less than $25.00 per berth for first cabin accommodations.

The balance of the passage money, both outward and return, should be paid and the receipt surrendered at least three weeks prior to the date scheduled for the sailing from the port of New York. Otherwise, the company reserves the right to dispose of such reserved accommodations to others, and the sum paid is forfeited if the engaged berth or berths have not been resold.

Rates of the Principal Steamship Companies Running from New York to Ports Near Paris. Harper's Guide to Paris 1900.

Rates of the Principal Steamship Companies Running from New York to Ports Near Paris. Harper's Guide to Paris 1900. GGA Image ID # 178aef57d4

In case of sickness or death, the company usually refunds all except the agent's' commission. In case of necessity, the lines have the right to substitute some other steamer or steamers, and even change the date of sailing without notice, and passengers have no claim or demand upon the companies except for a refund of the amount paid on account of the accommodation reserved.

When applying for berths, either by mail or wire, the name of the steamer, date of sailing, the number and sex of passengers, and the desired class of accommodations should be stated.

Passengers who do not sail on a steamer for which they have engaged accommodations, or purchased a ticket, will forfeit fifty percent of the passage money unless notice is given not later than three weeks previous to sailing or the accommodations have been re-sold.

When passengers are kept from sailing by misadventure, they usually allow them to sail on other steamers of the same Line. A steamship company is a business corporation, and their good nature, which is large, should not be imposed upon.

Prepaid tickets are good for a year and are not transferable, and may be extended by paying the difference between the rate in effect at the date of issue and date of sailing. Each company has special rules for the cancellation of such tickets.

Return tickets may be extended by paying the difference between the rate in effect at the date of issue and sailing. There are special regulations relative to cancellation, which may be learned by addressing the company issuing the ticket.

Rates from Ports in the UK to Continental European Ports, 1907.

Rates from Ports in the UK to Continental European Ports, 1907. GGA Image ID # 178b1a225b

The return portion of first and second cabin round trip tickets is available for return passage by any of the following lines, provided the tickets have been issued by one of the other lines or at the option of the holder will be accepted for passage by any of the following lines: American Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Austro-American Line, Cunard Line, Dominion Line French Line, Hamburg America Line, Holland-America Line, Leyland Line, North German Lloyd, Red Star Line, White Star Line.

Provided:

  • (a) There be room vacant on the steamer by which the passenger desires to sail.
  • (b) All the conditions in the ticket and regulations of the carrying line shall be accepted and binding on the passenger whether they are contained in the original return ticket, which the passenger holds or not.
  • (c) That the passenger pays the difference if any, between the value of the accommodation called for and the value of the accommodation he selects in the steamer by which he travels.
  • (d) In the event of the original return ticket calling for transportation on a specific steamer or date, the transfer cannot be made unless an application for transfer is presented more than 28 days before such specific date unless the passenger, at the time of making an application for transfer, presents the authority of the Line for which the original return ticket was issued, for the transfer being made.
  • (e) In the event of the passenger selecting accommodations of a lower tariff rate than that shown on the original return ticket, the difference between the value of the accommodation called for and the value of the selected accommodation will be refunded by the carrying Line, less 10 percent.

Second Cabin Rates of Passage to Europe and Scandinavia, 1913.

Second Cabin Rates of Passage to Europe and Scandinavia, 1913. GGA Image ID # 178c2ef604

First and second cabin return tickets issued by any of the above-mentioned lines will also be accepted for passage by any other of them, subject to the usual conditions.

Return tickets and prepaid tickets issued at a certain rate will only be available for transportation covered by such rate. Holders of such tickets, desiring to sail on a steamer or in accommodations for which a higher rate is in force, will be required to pay the additional fare, or in case lower-priced accommodations are engaged, the difference will be refunded, subject to the company's rules.

Return accommodations may be secured through the company's general passenger offices, by cable by letter: if by cable, at the passenger's expense.

Suppose a passenger is prevented from sailing on a steamer for which return accommodations have been reserved, a transfer to an earlier or later steamer can be made by applying to the company's general passenger office, provided an application for this transfer be made not later than three weeks previous to the departure of the steamer on which berths had originally been reserved.

On some lines, servants accompanying first cabin passengers, if they have access to the first cabin accommodations, must pay a special rate, which will be made known on application to the company. On other lines, servants pay second class rates but have access to the first cabin accommodations. If interested, write to the company for their rates and rules.

Rates of Passage for First and Second Cabin from the Anchor Line, 1895.

Rates of Passage for First and Second Cabin from the Anchor Line, 1895. GGA Image ID # 178c6f4edc

Such is in brief about all the general information which can be given on the subject of the securing or berths or staterooms. The various companies' practice is so widely at variance that nothing more of a general nature can be given. Each company employs a corps of correspondents who are entirely familiar with the transportation business and whose pleasure it is to reply fully regarding such special information as the cost of transporting bicycles, automobiles, dogs and other animals, excess baggage, and transportation of infants; special regulations as to children, etc.

The relative number of cabin passengers carried has, of course, a certain bearing on the standing of the Line. Thus, a Line bringing over six, eight, or ten thousand passengers, is much to be preferred to a Line that only carries three, four, or five hundred first cabin passengers a year.

In nearly all cases, the smaller number of passengers indicates lower rates. As the names of the agents are given, and they all have offices in New York City (the addresses being given elsewhere), they can be readily addressed for rates, information as to baggage, sailings, etc. All of these agents have telephones and may be communicated with by those living in New York or the immediate vicinity by this means. It is hoped that this official table may prove of considerable value to the intending traveler.

In a general way, however, it is valuable as showing average minimum rates. Of course, it is not possible to obtain accommodations at these rates unless very early application is made, or steamers are carrying very few passengers. The steamer companies should, in all cases, be written to before it is assumed that accommodations at the minimum rate can be supplied. The big tourist agencies also sell tickets by all lines.

While the prospective traveler is assumed in the majority of cases to embark at New York, still the information given applies to other ports as well. The maps of harbors include Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. The list of steamers plying from other ports is covered as far as possible, but changes are very apt to occur, which cannot be guarded against in a work of this kind. 

Sampling of Contracts and Receipts for Passage

Hamburg-Amerika Linie Passage Contract, Hamburg to New York, 1904, for Family of 2 Adults, 4 Children.

Hamburg-Amerika Linie Passage Contract, Hamburg to New York, 1904, for Family of 2 Adults, 4 Children. GGA Image ID # 178cc27c72

Counterpart of Passenger Contract Ticket for Passage from Cape Town, South Africa to Southampton, 1904.

Counterpart of Passenger Contract Ticket for Passage from Cape Town, South Africa to Southampton, 1904. GGA Image ID # 178d14cb12

Steerage Passenger's Contract Ticket, Southampton to Natal dated 17 November 1906.

Steerage Passenger's Contract Ticket, Southampton to Natal dated 17 November 1906. The passenger rebooked for a later voyage. GGA Image ID # 178d3e626d

Cunard Line Passage Contract, Third Class/Steerage, Trondheim, Norway to Boston, 1913.

Cunard Line Passage Contract, Third Class/Steerage, Trondheim, Norway to Boston, 1913. GGA Image ID # 178c7bc519

Allan Line Agent's Receipt for Passage on the SS Laurentian from Boston to Londonderry, 26 July 1907.

Allan Line Agent's Receipt for Passage on the SS Laurentian from Boston to Londonderry, 26 July 1907. GGA Image ID # 178d499b4f

Third Class Counterpart Ticket for Passage from Cape Town to Southampton on the SS Garka of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company on 16 September 1907.

Third Class Counterpart Ticket for Passage from Cape Town to Southampton on the SS Garka of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company on 16 September 1907. Cost of the Ticket was £10:10:0. GGA Image ID # 178d86dc7c

Agent's Receipt for a Steerage Prepaid Passage Contract on the Hamburg-American Line from Hamburg to New York

Agent's Receipt for a Steerage Prepaid Passage Contract on the Hamburg-American Line from Hamburg to New York (with Final Destination of Ellsworth, Minnesota). Ocean Fare for Two Adults and One Child (6 Years Old) was $78.75. GGA Image ID # 178e0c76cd

White Star Line Colonial Service Passenger's Contract Ticket from Sydney to Melbourne on the SS Persic, 21 December 1910 for a total fare of £1:10:0.

White Star Line Colonial Service Passenger's Contract Ticket from Sydney to Melbourne on the SS Persic, 21 December 1910 for a total fare of £1:10:0. GGA Image ID # 178e5e1b94

Purchaser's Receipt for Steerage Prepaid Passage Contract on the Hamburg-American Line of $53.00 for Steerage Passage from Hamburg to New York (McKeesport, PA being the final destination), dated 13 January 1912.

Purchaser's Receipt for Steerage Prepaid Passage Contract on the Hamburg-American Line of $53.00 for Steerage Passage from Hamburg to New York (McKeesport, PA being the final destination), dated 13 January 1912. GGA Image ID # 178e94abc0

Steamship Agency Handwritten Receipt for One Third Class Prepaid Ticket from Naples to New York (Springfield, Massachusetts is the final destination) on the Italian Line, for a cost of $46.50 dated 2 October 1914.

Steamship Agency Handwritten Receipt for One Third Class Prepaid Ticket from Naples to New York (Springfield, Massachusetts is the final destination) on the Italian Line, for a cost of $46.50 dated 2 October 1914. GGA Image ID # 178eac18dc

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