Amenities on Board an Ocean Liner

There are many amenities that passengers can take advantage of on most newer steamships, including Barber Shops, Massage, Electric Baths, Baths, Bedding, Cameras, Field Glasses, Couriers, Daily Newspaper, Darkroom Services, Divine Services, and More!

Barber Shop

Typical Barber Shop on an Ocean Liner circa 1910.

Typical Barber Shop on an Ocean Liner circa 1910. GGA Image ID # 179eb2ff16

There are many amenities that passengers can take advantage of on most newer steamships, including Barber Shops, Massage, Electric Baths, Baths, Bedding, Cameras, Field Glasses, Couriers, Daily Newspaper, Darkroom Services, Divine Services, Hair Dressing, Manicuring, Gymnasium, Interpreters, Foreign Languages, Laundry Work, Stock Reports, Thermometer Scales, Toilet Accommodations, Transporting Valuables, Writing Materials and Typewriters, and Stenographers.

The barber is an important adjunct to the comfort of the male passenger on the modern trans-Atlantic steamship. In addition to performing the various functions of a barber, he also usually sells caps, pocketbooks, fountain pens, souvenir postal cards, and other souvenirs, as well as pressing clothes and doing minor repairs to the clothing.

The charges are usually fixed by the authorities of the line and vary somewhat with the different lines. Shaving is one shilling. or twenty-five cents; hairdressing and shampooing are usually done for the same fee on English lines.

The hours are usually from seven in the morning to seven in the evening; the passenger is not expected to apply for a haircut or shampoo except between the hours of noon and 5.30 P. M. Accounts with the barber are settled immediately after each transaction.

Electric Massage and the Electric Bath Are Luxurious Accessories on a Modern Ocean Liner.

Electric Massage and the Electric Bath Are Luxurious Accessories on a Modern Ocean Liner. GGA Image ID # 179ec89c3b

BATHS

An ample supply of baths for both men and women are provided on the modern liner. The men's baths are in charge of special bath stewards, who will prepare a bath at the same hour each morning. The room steward will arrange the time with the bath steward. Ladies desiring baths should consult their stewardess.

All those having baths are expected to give gratuities to the bath steward or the stewardess. See the special section relating to fees. Fresh or saltwater, hot or cold, is supplied at will. One steamer has one entire deck with a bath for every stateroom, 86 in all.

On some of the latest vessels, an electric bath is provided for the use of passengers. On one or two vessels, Turkish baths are provided, which consist of the usual hot and cold rooms, steam rooms, plunge baths, and massage couch.

The plunge bath is usually open to gentlemen from 6 to 8 without charge, and Turkish baths are usually available from 9 to 12 for ladies and from 2 to 6 for gentlemen. The expense is usually $1.00.

BEDDING

Modern First Class Stateroom Where a Maid Checks the Bedding and Linen Supplies While the Passenger Prepares for a Walk on the Promenade Before Retiring for the Evening.

Modern First Class Stateroom Where a Maid Checks the Bedding and Linen Supplies While the Passenger Prepares for a Walk on the Promenade Before Retiring for the Evening. GGA Image ID # 179f024d71

Sufficient bedding and towels are provided by the company, and an extra supply may be obtained by sending for the room steward. It is not permitted to take pillows or blankets on deck.

An ample supply of cold freshwater is provided daily to every stateroom for the use of every passenger. Warm water for shaving and washing purposes can be obtained in the morning or before luncheon and dinner. It is customary for the room steward to bring hot water in the evening, even without asking.

CAMERAS AND FIELD GLASSES

Travelers will find a hand camera extremely useful in retaining and fixing strange sights and views on the trip abroad. Cameras are particularly useful at sea, and many of the groups which are taken are warmly treasured after the return.

Films are easily carried, not likely to be broken, and can be had anywhere in Europe, while with plates, it is sometimes difficult to obtain the right sizes.

Usually, cameras must be checked in museums, galleries, etc. It should be remembered that in Europe, and particularly on the Continent, it is forbidden to take pictures or make sketches of fortresses, arsenals, dock-yards, etc., and the visitor should be extremely cautious in this matter as the trouble is apt to be serious.

A pair of marine glasses add greatly to the enjoyment of an ocean trip. It should be borne in mind that optical goods can be purchased much cheaper abroad than in the United States. Prism glasses are especially recommended.

The Bureau of Information on the Ship. Passengers Can Take Care of Letters, Telegrams, Etc., and It Is a Veritable Hotel Clerk's Office.

The Bureau of Information on the Ship. Passengers Can Take Care of Letters, Telegrams, Etc., and It Is a Veritable Hotel Clerk's Office. GGA Image ID # 179fa66df8

COURIERS 

The courier of thirty years ago is practically unknown. He was a linguist who traveled with rich individuals or parties, and conducted them to the best hotels and saw to it that they paid the highest prices for everything, both in hotels and shops.

The courier was an unmitigated nuisance and has been largely done away with by the more general use of the English language and by a more general knowledge of French by the average American and English traveler.

The courier's wages were as nothing compared with the commissions which he exacted from everybody with whom he came in contact. Occasionally, to give a suspicion of honesty, a portion of this commission would be disgorged to his employer.

In certain places in the Far East, couriers, or their equivalents, are now necessary, but they should never be engaged except on the recommendations of one of the great tourist agencies of world-wide reputation. It may be stated that the tourist agencies have been a very large factor in the disappearance of the courier.

DAILY NEWSPAPER

Cover Page of a North German Lloyd Bulletin, New York and Bremen, December 1911.

Cover Page of a North German Lloyd Bulletin, New York and Bremen, December 1911. GGA Image ID # 17a238f7b9

Quite a number of ships have daily newspapers, thanks to the wireless. The news columns are meager but serve at least to take away the "cutoff" feeling.

The Cunard Company inaugurated this service. A small price (1d.) on the Cunard line is charged for the papers, and a set for the voyage is also sold.

Front Cover of a Cunard Daily Bulletin, Lusitania Edition, 25 March 1909.

Front Cover of a Cunard Daily Bulletin, Lusitania Edition, 25 March 1909. GGA Image ID # 17a23d48da

DARKROOM

Photograph Envelope for Film Service on Board the RMS Aquitania circa 1910.

Photograph Envelope for Film Service on Board the RMS Aquitania circa 1910. GGA Image ID # 17a2408865

On many trans-Atlantic steamers, a photographer is carried to take groups at sea and also to develop the films and plates of passengers. The work is done at moderate rates and is a great convenience, and passengers can arrange with the photographer to obtain the use of the darkroom at all reasonable times. Give moderate fee, say 50 cents for the voyage.

On every large passenger-steamer, we see nowadays a considerable number of male and female tourists armed with cameras which they direct towards many things in and about the ship.

On the older vessels, we were able to turn a cabin into a darkroom without much difficulty, as the rooms were small and the windows conveniently small.

However, on the more modern steamers, we find more spacious cabins with much larger windows where it is somewhat harder to make them light-tight.

Therefore, the ocean's heating hotels are now equipped with real darkrooms provided with a red, yellow, and white electric lamp, water-tank, trays, racks, and the like.

Thus the passenger need not defer developing and printing his pictures until after arrival, but he can find during the passage whether his photographic attempts were successful or not.

In the latter case, he will repeat the snapshots under as nearly the same conditions as possible until lie has really obtained what his heart longed for.

There is almost a necessity onboard a biff steamer to put the camera at work — the brilliant light, the strong reflection from the water, the mighty ocean, glorious sunsets, a distant ship, Hocks of persevering sea-gulls, the scenery along the coast, and last but not least, the interesting scenes on board: all this impels the fortunate owner of a camera to get busy.

Nothing is safe before the eagle-eye of such a keen sportsman, and even the commander of the ship is powerless to resist. It is an effective way to make the time pass more quickly, and even years after such a trip, the pictures form an endless source of pleasure.

In recent times we heard even of photographic competitions for pictures made during the passage. The jury did its work onboard a day before the arrival at the destination.

In this way, over a hundred pictures were submitted on a single trip, and they were all exhibited in the large dining-room. From time to time, the large German steamship companies send out luxuriously-equipped boats for pleasure-cruises, and these are accompanied by a professional photographer engaged by the company to make special pictures but is also allowed to take snapshots of passengers at fixed charges.

The business is done in the same manner as the beach-photographer in the many German cures, baths, and seaside resorts. The man with the camera has become a well-known figure.

Photography has become so indispensable of late that the Hamburg- American Line has established a special photographic studio in the Hamburg harbor, which is at the disposal of the literary bureau which formerly purchased pictures from outsiders.

DIVINE SERVICES 

Sunday is observed on many liners, especially the English vessels, where the Church of England service is used. A collection is taken up for seamen's charities. A shilling or more may be given. The plate is often passed on the deck also, so that all may contribute.

HAIR DRESSING AND MANICURING

Manicuring Is a Feature on Many Ships.

Manicuring Is a Feature on Many Ships. GGA Image ID # 179fda45db

Several of the principal steamships carry a ladies' hair-dresser and manicurist. The rates are usually fifty cents for hair-dressing and seventy-five cents for hair-dressing and shampooing. The rate for manicuring is usually fifty cents.

GYMNASIUM

On some steamers, a gymnasium is provided for the use of passengers, and no charge is made for the use of the appliances, which are largely of the Swedish type.

The mechanical hobbyhorses afford excellent exercise, while the couch with the massage roller, which travels up and down the back, will often relieve headache and other forms of nervous ailment and also produce refreshing sleep.

In cases of indigestion, massage with antagonizing massage rolls are recommended. On some vessels, the gymnasium is open certain hours for gentlemen and certain hours for ladies. In other cases, they are open for both at all times.

Women Exercising in the First Class Gymnasium on Board a Steamship.

Women Exercising in the First Class Gymnasium on Board a Steamship. GGA Image ID # 179ff3dba8

INTERPRETERS

Interpreters in the employ of large tourist agencies will be found at the principal stations and most boat landings in Europe. Those who have purchased their tickets from these tourist agencies may call upon them freely and will find that they tend to decrease the discomforts of travel.

When their services are engaged, a moderate fee is suggested. The simple showing of the case in which the railroad tickets are kept is sufficient proof that the traveler is a client of the tourist agency.

Interpreters in the uniform of the largest agency meet principal trains and steamers to assist holders of their tickets free of charge.  The interpreters are not on duty on Sundays except by special arrangement.

LANGUAGE SPOKEN ON STEAMSHIPS

The English language is sufficient for travel in nearly all of the countries of Europe where travelers are accustomed to go in any quantity. English is spoken by interpreters at the railroad stations, often at post offices, and invariably at all hotels of the first or even second class; also by waiters in restaurants.

The fluency of the English spoken by the employees of the Swiss railroads is something phenomenal. A knowledge of French is, of course, highly desirable.

LAUNDRY WORK

Electrically Operated Laundry on Board the SS Lapland.

Electrically Operated Laundry on Board the SS Lapland. GGA Image ID # 17a0f207ca

On some of the ships in the Asiatic and Pacific trade, laundry work is done on board. This is a great convenience for travelers. 

So far as we know, this has not been adopted on any trans-Atlantic steamer as yet, although a limited amount of washing can usually be provided for by the stewardesses, but the practice is not recommended.

Repairing and pressing of clothes can usually be arranged for either through the stewards or the barber. The charges vary with the line of work required.

A significant fact is a part played by electricity in ministering to the comfort of the passengers. The gain in cleanliness and speed due to these appliances is most marked, and the best hotels can show nothing better in the appointment of this most important feature.

The electric laundry is one of the shows that have attracted much attention, but it is more than this; during the year or so, similar arrangements have been in use on others of the ‘‘A’’ steamers. They proved themselves as practical as they are ingenious.

Passengers on these steamers no longer have to depend upon the casual services of stewards and stewardesses but can rely for their laundry work on as much skill as they can get ashore. (The Steamship, Mar 1908)

STOCK REPORTS

Many of the latest ships receive stock reports almost all the way over. Some lines do not care to give information of this character, thinking that the voyage should be devoted to recuperation. The reports are, of course, sent by wireless and relayed from ship to ship, when necessary.

Passengers Browse the Books & Brochures Kiosk on a Steamship.

Passengers Browse the Books & Brochures Kiosk on a Steamship. GGA Image ID # 17a05be319

Thermometer Scales - Celsius v. Fahrenheit 

Much annoyance is caused by the great difference of thermometer scales in use in the different civilized countries. The scale of Reaumur prevails in Germany.

As is well known, he divides the space between the freezing and boiling points into 80 deg. France uses that of Celsius, who graduated his scale on the decimal system.

However, the most peculiar scale of all is that of Fahrenheit, a renowned German physicist, who, in 1714 or 1715, composed his scale, having ascertained that water can be cooled under the freezing point without congealing. Therefore, he did not take the congealing point of water but composed a mixture of equal parts of snow and sal ammoniac, about —14 deg. R.

The conversion of any one of these scales to another is very simple and easily made:

  • To change a temperature as given by Fahrenheit's scale into the same as the centigrade scale, subtract 32 degrees from Fahrenheit's degrees, and multiply the remainder by 5.9. The product will be the temperature in centigrade degrees.
  • To change from Fahrenheit's to Reaumur's scale, subtract 32 deg. from Fahrenheit's degrees, and multiply the remainder by 4.9. The product will be the temperature in Reaumur's degrees.
  • To change the temperature as given by the centigrade scale into the same as given by Fahrenheit, multiply the centigrade degrees by 9.5 and add 32 deg. to the product. The sum will be the temperature by Fahrenheit's scale. 
  • To change from Reaumur's to Fahrenheit's scale, multiply the degrees on Reaumur's scale by 9.4 and add 32 deg. to the product. The sum will be the temperature by Fahrenheit's scale. 

TOILET ACCOMMODATIONS

Private Toilet and Bath on the SS Minnesota, Pacific Line, circa 1911.

Private Toilet and Bath on the SS Minnesota, Pacific Line, circa 1911. GGA Image ID # 17a16651e0

The modern ship offers adequate toilet accommodations, which in the vessels of twenty years ago did not exist. The closets are flushed with seawater by means of special pumps and piping.

Where private bathrooms are secured, a private closet is included. A red light usually indicates the ladies' toilet and the gentlemen's toilets. Lavatory accommodations are provided in all classes.

Public Area Toilets and Washroom on the SS Minnesota, Pacific Line circa 1911.

Public Area Toilets and Washroom on the SS Minnesota, Pacific Line circa 1911. GGA Image ID # 17a208d294

First and Second Class Toilet Installed on the RMS Mauretania, 1907.

First and Second Class Toilet Installed on the RMS Mauretania, 1907. GGA Image ID # 17b96be7cd

Urinals Used on the RMS Mauretania, 1907.

Urinals Used on the RMS Mauretania, 1907. GGA Image ID # 17b9f085de

Transporting Valuables on Steamships 

Steamship companies are not responsible for money, jewels, or other valuables of passengers. They should not be kept in the staterooms but should be given to the purser for safe-keeping in the safe provided; he will receipt for the same.

On some vessels, safe deposit vaults are provided, giving the passengers the same protection they would have at the bank or safe deposit company at home.

However, it should be remembered that the company accepts no responsibility for loss or damage, however, arising. The passengers can protect themselves with insurance. 

Passengers are generally warned against keeping valuables in their staterooms. It is customary to place the same in the care of the purser. Steamship companies make no charge for this service, and they accept no responsibility for loss or damage. (Issue 89, 1920)

A Passenger Deposits Valuables into the Pursers Safe Deposit Vault.

A Passenger Deposits Valuables into the Pursers Safe Deposit Vault. GGA Image ID # 17a0a88dca

In a Supreme Court, New York, Appellate Division, First Department, November 1905, Hart v North German Lloyd SS Company.

STEAMSHIP — CARRIER AND PASSENGER — ARTICLES OF APPAREL STOLEN FROM STATEROOM.

Where the steward of a ship entered a passenger’s stateroom through the door left open by the passenger and found a porthole also open, and after seeing valuables of the passenger lying on a sofa, failed to close the porthole and lock the door, and afterward, the valuables were taken from the stateroom, the negligence of the steward, and not that of the passenger, was the cause of the loss for which the steamship company was liable.

Specie and Valuables, usually in charge of the pursers of the steamships, must be taken in possession of by discharging inspectors as soon as possible after they first go onboard the vessels.

The special place or room where such specie and valuables are deposited and the safe or the packages containing the same must be locked with custom-house locks, or otherwise secured, until delivered on a permit from the proper customs officers. (US Article 1464, 1908)

Writing Materials and Typewriters On Steamships

Letterhead Stationery from the Hamburg-American Line dating from the Early 1900s.

Letterhead Stationery from the Hamburg-American Line dating from the Early 1900s. GGA Image ID # 17a22af3dd

Writing materials are furnished free of charge on all steamships and are usually in charge of the library steward, who often sells souvenir postal cards as well. Stationery can also be had at various hotels in Europe and also at cafés, where a moderate charge is made.

Travelers should not fail to carry a fountain pen, and at least two fillers carried in different parts of the baggage, as a filler is apt to become broken and is not easily replaced except in the very largest cities.

The fillers that come with a bottle of ink in a wooden case are particularly recommended, as there is no chance whatever of the ink spilling no matter the bottle's position. Such bottles are heavy, however.

Some vessels carry one or more typewriters who do copying and take dictation from passengers. As far as possible, business should be left at the gang-plank on embarking.

STENOGRAPHER.—An experienced Stenographer is often carried by the major steamship lines, and his/her services are at the disposal of passengers at a fixed printed tariff of charges, which can be had on enquiry at the Purser's Office. Other steamship lines offer a stenographer and typist who is on board for the convenience of passengers, and is prepared to attend promptly to all work required.

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