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American Line Philadelphia - Queenstown - Liverpool Service (1908)


SOME years ago, to meet the demand of the public for passage to and from Europe at nominal rates, the American Line discontinued carrying passengers in first-class on its service between Philadelphia, Queenstown and Liverpool, and limited the ships to second-class and third-class. The idea has been thoroughly appreciated by a large section of the traveling public, who, while requiring the best the ship affords, do not care to pay the higher rates demanded for such in the ships carrying passengers both in first and second-class.

The great and ever increasing number of travelers who elect to take passage by this route attests its popularity. From time to time, there have been added larger and more comfortable vessels, so that the steamers, which maintain this service, are thoroughly up-to-date and are built and equipped in an entirely modern manner.

The fleet now consists of the twin-screw steamships Haverford and Merion, and the Friesland, Westernland, and Noordland.

All of these ships are especially adapted to the plan of carrying passengers in one cabin class only. The accommodation, which is situated in the best portion of the steamer, includes the spacious promenade deck, ladies’ room, smoke-room, etc., all amidships. These steamers are also fitted to transport a number of third-class passengers in departments of the ship entirely isolated from the passengers.

In the furnishings and fittings of these vessels the cabin passenger will find every comfort and luxury; and when the minimum price is taken into account, the service given is extraordinary. It is no little satisfaction to the American Line to know and record the fact that the chief advertising of this route is accomplished by patrons who have made it a point to inform their relatives and friends of their delightful experiences while crossing the ocean on the steamships in this service.


Messrs. John Brown & Co., Limited, of Clvdebank, built the new twin-screw steamships Haverford and Merion. They were designed to carry large cargoes, yet equipped with such powerful boiler and engine installation that sufficient speed could be maintained to warrant further fitting them with extensive passenger accommodations. The weight of the immense cargoes carried gives them a great steadiness at sea, which is further insured by the presence of bilge keels.

The principal dimensions of the Haverford and Merion are: Length, 547 feet; breadth of beam, 59 feet; gross tonnage 11635.

Built of steel on the modern compartment plan, these vessels contain watertight bulkheads so arranged that any two of the compartments might be flooded with water without endangering the safety of the vessel. Powerful engines maintain a speed of about fourteen knots an hour. The extra heavy twin-screw shafts are incased in plating to their outer ends, while the coalbunkers, of immense capacity, are so arranged as to afford perfect protection to the boilers in case the vessel should be used for war purposes.

The bridge-house, extending above the shelter deck, is 150 feet long and covers the entire width of the ship. Within are large and airy staterooms—nine two-berth rooms and thirty-three four-berth rooms—affording cabin accommodations for 150 passengers. Baths and lavatories of solid porcelain, of the most approved types, are most conveniently located.

At the forward end of the deckhouse is the handsome1y furnished and pleasingly decorated dining saloon. It is finished in light oak paneling, and a novel grouping of the side ports, which are arranged in pairs, gives an abundance of light. The appurtenances of the dining room are complete in every detail, and an excellent piano is provided.

The main promenade, which extends the full width of the vessel, offers a delightful recreative ground, and on this deck of the ship will be found the library, a long, cheerful and well-ventilated room, supplied with many handsomely bound volumes of the classics and much interesting literature of the day.

In the ladies’ salon, a beautifully appointed apartment, the richly upholstered divans and easy chairs invite comfort, and during the voyage the room is constantly in use. The spacious entrance hall adjoins this apartment and the captain’s and officers’ quarters are also on this deck. Another entrance lobby at the after end communicates with the library on the port side and a luxurious smoking room on the starboard side—a room most popular with the men passengers.


The Friesland is a four-masted, single funnel steamship of large proportions, built of the best steel at the famous Glasgow yards of Messrs. James and George Thomson, and constructed on the same lines as the famous clipper-model steamships Philadelphia and New York. She has a double cellular bottom and nine water-tight bulkheads, making her practically unsinkable, being accorded the highest class in Lloyds and Bureau Veritas. The Friesland’s principal dimensions are: Length, 470 feet; breadth, 51 feet; gross tonnage, 6,409.

This yacht-like ship has three decks, the rooms for cabin passengers being amidships on the saloon and upper decks, while the promenade deck extends two-thirds the full length of the vessel.

The most attractive feature of the Friesland is the dining saloon, located well away from the machinery. It is an airy room of spacious proportions and is beautifully lighted by a huge dome-shaped skylight. The cabinet work is finished in elaborately carved oak, while the relief work of the pure white ceiling is delicately picked out in gold-leaf.

The main companionway, with its richly carved balustrade, is worthy of a fanciful yacht. A number of especially desirable staterooms are located on the saloon deck and as they are unusually well lighted and have perfect outside ventilation, they are always in demand.

The smoking room on the promenade deck is finished in dark-mahogany, with decorated tile panels, and the tiled floor insures absolute cleanliness. It is an attractive gathering-place, as is also the music-room at the head of the main companionway.


The Westernland and the Noordland being sister ships in all but a few minor particulars, one description will suffice for both. They were built after the same model by the well-known firm, Messrs. Laird & Brothers, in Birkenhead, England. In exterior appearance, however, they are different, as the Westernland has two funnels and the Noordland one. Both, however, have four masts and their construction is entirely of steel, after the most approved methods, with watertight bulkheads and compartments.

The principal dimensions are      Westernland—Length, 455 feet; breadth of beam, 47 feet; gross tonnage, 5,708. Noordland—Length, 416 feet; breadth of beam, 47 feet; gross tonnage, 5,150.

Their great beam, in proportion to their length, gives these steamers exceptional steadiness at sea and affords extra space for passengers, especially on the promenade deck. A broad easy staircase connects this deck with the saloon and upper decks, on the latter of which is located the drawing room, richly furnished and upholstered in moquette. Amidships is the smoking-room, most comfortably and attractively fitted.

The dining-saloon is finished in hard woods and tastefully decorated, the upholstery being a rich frieze plush. The ventilation is perfect, and the pantries and galley are so arranged that the odors of cooking cannot possibly invade the dining-saloon. The entire ship is brilliantly lighted by electricity.

A large number of the upper deck amid ship staterooms are finished in polished mahogany, and are extremely comfortable, well lighted and ventilated. On the Noordland a number of especially desirable rooms have been built on the saloon deck in a delightful situation.

Source: International Mercantile Marine Company, "American Line, Philadelphia - Queenstown - Liverpool Service," Facts For Travelers: American Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Dominion Line, Leyland Line, Red Star Line, White Star Line, 1908: P. 19-23

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