The New Steamship ” Homeric” of the White Star Line (1922)
World’s Largest Twin Screw Liner Possesses Every Facility for the Comfort and Pleasure of Her Passengers
MORE than a thousand guests were entertained by the White Star Line on board the new steamship Homeric which arrived in port recently on her maiden voyage. President P. A. S. Franklin, of the International Mercantile Marine Company, assisted by high officials of the White Star and associated, lines of the International Mercantile Marine group, saw to it that every opportunity was given to thoroughly inspect the big liner from the lowermost third class cabin to the magnificent suites of rooms designed for those to whom money is no object in ocean travel.
A luncheon was served to all guests, which was more of a banquet than a luncheon, and the ship’s officers demonstrated their ability and the adequacy of the ship's facilities to successfully care for a large list of guests. All that has been promised for the Homeric in advance notices has been fulfilled by the company, was the general opinion of those who were present, and her popularity as a favorite of transatlantic travelers was freely predicted.
A Ship of Distinctive Character
Designed with a definite view of providing the greatest possible degree of personal comfort to each and every passenger, a id ranking as one of the great and fashionable transatlantic liners, the Homeric is a ship of distinctive character. The facilities of a private yacht exist in her for rendering intimate, personal service to the individual, the family, or the tourist party. In her bedrooms the old-time upper berth has been eliminated, and with it generations of tradition; in her dining rooms small private tables, in varying sizes, predominate.
Her public rooms are splendid.
Exceeded in size in the White Star fleet only by the Majestic (the world’s largest ship. 56.000 tons) and the Olympic (46.439 tons), the Homeric is a worthy companion of those colossal and palatial vessels in the White Star weekly express service between New York, Cherbourg and Southampton.
Of 33,526 tons register, and 42,000 tons displacement, the Homeric was built nether for neither extreme size nor extreme speed, yet she is the world’s largest twin-screw vessel, and us sixth largest in point of size. Her length is 777 feet, her breadth 83 feet, and her depth, from bridge deck to keel. 100 feet. Her engines, of the reciprocating type, are of 28,000 horse-power, giving a normal speed of 20 sea miles an hour—a comfortable rate. Her passenger capacity is 491 in first cabin, 422 in second and 1.540 third class—a total of 2.653, and she carries a crew of 750.
The Public Rooms
Although somewhat smaller in tonnage than the Olympic, the Homeric on first view, and even on closer inspection, appears to be quite as large as the famous White Star flyer with which she is associated in service. This is due chiefly to the size of her public rooms, which in some cases are larger than similar rooms on the Olympic, and also to the imposing arrangement of these rooms, in one regal suite, on the upper deck. The largest of these apartments is the lounge, which is considerably larger than the lounge on the Olympic.
In their architectural ensemble, the Homeric's public rooms, occupying a continuous steel house that in size and loftiness would do honor to a knight's castle, are exceedingly impressive. Each room in the group has a style and story of its own, and all are superbly and quietly elegant, reflecting the essence of Europe’s modern arts in design and decoration, adapted to the requirements of modern sea travel.
At the forward end of the deck, under the navigating bridge, is a drawing room, with large plate glass observation windows. Next comes a reading and writing room, and next the lounge. Beyond this is a music-room, and still further on, the smoking-room, with a glass enclosed sun verandah completing the group. The view down the full length of the rooms, at the sides, from drawing room to sun verandah, presents an unbroken vista of 340 feet.
Only the great hall of some Palladian mansion could compare in dimensions and richness of architectural design anti adornment with the lounge on the Homeric. Its length is 94 feet, its width 47 feet, and its ceiling is 20 feet high, with a great central dome of amber glass through which the light conies as through champagne.
On either side of the room is a colonnade of fluted Doric pillars, with bases and capitals richly gilt—a commanding decorative feature, with tall windows between, from which the light falls through harmonious draperies.
The color tone of this sumptuous room, ivory and gold, is relieved by blue. The ceiling has deeply carved panels in gilt against a ground of old blue. A carpet of wonderfully deep pile has large circular designs of blue and old rose on a ground of gold. The central part of this carpet is removable, uncovering a ballroom floor inlaid in a design of stars, in two kinds of walnut.
This space has a capacity for 300 dancers. When the dancing space is not in use the entire lounge is arranged with tasteful groups of beautiful furniture, each of a distinctive style or period, and noteworthy for its rich and varied upholstery.
At either end of the room are large canvases, one portraying Columbus landing on the soil of the New World, the other his reception by Ferdinand and Isabella. Smaller panels, at the corners of the room, represent in classic figures the elements—Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Library and Drawing Room
Next forward of the lounge is the reading and writing room, a large yet cozy apartment, designed for cheerfulness and quiet. Here, in cabinets along the forward wall, are book shelves attractively filled. At the sides, in broad recesses lighted by casement windows, are placed double writing-desks of exceptionally generous proportions and handsome design, made of deep-hued mahogany with dull ebony ornaments. The armchairs for these desks revolve smoothly on ball bearings, the base being fixed.
One side of this attractive room is given over to an ingle-nock, with fireplace mantel of mottled green marble ornamented with bronze tracery, and winged seats, softly upholstered. In the center of the room is a great round table, spread with the latest periodicals in red leather covers. A skylight directly above sends down abundant light. The color tone of this room is ivory and olive green, with a touch of old rose in the carpet and hangings.
Next forward c( the library is the drawing-room—reached through two square-arched openings. This is a charming observation post, giving a wide view ahead, through broad plate glass windows. Everything here is light and airy, like a summer garden. The furniture is chiefly in white enamel—graceful chairs and settees, cushioned in green velour: circular garden sets in lattice, for palms and, ferns, and small round rabies, with choice marble tops. The hangings are in delicate solid colors
The Music Room
From the lounge broad corridors on either side lead toward the stern, their inner walls being adorned with oil paintings in oval frames, representing on one side the four seasons, with scenes of gallantry in the age of silks and swords, and on the other, morning and evening, noon and night, with scenes in Italy, Spain and America. There are several tine pieces of inlaid wall furniture in these corridors, which terminate at the music-room.
Outstanding features of this room are the light touch with which the joyous character of music is expressed in its decorations, and the tasteful beauty of its furnishings. First noticed is the carpet, a marvel of luxury in texture, and far more delicate in coloring than may ordinarily be seen outside an exhibition of arts and crafts. The design at once arrests the eye—great nosegays of pink rosebuds broadly scattered on a ground of soft gray, in a shade known as beige—sea sand. The border is pale blue with a huge swan in gray at each comer.
On the walls are two large paintings, done in the manner of tapestries, with scenes from Mozart’s opera ’The Magic Flute.” On one hand is the sleeping princess approached by the Moor; on the other the elfin bird-catcher making magic music to his fantastic little ladylove. This room has a mantel in delicate marl>le with bronze ornaments, and various mirrored panels surmounted by symbolic ebony carvings on a gold ground.
The First Class Dining Saloon
Next to the public rooms on the boat deck, the most commanding apartment in the Homeric is the first class dining saloon, situated on I) deck, amidships. The distinguishing feature of this room—, which has seating capacity for 500 persons-—is the lofty central portion, with a great inverted dome of crystal pendants, reflecting in prismatic radiance the brilliancy of hundreds of concealed electric bulbs, centered in a ceiling of white and gold.
Along the upper half of the room, on either side, is a gallery on which open the finest private suites on the ship, and from which, through plate glass panels set in bronze frames and guarded by bronze rails, an impressive view of the room below may lie had. A central decoration that quickly catches the eye is a large painting. opposite the entrance, representing two classic female figures, who have stepped from a boat to an island in an Alpine lake, and are about to partake of a repast spread upon the ground A castle on heights in the background completes the suggestion of adventure. On either side of this canvas are mirrored panels surmounted by a circular medallion in which is deeply carved a great gold parrot. At the opposite end of the room is a balustraded music gallery.
The color tone of the dining room is jade green, ivory and gold. The tables are mahogany, the armchairs mahogany frame with seats and back cushions of morocco.
The Smoking Room
Classic Dutch interiors from the canvases of the old masters live again in the design of the Homeric’s smoking-room. A lofty rectangular apartment, 38 by 50 feet, its high walls wainscoted to the top in small panels of dull-finished walnut, and with a ceiling of carved wood, done in flat white, the room conveys at first glance a message of dignity and repose.
The greater dimension is across the ship, terminating either side in bow windows 18 feet high, hung in silk curtains of huff and olive, in perfect harmony with the ripe tone of the walls and the opulence of the massive overstuffed pieces, some in colored wool tapestries, and others in deep green morocco, with which the room is furnished. Beside each window is a tall-backed winged chair in red morocco, and on either side of a marble fireplace is a great tapestry armchair, promising the ultimate in comfort. In suitable positions are small, marble-topped tables.
Let into the upper walls are four large panels done in oils in the Dutch manner, still life studies of fruits, flowers and game, flanked by carvings symbolic of sports, while over the mantel is a large painting of a young woman mounted for the hunt.
Beyond the smoking-room, and reached from it by an arched exit, up three broad steps, is a glass enclosed sun verandah, from which a clear view astern may be obtained.
Staterooms and Baths
The Homeric is distinguished by the varied sizes and luxurious character of her sleeping apartments. In these not only the old-time upper berth has disappeared, but also the characteristics of the old-time staterooms.
On this ship, the sleeping-rooms are bedrooms in fact. In the suites, both large and small, are found twin beds of metal, with box springs and Lair mattresses, quite as large and luxurious as the finest beds on shore. The smaller bedrooms have single metal beds, either of conventional type, or of a special berth-bed type, all being fitted with the finest springs and mattresses.
While the Homeric’s larger bedrooms are strikingly luxurious, particular attention has been paid to snug, well-ventilated, well-lighted and cheerful one-bed rooms for single travelers An important feature in connection with these rooms is that many have private shower bath and toilet attached—a luxury unattainable on most older ships in connection with the smaller staterooms. Still another important feature of the Homeric’s ordinary staterooms is the large number that have fixed washbasins with running hot and cold water. In fact, the ship’s toilet accessories throughout equal those of the best hotels.
The suites on the Homeric have thoroughly modem bathrooms, with large tubs, and with showers and sits baths as well, set in polished marbles, and there are an unusual number of public bathrooms.
Prompt and Efficient Service
Each detail of the Homeric’* equipment for prompt and efficient service to passengers has been worked out with great care. A complete telephone system, like that in American hotels, supplements the usual installation of electric bells for service calls, and is also available for communication between staterooms. A telephone instrument, of the Continental model, is to be found within reach of the bed in each of the larger rooms, and an operator is always on duty at the central station.
For the convenience of passengers in moving from deck to deck, there are two electric lifts, situated at the main companionway, in first class and one in second class, each having a capacity for eight passengers. The cars of these lifts in first class are handsomely finished in mahogany, inlaid with designs of flowers in lighter woods. There is also a lift for luggage.
A gymnasium, for both men and women, fitted with the latest type appliances for taking exercise; an electric ray bath; hair-dressing parlors; a dark room for the use of amateur photographers: a typewriting room; a shop for the sale of articles for travelers; a covered deck for sports; a special dining-room and playroom for children; ventilation by means of ducts through which warmed or cooled air can he convened at will, and special heating appliances, including steam heat and electric stoves, as well as open fires in the public rooms; a daily newspaper at the breakfast table every morning on a voyage; an orchestra giving daily concerts, and playing for dances at night; equipment for cards and other social games—these may all be named among the Homeric’s facilities for catering to the comfort and pleasure of her passengers.
The Homeric is commanded by Captain F. B. Howarth, veteran White Star skipper, formerly commander of the Baltic. Dr. R. S. French, ship’s physician, was for many years the physician on the Adriatic, and is known to thousands of transatlantic travelers.
Source: Shipping: Marine Transportation, Construction, Equipment and Supplies, New York: Shipping Publishing Co, Volume 15, No. 5, March 10, 1922 p.14-17