Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On The Laurentic

Alice and her fellow travelers spent four days on the Laurentic before finally arriving in Madeira on March 17th. They passed their days writing letters and playing cards, taking walks on deck and visiting with others on the ship. When they arrived in Madeira the day-trip was canceled because the seas were too rough for boats to go ashore. 

Alice T. Miner, Sylvia Silver, Laura Haynes, Jessica Johnson
and the guide who showed them around Rome, Achille Renzi

Alice writes, "Mar 12th   Wrote letters. It is still very cold with flurries of snow in the air. The sea is a bit rougher but Sylvia (Mrs. Silver) & I enjoyed a brisk walk on deck. Met Mrs. Ernest Wheeler & daughter. They recognized me. Mr. & Mrs. Treadwell are on board, friends of Dr. Hopkins. They are very pleasant. Mrs. Johnson (Jessica) in stateroom all day. Mrs. H, Mrs. S, & I have not known a sick minute. The sea was rough during the night."

S.S. Laurentic postcard

"Mar 13th   Slept well. Awakened to find it 12 degrees warmer - temp 51 degrees. The morning was spent writing letters & sitting out on deck. All are feeling in fine spirits. Had afternoon tea & came in & dressed for dinner. Mrs. Tucker asked us to join in the card game. I accepted the invitation & enjoyed the game. Retired at 11PM. It is getting warmer.

Menu from the Laurentic sister-ship the S.S. Megantic

Mar 14th   The sea was very rough. Mrs. S, Mrs. H and I never had a qualm. It was hard to navigate but the Sea was grand & we enjoyed the experience. Mrs. Johnson is keeping quiet. Went to bed early and slept splendidly. A French singer in stateroom nearby is demented & often burst out singing. She was taken to the hospital."

First class passengers like Alice Miner and friends were treated to great luxury on the White Star Line ships. The White Star Line worked hard to overcome the tragedies of the Titanic and the sinking of two from the fleet during WWI (including the first ship named Laurentic, built in 1908). The Laurentic, built in 1927, was their first ship of distinction in the re-born fleet, signaling a modernization of the White Star Line ships. She sported the new spoon-shaped stern which would later be seen on the Queens and other famous vessels. The Laurentic weighed in at 18,724 tons, sported two funnels, two masts, three screws and could travel at a speed of up to 16 knots. There were accommodations for 594 cabin class, 406 tourist class and 500 third class passengers.

Alice writes, "15th   Had bath at 7A.M. every morning. Wrote letters. Sat in deck chairs in company with Jessica (Jessie), Laura & Sylvia. Played bridge with Mrs. Hester, Mrs. Tucker & Miss - Had poor score. Retired early, slept well.

Mar 16th   The sea was calm. Wrote letters all morning. Mailed 23 letters. Jessie feeling fine & is preparing for tomorrows outing at Madeira. We are the first to go ashore. Leave our ship at 9A.M. To bed early.

Postcard of Madeira

Mar 17th   Madeira   Got up early. Breakfasted at 7 o'clock. Expected to land on the Island at 9. The approach is lovely. Houses of many colors dotted the mountain sides. The sea was too rough to land. We spent the day on the deck watching natives who came over in small boats. Young boys dived for money. Flower and linen vendors came on board. Had lots of fun. Bought Madeira square for table doilies, etc. It was all very strange but wonderful. Did not sleep so well.

Postcard of Madeira

Perhaps the excitement was too much for Alice... it must have been rather circus-like to have so many visitors from the island after their quiet days on ship. This is just the beginning of the European experiences. I'll be back with more soon!

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