Favorite way of travel for the rich.
The first half of the twentieth century it is difficult to call a carefree time. War, revolution, economic crisis, famine – these were the horrors faced by many States. However, in the interwar period, that is in the 20-30-ies of XX century, Europe was experiencing its “Golden age”.
Life was changing rapidly: technological progress and new trends in literature, art and architecture. During this period, some were bankrupt, and others have amassed huge fortunes. Realizing the instability of being, nerotrivias aristocrats and the newly rich boozed, partied every day, fast life. Also, traveled. What? On a huge luxury ships of the transatlantic liners.
So, gentlemen, we sail
Before the Second world war passenger planes across the oceans did not fly, and get from one continent to another was only possible by sea. At this time, was built and launched the majestic passenger ships. Let us now recall the ill-fated “Titanic”. Will talk about his more successful brother, for example about the kings of the Atlantic “Ile de France” and “Normandy”.
These ships represented the quintessence of art of life on the ocean. It was floating palaces, a kind of theater, where rich people could see others and be seen. Here played, flirted and danced to the rhythm of jazz.
Let’s imagine: you are a first class passenger on a transatlantic liner in the interwar period, you climb aboard, your ten suitcases already delivered, the captain welcomes you.
Every day of your trip starts with the same ritual: after waking up you call a steward, he brings you a menu with a huge selection of Breakfast. At Breakfast you are served fresh rolls baked here last night, on Board the ship, you read the newspaper, printed on the liner. The news is not always pleasing, but luckily for you, all of this somewhere.
At sea, freed from all that was yesterday poisoned and oppressed, writes in his column the journalist of the French weekly L’illustration, 25 September 1926.
Sea air as an aphrodisiac
After Breakfast it is time to walk on the upper deck. This place reminds terraces for sunbathing good Swiss sanatorium: who is reading on a sun lounger, someone walks in, eyeing neighbors, and almost all of the flirting.
During cruises, all desperately flirting. The atmosphere on Board is conducive to Dating, rapprochement, contacts, evasion and persistence, that is, the whole range of the game. Youth impact — continues the same reporter from L’illustration.
And adds: “And if you believe that you are already out of frivolous age, then you can have fun watching others do it”. Of course, decorum and rules of conduct for their class and rank must be respected, but still people feel freer here.
“You would think that sea air is a powerful aphrodisiac, tie intrigue, ignite passion. However, not for long, almost all of them will go out like a match as soon as the liner will moor to his destination point,” writes one of the travellers in his memoirs.
So, here, you can easily dream of a love that ignores class barriers. For example, Marlene Dietrich traveled first class, and Hemingway lived in the second. They met one evening in 1934, on the liner “Ile de France”. In a Tux, rent, American writer appeared in the first class restaurant and invited the actress to her over the table.
The holiday, which always with you
And still get back to a typical day in the middle of the ocean. The morning continues, it’s time to warm up. It offers a gym with different apparatuses or in our machines. Fun to watch: during sports the Americans are serious and concentrated, and the French on the contrary – all of them irony, play, pose.
After sport it was time to eat, at eleven o’clock you will be served a warm broth. Generally, on Board almost all the time eat. Even dogs have their own menu with five items to choose from. Breakfast, second Breakfast, lunch, and coffee in the large living room, along with a film screening or a puppet theater for children. Then tea, and then you will need to prepare for luxurious dinner, the main secular event of the day.
Standing passengers of theatre making “majestic descending” on a beautiful staircase that leads to the richly decorated dining room. A cruise liner is a stage where you constantly have to change outfits. It’s a real fashion show of high society. It’s not just the jet set, this liner set.
Note: the Jet Set is a journalistic term for an international group of wealthy people formed their own isolated society in which it is almost impossible to get to other people; literally — “private plane”.
After dinner the men continue the conversation with cigars in the Smoking room. Women’s access to it will be closed until mid 20-ies, in the meantime, they had to settle for the conference room. Yes, everything changes, even the indoor pool of the ship eventually becomes mixed: for men and for women.
The night ends on the dance floor, it’s time for rampant Charleston rhythms of the jazz band.
What makes this time passengers in the second and third class, which are reserved for the lower decks? Day-to-day life much more austere and more monotonous. Each class has its own dining room and the narrow walkways on the deck.
Since 1921, after the introduction of quotas, immigration to the USA began to regulate. That is, it was not such as on the Titanic, where the lower decks were filled with poor, sailing over the ocean in search of a better life.
Now travel second class petty bourgeoisie, doctors, professors, etc. Soon he was renamed “tourist class”, pre-mass tourism.
Tender for decoration
In the nineteenth century, steamers were an unpleasant place, in close quarters, suffering from sea-sickness, the passenger wasn’t easy. In the XX century, thanks to technological innovations sea travel becomes “fun”. The ships are transformed into palaces and museums, for the decoration of which is carried out tenders.
Each country has its own style. So, the Germans prefer the fancy Baroque, in the dining room of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Other manufacturers in the premium marble, Greek capitals, the style of Louis XV, Queen Anne and Italian Renaissance. But just more refined look of the French ships, the interior is decorated in art Deco style, combining aristocratic and characteristic minimalism.
The French know a lot about beautiful life. Their “Ile-de-France” embodied the celebration of life: the best cuisine and champagne by the river, unlike American courts, where there was a ban on alcohol. Vivid entertainment, funny situations and all sorts of extravagantly abound in the history of this transatlantic legends.
Case of life: one impoverished aristocrat without a ticket got on the “Ile de France”. He secretly slept in the room reserved for dogs. But as they say, money comes and goes, but manners remain – one evening he was invited to dinner at the table captain.
Another one: the sea pitching and high society wants to dance? No problem: to stabilize the ship in the sea has poured out several tons of oil. What is our life? – Have fun!
Ship of light
The liner “Normandie” not the biggest, but the most beautiful ship of all time, starting with his start to water in 1935. His dining room was comparable to the Versailles gallery. With a length of 96 meters, it was decorated with 38 glass lamps, five feet tall each, which were painted by famous jeweler Rene Lalique.
This boat was called “ship of light”, for its design were invited to the best French decorators who managed to successfully combine classicism and modernity. The walls were covered with Algerian onyx, monumental doors were made of gilded bronze, and gold lacquered panels, painted by the jeweler from the house of Christofle Jean Dunant.
On the photo: legendary dining room “Normandie”
Unfortunately, until the present day these ships are a work of art did not survive. “Normandie” burned in the port of new York in 1942. And the old man “Ile de France” was sunk in 1959 for the needs of the Hollywood film “Panic on Board”.
To get an idea of the splendor of that era, being in France, visit the beautiful Museum ship Escal Atlantic in Saint-Nazaire, home of the largest passenger ships in the world. And you will see the first class of a prestigious liner like the one where was found one day, Marlene Dietrich and Hemingway.
Luxury cruises today
Nowadays, it is possible to find a more affordable cruises. However, now companies offer special conditions for wealthy passengers. The liner “Queen Mary II” from the venerable Cunard still connects Southampton to new York in eight days. So now it is possible to recover towards the New World across the ocean like in the old days of luxury art Deco style.
However, now there are many ports where you will not be able to get an ocean giant, these locations are accessible to small vessels. Company Regent Seven Seas, Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, and Paul Gauguin made these cruises are my thing. When the cruise commit in the pursuit of luxury, speed or secular parties, and in order to be closer to the sea to recover a sense of travel, to combine service and research.
Also there are several European companies. Hapag Lloyd sailing to Antarctica and its icebergs. The cruise departs from Ushuaia to Rio de Janeiro and lasts nineteen days, and costs 12 Euro 950 per person.
There is a more budget option: the company Lyrial offers to investigate Antarctica 6 324 Euro.
The French company Ponant offers an elegant yacht (32 cabins and 32 crew members, a maximum of 64 passengers) to stay as close as possible to the sea. One of the routes – a two-week cruise along the desert lands of Alaska and Canada, is from 9 080 euros. There are also 5-star polar expeditions and cruises to watch for whales.