It was an age of evolution, when size and speed were almost the ultimate considerations. `Bigger was said to be better' and ship owners were not exempted from the prevailing mood. While the German four-stackers of 1897-06 and then Cunard's brilliant Mauretania & Lusitania of 1907 led the way to larger and grander liners. White Star Line countered by 1911 with the Olympic, her sister Titanic and a near-sister, the Britannic. The French added the France while Cunard took delivery of the beloved Aquitania. But the Germans won out -- they produced the 52,000-ton Imperator and a near-sister, the Vaterland, the last word in shipbuilding and engineering prior to the First World War. They and their sister, the Bismarck, remained the biggest ships in the world until 1935.
But other passenger ships appear in this decade - other Atlantic liners, but also ships serving on more diverse routes: Union Castle to Africa, P&O to India and beyond, the Empress liners on the trans-Pacific run. We look at a grand age of maritime creation, ocean-going superlative, but also sad destruction in the dark days of the First War. It was, in all ways, a fascinating period.