History of Tourism – The first Cruise Ship, 1900

first cruise ship 1900
first cruise ship 1900

History of Tourism – First Cruise Ship 1900 | On a cold winter day Albert Ballin – Managing Director at HAPAG in Hamburg – had a brilliant idea. While watching his company’s flagship vessel ‘Augusta Victoria’ hibernating in the port, he forged a plan aiming a high return on investment. Many ships were largely unused during the winter season in Hamburg. Due to the cold stormy weather, travelers wisely avoided the otherwise busy North Atlantic route to America. Albert Ballin planned to bridge the gap with a 58-day leisure voyage from Hamburg to the Mediterranean Sea. This cruise would include pre-planned excursions ashore. The first voyage took place in 1899 and was a stunning success.

first cruise ship 1900
First cruise ship ever: ‘Prinzessin Victoria Luise’.

Next step: build a ship that better suits the new purpose. Ballin commissioned the German shipbuilding and engineering works ‘Blohm & Voss’ to do exactly this. On June 29, 1900 a ship was launched and christened ‘Prinzession Victoria Luise’ (named after Kaiser Wilhelm II’s daughter). She is credited with having been the first purpose-built cruise ship. ‘Prinzessin Victoria Luise’ left on her maiden voyage in January 1901 going Hamburg – Boulogne – Plymouth – New York.

But her life was short. She only served with HAPAG until Dezember 16, 1906 after being accidentally grounded off Jamaica. Captain Brunswig tried to anchor at Port Royal when he mistook a lighthouse at Plumb Point for that at the westernmost point of Port Royal. Heading the wrong direction at 26 km/h, the ship hit rocks at about 9:30 pm in the evening. The captain retreated to his cabin and shot himself. All passengers were rescued the following day. Inspection revealed major structural damage to frame and keel plates of ‘Prinzessin Victoria Luise’. Her engines had been displaced during impact. The ship was filled with 5 metres of water. She was declared a total loss.

first cruise ship 1900
‘Scientific American’ – a weekly journal of practical information, took a stroll inside the ship and published photos in a 1901 edition.

First cruise ship 1900. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | Read all our articles on the History of Tourism here:  | Beginning of Leisure Tourism 1844 | Beginning of Winter Tourism 1860 | First Cruise Ship 1900 | Sex Tourism since 1950s | Space Tourism since 2009 | Tourism in AntarcticaForgotten Tourist Destinations | Most popular Countries for Tourists