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Titanic First-class travel

With most of the top four decks reserved for their use only, the 329 first-class passengers sailed in lavish comfort. The luxury they enjoyed on land was duplicated on board, with each stateroom, cabin, public lounge, and dining room furnished to the highest and most opulent standards. A vast workforce of personal servants, stewards, bakers, cooks, and waiters catered to the passengers’ every whim. When not resting in their cabins, first-class travelers had the use of a gymnasium, a squash court, a swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a library, and a range of dining rooms, bars, and restaurants, as well as unlimited access to fresh air on the top decks.


With a personal wealth estimated at $87 million (£18 million) in 1912, Colonel John Jacob Astor IV was the wealthiest passenger on board. Recently divorced, the 46-year-old was returning to New York with his 18-year-old second wife, Madeleine, after their honeymoon in Egypt and Paris. Also traveling with them was their Airedale dog, Kitty.


Other than elegant plates, the first-class diners had use of 1,500 champagne glasses, 400 asparagus tongs, 100 pairs of grape scissors, 1,000 finger bowls, and 300 sets of nutcrackers.


This menu for the last luncheon served on board the Titanic shows the generous choice of dishes on offer. The first-class dining room had seating for more than 550 people, and recessed bays allowed small parties to dine in privacy.


The seven-course evening meal was the social highlight of the day. Women wore their finest new gowns from Paris; the men wore evening suits. After the meal, the more energetic passengers took to the dance floor, although dancing was not allowed on Sundays. Other men retired to the smoking rooms and women to the various lounges. Passengers who had overindulged could retire to the comfort of their cabins.


Every item of luggage was carefully labeled, either for delivery to the cabin or to be stored in the hold until disembarkation. The correct sorting of luggage was particularly important among first-class passengers since they often carried large quantities of belongings. Mrs. Charlotte Cardoza and her son, for example, traveled with 14 trunks, four suitcases, three crates, and a medicine chest.


The first-class staterooms (private cabins) were lavishly decorated and very spacious, particularly the two promenade suites on B deck. At a cost of $4,246 (£870) in 1912, the occupants of these staterooms had the use of a sitting room, two bedrooms, two dressing rooms, and a private bathroom, as well as a private deck for enjoying the sea air.


“My pretty little cabin with its electric heater and pink curtains delighted me… its beautiful lace quilt, and pink cushions, and photographs all round… it all looked so homey.”



The gymnasium situated off the boat deck on the starboard (right) side of the ship was fully equipped with rowing and cycling machines, weights, and other equipment to keep the first-class passengers in good shape.


A Moorish fantasy of enameled tiles, gilded decorations, and shaded bronze lamps, the Turkish baths contained hot, temperate, and cool rooms, a shampooing room, and a massage couch, as well as a plunge pool in which to cool off. The baths, like the gymnasium, had separate sessions for men and women.