Famous Four-Stackers: SS Deutschland (Hamburg-Amerika Line)
Second in line of the famous four-stackers was the Deutschland of Hamburg-Amerika Line, launched on January 10, 1900.
The battle for the Atlantic seaways was raging by the turn of the twentieth century. The British, Italian, French and German passenger shipping lines were waging all out war for having the largest, fastest and most luxurious liners. The Germans had two national lines.
The greatest competition for the North German Lloyd was the Hamburg-Amerika line, or HAPAG.
When the North German Lloyd debuted the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Hamburg-Amerika became envious. They insisted on showing the public that NDL (Nord-Deutscher Lloyd) was not the only German company with ambition. They began construction on their own superliner, to be called Deutschland, the word in German for Germany. The Deutschland was designed to be fast. In fact, she was the only liner built for speed in the HAPAG fleet. She was quick, and won the Blue Ribband award for record speed. She held this record for six years. However, her powerful engines created horrible vibrations. Her rattling so unnerved passengers, that she was re-engined with much less powerful machinery. After her refit, she began cruises instead of taking the transatlantic routes. At this time, she was painted white and renamed Victoria Luise.
After the failure of the S.S. Deutschland in regard to smooth operation under speed, HAPAG shifted their focus. They built new piers in Hoboken, New Jersey to accommodate new plans for a trio of monster liners soon to come.
After the Deutschland was a disappointment, her new life as one of the first cruise ships lasted for nearly twenty years. She often hosted German heads of state for naval reviews, and held the reputation of utter luxury. As the S.S. Deutschland, her passenger capacity was over two thousand. After she became the S.S. Victoria Luise, her capacity was less than five hundred. During the First World War, Victoria Luise sat idle in Germany due to operational issues. These engine difficulties caused her to be the only large German ship not to be handed over to the Allies for reparations after war. In 1921, she was rebuilt yet again and given a new name. Two of her funnels were removed and she became the S.S. Hansa. She served as an immigrant carrier for four more years. She was scrapped at Hamburg in 1925.