Ocean Liners

Ocean Liners: Getting there is half the fun!

Images of four ocean liners from the RIBA Collections

Prior to the arrival of the “jet age” and, in particular, the commercial success of the Boeing 707 “airliner” ocean liners were the dominant mode of transport between continents not only carrying passengers but freight and mail. Today only Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) continues that line’s advertising slogan of “Getting there is half the fun!” Indeed the QM2 is now the sole ship in service as an ocean liner albeit not exclusively as she is also used as a cruise ship.

Ocean liners and cruise ships are actually different types of vessels. Ocean liners have regular ocean going routes and being built for the open oceans tend to be stronger, faster and sleeker. In comparison cruise ships tend to be much boxier being largely designed to cruise around the calmer sailing conditions of sheltered waters.

Only a handful of ocean liners now survive, including the SS Great Britain (1843), RMS Queen Mary (1934), SS United States (1951), SS Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 (1967) as well as a couple, MV Astoria (built as the Stockholm, 1946) and MS Marco Polo (1964), now plying their trade as cruise liners.

Illustrated here are a number of photographs and drawings of ocean liners from the RIBA Collections including several with interior designs by renowned architects including those for the RMS Queen Elizabeth by the designer of the RIBA headquarters, George Grey Wornum.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace.

SS Normandie
Ocean Liners

SS Normandie

Click on the image above to go to the Normandie gallery.

RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II
Ocean Liners

Orion & Orcades II

Click on the image above to got to go to the Orion & Orcades gallery.

SS Oriana
Ocean Liners

SS Oriana

Click on the image above to go to the Oriana gallery.

108601 items
RIBA4183St Mary, Stratford-le-Bow, Stratford, London: reconstruction following war damage

 
RIBA4184Abbaye du Thoronet, Le Thoronet

 
RIBA4185Bridget Riley and John Weeks with Riley's murals, St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London


RIBA4187St Antony's College, Oxford: hall and common rooms

 
RIBA4188St Antony's College, Oxford: dining hall

 
RIBA4194Palau d'Esportes Sant Jordi, Barcelona


RIBA4195Selfridges department store, Bull Ring, Birmingham: the glazed entrance

 
RIBA4196Cover of journal Tee-Square & Tape, January 1928

 
RIBA4197Southside Halls of Residence, Imperial College, Kensington, London


RIBA4199Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Stuttgart: entry of pedestrian route ramp from entrance level into rotunda

 
RIBA4200Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Stuttgart: detail of support of theatre arch

 
RIBA4202Department of the Environment, Marsham Street, Westminster, London


RIBA4203Banking hall, Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank), Vienna

 
RIBA4204Banking hall, Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank), Vienna

 
RIBA4205Banking hall, Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank), Vienna


RIBA4206Banking hall, Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank), Vienna, showing doors and air ventilation units

 
RIBA4207City Library, Stockholm: the central reading room

 
RIBA4208City Library, Stockholm: the central reading room


RIBA4209City Library, Stockholm: the staircase to the central reading room

 
RIBA4210Goetheanum, Dornach

 
RIBA4211Goetheanum, Dornach: handrail detail


RIBA4212Goetheanum, Dornach: the main auditorium seen from the stage

 
RIBA4213Goetheanum, Dornach: detail of the southwest facade

 
RIBA4214Goetheanum, Dornach


RIBA4215LF1 pavilion, Weil am Rhein

 
RIBA4216LF1 pavilion, Weil am Rhein

 
RIBA4217LF1 pavilion, Weil am Rhein


RIBA4218LF1 pavilion, Weil am Rhein: ramp detail

 
RIBA4219LF1 pavilion, Weil am Rhein

 
RIBA4220Eduard Muller Crematorium, Hagen


RIBA4221Eduard Muller Crematorium, Hagen: the chapel

 
RIBA4222Eduard Muller Crematorium, Hagen: the rear facade

 
RIBA4223Eduard Muller Crematorium, Hagen