Wednesday evening, April 10th, 1912 - The White Star Liner R.M.S. "Titanic" arrives at Cherbourg, France, her first port of call on her maiden voyage. It is near dusk as the new White Star tender "Nomadic" draws along side to discharge additional First Class passengers and mail from the Continent. Among those board this night; John Jacob Astor and his new wife, Benjamin Gugenheim and Molly Brown, who would later become famous as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown".
The second White Star tender Traffic carrying the Third Class passengers and mail also discharges it human cargo on board Titanic. Just over 120 passengers are embarking to begin their voyage to the new world in hopes of a better life.
Titanic is ablaze with light. This wonderful and mighty ocean liner is, perhaps, the grandest object ever seem by these hopeful immigrants. They gaze in wonder at this magnificent vessel as they board her from the tender.
After a hurried inspection of their tickets. they are escorted to their accommodations on board. Single men are sent forward on E and F-decks to their cabins in the bow of the ship. They are just above the waterline but, these clean white painted rooms are far better than anything they have lived in before. Each cabin can hold up to eight men in bunks with clean white linen and bedspreads bearing the White Star Line logo.
The single women and married couples with children are directed to the after sections of the ship. Their quarters are spread out over four decks. In cabins that can accommodate from four to eight people. While Spartan with little in the way of frills these cabins are spotlessly clean and confortable.
There were many bathrooms located nearby with tubs baths and showers. Something unheard of by many of them. Stewards were at their service to answer any questions. The biggest question being “where do we eat?”
They are directed to the two large dining rooms mid-ship on F-deck. This large and airy space could accommodate well over 400 people in each identical room. White painted wood walls. Large travel posters and pictures of other White Star vessels adorned the walls. Bench seating at long tables set with fresh white linens and napkins! Even real fine china with the White Star logo on each piece awaited these eager and hungry passengers after their long journey.
A long train ride from Paris, included in the price of their ticket and a longer than expected wait pier side for the arrival of Titanic due to a near collision upon her departure from Southampton. The arrival time in Cherbourg was put back nearly two hours.
This collision was considered a bad omen by many of the Titanic’s crew and a few of her passengers who watched in horror as the scene unfolded before their eyes. The effect of Titanic’s huge bulk in the shallow waters of Southampton had caused a tremendous suction on the laid up American Line ship, New York causing her to snap her mooring lines and follow the Titanic down the harbor!
Quick thinking of the tugboat crews quickly averted a collision as the erstwhile New York was rounded up and taken in tow to a new berth.
Captain Smith on Titanic’s bridge must have felt the reoccurrence of a bad memory. Just the past year while in command of Titanic’s older sister ship Olympic, the same incident occurred while the ship was sailing in restricted waters of Southampton. The suction of the Olympic had drawn the smaller dreadnaught H.M.S. Hawke into her side causing severe damage to both ships.
Clearly, lessons were not learned and only the quick response of the tugs and the commands of the harbor pilot to reverse Titanic’s screws averted another disastrous collision.
Well, all that was behind them now. Titanic sat before them in all her splendid glory. And, most importantly, this was the beginning of a grand new adventure. Seven days on the largest most magnificent ocean liner ever conceived by the hand of man. The largest moving object in the world. And dinner awaits!
"Titanic" would sail over night to arrive at her second port of call, Queenstown. Ireland the following day.