With Cunard planning to build two super
liners that would eclipse all other ships
at that time, they were unsure whether or
not to use the new turbine engines in
these ships. This led to Caronia
and her sister ship Carmania being
fitted with the two different types of
engines. Caronia entered service
first with the tried and tested
reciprocating piston engines that powered
most other ships at that time. She set
out on her maiden voyage from Liverpool -
New York February 25th 1905. This
crossing was completed averaging a
reasonable speed of 18 knots.
Carmania’s maiden voyage in
December of that year showed the new
turbine engines could be operated at
higher speeds and were more economical to
run. The outbreak of World War One in
1914 led to Caronia being
requisitioned by the British Admiralty to
serve as an armed merchant cruiser.
Caronia’s first success in
that new role came when she captured the
German cargo ship Odessa on her
Her next wartime deployment was to
Halifax so she could patrol the waters
off the New York coast. With these
patrols being uneventful, the Admiralty
had her returned to Britain in 1915 for
conversion to a troopship. Caronia
was then used to transfer servicemen from
Halifax - Liverpool until the end of the
war. The months following the German
surrender saw her take part in the
repatriation of Canadian servicemen.
Caronia’s interiors then had
to be restored before Cunard began
operating her between the London -
Halifax and Liverpool - New York runs.
The depression of the 1920’s led to
Caronia undergoing a refit in 1926
to make her more suitable for cruising.
She was then operated between cruises out
of New York - Havana in winter and the
Liverpool - New York run in summer.
Cunard laid the aging Caronia up
at Sheerness/England after taking her out
of service in 1931. She set out for the
scrap yard at Osaka/Japan the following
year under the name Taisaiyo Maru.