Kronprinzessin Cecile was the fourth and
last four stacker built for the North German Lloyd
Line. The other three were, Kaiser Wilhelm Der
Grosse launched in 1897, Kronprinzessin
Wilhelm 1901 and her near identical sister ship
Kaiser Wilhelm 1903. These four ships were
built for the Atlantic run to compete against the
White Star Line’s ‘Big Four’ and
the Hamburg Amerika Line’s three large
The Cunard line had failed to match these ships
until their two 31,500-ton liners Lusitania
and Mauretania entered service late in
Kronprinzessin Cecilie set out on her
maiden voyage from Bremen - New York July 6th 1907.
The emergence of this ship gave the North German
Lloyd Line the four-large/fast liners they wanted for
their Atlantic express service.
At the outbreak of World War One,
Kronprinzessin Cecilie was steaming from
America - Germany carrying a cargo of gold and
silver. Fearing capture by the British, her captain
took the decision to turn back to neutral America.
The US Authorities seized Kronprinzessin
Cecilie a few weeks later with the intentions
of interring her at Boston until the conflict came to
After America entered the war in 1917,
Kronprinzessin Cecilie and the two remaining
Hamburg Amerika Line’s four stackers were
seized by the US Shipping Board to serve as
troopships. Their other four stacker Kaiser
Wilhelm Der Grosse had been sunk off the west
coast of Africa in 1914 by the British cruiser
Kronprinzessin Cecilie was mainly used for
transporting US troops to Europe under the name
Mount Vernon. While returning to America
loaded with wounded servicemen in 1918, a German
submarine succeeded in hitting her with one torpedo.
Although the blast killed 37 people, her crew managed
to contain the damage until they reached America.
The end of the war saw Mount Vernon laid up
at Chesapeake Bay alongside her sister ship Kaiser
Wilhelm 11. Both ships remained at Chesapeake Bay
until their scrapping at Baltimore in 1940.