Sailing day! On Wednesday April 10th, 1912, the Titanic would depart from Southampton to Cherbourg, then from Cherbourg to Queenstown, stopping at these places to pick up passengers and mail. Then from these different places to New York.
We can only imagine the excitement of the owners and the officers about to take the biggest ship in the world across the Atlantic for the first time. Lord Pierre would not be able to make this trip because of poor health. J.B. Ismay would go in his place, with the chief designer, Thomas Andrews.
The passengers were amazed at the size and luxury of the Titanic, one person said “we were just dazzled when we got on this big lovely boat, it seemed like a floating palace.” Third class accommodations were the same as second class aboard other ships, and second class was just as nice, if not nicer than first class on other ships, and first class was equal to the best hotels of the day. It was a class of it’s own, nothing else could compare to it.
Like the Olympic, the Titanic had carpet in most first class rooms, but one passenger who had sailed on the Olympic, and sailed on the Titanic’s first voyage said “the Olympic had fine carpet, but the Titanic ahhh, you sank up to your knees in it.”
Leaving Southampton and rounding a bend, the Titanic was traveling at a slow speed when she went by the New York (a small steamer) tied to her moors. The suction from the Titanic went by the liner and snapped the thick ropes like dry vines, whipping them into the face of the crowed that had gathered for the occasion. As the New York pulled closer, Captain Smith ordered astern all engines hoping to push the smaller liner away, but she was too close. Collision mats were hung over the side of the Titanic to soften any collision that might happen. Two tugs (Samson and Hercules) were able to hold the New York back. This misfortune caused the Titanic’s progress to be pushed back by an hour. This also caused commotion with the passengers. Would these new leviathans be too big to handle? Were they a hazard to other ships? This was the second time that Captain Smith had been on the bridge something like this had occurred.
Some said it was a bad omen for the ship!
When she was sailing down a river in Southampton on her maiden voyage the suction was so powerful that a barge that had sunk a while back, was dragged by the Titanic for 800 yards under the water.
Everything else was uneventful leaving Queenstown with the total number of crew and passengers being 2,340 people.
Unknown to the passengers there was a coalbunker fire raging in No. 6 where hundreds of tons of coal were stored. When the coal was being stored, it was not wetted down properly and thus caught fire. The stokers worked in 4-hour shifts trying to get the fire under control, but to no avail. It was said that when they reached New York that the bunkers would have to be emptied out and have fireboats help put out the fire. Sadly enough, the fire was put out the night it sank.
On leaving Queenstown, the Titanic departed, never to see land again. She bid farewell to the land where she was born. As she sailed away, she would take many to their premature deaths.
Her maiden voyage had begun!