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Ocean liner

From Academic Kids

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The ocean liner Rex of the Italian Line

An ocean liner is a large passenger ship, most typically a motorized vessel that undertakes longer voyages on the open sea primarily for the purpose of transporting people from one place to another. Very large liners are knowns as superliners.

The name 'liner' derives from 'Ship of The Line'. A liner was a major warship capable of taking its place in the Royal Navy's tactical 'Line of Battle' of the sailing era.

Ocean liners were the primary mode of intercontinental travel for over a century, from the mid-19th century to the 1960s, when they were finally supplanted by airliners.

In the "Golden Age" of ocean liners in the early part of the 20th century, many offered extremely luxurious travel for a wealthy few; although even the finest ships carried large numbers of poorer passengers in cramped quarters on the lower decks. Older ships were often given over to carrying immigrants at low prices.

The most notorious liner was the Titanic, infamous for sinking on her maiden voyage from Britain to the USA in 1912. The RMS Lusitania was also lost in 1915 to a German submarine during World War 1 while on passge from the USA to Britain. The worst disaster was the loss of the RMS Lancastria in 1940 off St Nazaire (France) to German bombing with the loss of over 3,000 lives. The Cunard Line's Mauretania of 1907 was widely considered the finest of all the liners of its generation, and in decades following many had a similar devotion to the SS Normandie.

After the 1960s collapse of the passenger ship business, many ocean liners continued in use as cruise ships; as of 2003, a small number are still in service. A few more, such as Queen Mary, are still afloat but permanently docked and used for other purposes (see museum ship). Notable liners still in service include the colossal Cunard RMS Queen Mary 2, replacing the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 which has been retired to service as a cruise ship.

See also: List of ocean liners

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