THE CLASSES: HOPES AND DREAMS LOST AT SEA
The RMS Titanic was the greatest, most luxurious ship of its time. The ship was proclaimed “unsinkable” as God himself could not sink her.1 She was known as the “ship of dreams.”2 The passengers of the Titanic were so excited and proud to be sailing on such a great ship. They felt their dreams were finally coming true because they had managed to get a ticket on the greatest ship of its time, and were sailing to America where all their hopes of a new and better life would be. Just being on this magnificent ship would be the adventure of a lifetime. On April 10, 1912, a total of 2,222 people boarded the Titanic. The list of those aboard the Titanic included 325 in First Class, 285 in Second Class, 706 in Third Class, and 885 crew members.3
First Class included the wealthiest, most important members of the upper class. Most of them were “businessmen, politicians, high-ranking military personnel, industrialists, bankers and professional athletes.”4 How much they paid for their ticket depended on the size of their cabins.5 The cost of the cabins were approximately $2,500 dollars, and the most expensive rooms being around $103,000, but only the upper class could buy a First Class ticket. The First Class passengers were the passengers sailing for the “thrill of adventure”,6 and something that would make them seem important to others when they talked about it. First Class was total luxury with private dining rooms, reception room, restaurant, lounge, reading and writing room, smoking room, turkish baths, gyms, and squash courts. The grand staircase was the best feature of the ship. It was built through seven decks of the ship and had a dome glass top that showed natural light. The staircase led the way to the entrance halls like the First Class Reception Room7, the main meeting area for First Class. It was a very lavish way for those who wanted “to make an entrance.”8 The Titanic was built with the wealthy in mind. They were told it had the modern luxuries of a floating hotel. However, as they explored, they discovered luxuries not even known in palaces.9 Dining in First Class was also very luxurious. The expensive china was placed neatly on each table, while stewards waited on their every need and served them from a great menu. First Class aboard the Titanic was nothing more than pure luxury.
Second Class was the smallest group on the Titanic and was often referred to as the “leisure class.”10 A ticket in Second Class was approximately $60.00.11 The Second Class passengers were working people like professors, authors, clergymen and tourist. Many of these passengers were going to America for new jobs. Others were planning on making the return voyage on the Titanic. Second Class had their own dining room with less expensive china and music to entertain them. The cabins had either two or four beds, and were like the standard rooms in First Class but not as big or luxurious. Many Second Class passengers shared rooms to keep the cost low.12 The library was used by both men and women and also as a “tea room.” There was even an elevator which was unheard of for second class passengers. Second Class may not have been as luxurious at First Class, but the Second Class passengers where just as happy to be on this magnificent ship to begin their new dreams.
Third Class was the most interesting group. The ticket cost for this class was between $15.00 - $40.00. Tickets for Third Class could be purchased for individuals as well as for families which made it even cheaper. This group was mainly families immigrating to the United States from Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and England. Many of them sold everything they had to get tickets aboard the Titanic.13 Their accommodations were not luxurious, but were better than on most ships. There were cabins that slept two to ten…