Life on board Titanic is fascinating and it’s often hard to imagine the level of luxury and comfort that was provided to passengers traveling on board this remarkable vessel. Everything from the amazing accommodation standards to the meals served on board Titanic prove to be subjects that still capture the attention of audiences today.
A pioneer in Transatlantic travel, Titanic, wanted to cater to all levels of class to the best possible standard in an attempt to win business from competitors. Every passenger on board Titanic, from third class migrants to first class high society, was to be treated to a travel experience befitting or exceeding their social status.
The Three Class System
Introduced to transatlantic travel in 1900, the three-class system was created to accommodate those who benefited from the modern industrial movement responsible for creating the middle-class traveler.
Before the 1900s, first class or “cabin” and steerage were the only classes of travel.
Steerage, or what is to be considered 3rd class by 1900, comprised mainly of immigrants. These travelers simply expected a place to sleep and were often asked to prepare and bring their own food to last the journey.
Shipping lines moving between Europe and America often utilised the largely one-way immigrant traffic and the accommodation in third class would often be transformed into animal and cargo transport on the return journey.
Third class passengers were catered to exceptionally well on board Titanic when it came to dining and accommodation.
Specific dining and social areas were provided for them and included a piano for entertainment.
This was a welcome change from the old ways of third class travel where passengers served themselves or brought their own food and dined next to their bunks.
The middle-class or second class traveler simply couldn’t afford the luxury of first class travel but could no easier accept the low standards of steerage either. Thus, second class travel was born for the white-collar worker.
Rooms and dining standards were set to match those of popular hotels such as the grand and luxurious Hotel Cecil in London.
As a second class passenger on board Titanic, you could expect to enjoy a fine standard of food not dissimilar to that of the first class passengers, just with none of the fancy silver ware or extra courses.
Second class passengers had their own dining room on D deck complete with piano for entertainment, elegantly upholstered chairs, and oak paneled walls.
The main differences between the first and second class were finer details such as where passengers dined, what they slept upon or ate off of and which parts of the ship were available to them.
First class passengers on board Titanic had many choices on where they ate, including;
The first-class dining saloon decorated in the Jacobean style of the 1600’s
or the ultra trendy Café Parisien
Titanic pulled out all the stops for every class of traveler, providing only the very best of what could be expected on board a ship.
“New Money” dining
Before 1890, those who came from old money or high society families simply did not dine in public. Then along came modern industrialisation which made millionaires of those from humble backgrounds. At this point, the gentry could find themselves dining aside what was termed as “new money”, people who had acquired their wealth within their own generation.
In the early 1900’s in a first class dining establishment, a Duke could just as easily find himself dining next to a Marquess or a simple store clerk who struck it big in the mining industry.
The need for defining upper and lower first class became apparent as those with “new money” became more frequent hence The Restaurant was born.
Established for old money families and high society, The Restaurant was to be set aside for those who could not only afford it but for those too dignified to be seated next to someone who wasn’t born into their fortune.
Of course, “new money” passengers could still gain access by booking tables in advance but they were often treated with disdain or rudeness by the hosts who recognised their lower social status.
Ran by P.Luigi Gatti, an Italian restaurateur with several London establishments, The Restaurant was outfitted in the style of Louis XVI. With carved mahogany paneling and gold leaf detail. Servers and hosts were of Italian or French descent trained to the highest of culinary standards.
The Restaurant differed from the standard first class dining saloon, offering the highest of society travelers the finest food and most luxurious surroundings from which to enjoy it, set apart from the riff raff of “new money” first class passengers.
Marvelous menus for each class
The meals served on board Titanic were of the highest possible standard for each individual class.
Third class food was simple, plain but plentiful. Second class food matched the standard of the UK’s most luxurious hotels and restaurants and first class was simply a cut above the rest.
Interestingly, third class passengers traveling on board White Star’s early journeys were largely made up of chain migrants or first-time migrants to the US and around the time Titanic set sail there were a lot of Jewish travelers off to make a new life in America.
Titanic was among the first luxury cruise liners to find the need to cater largely to Jewish travelers and the growth in numbers of Jewish passengers on board White Star Liners meant a Kosher cook was necessary.
To satisfy concerns, a Rabbi was hired to specifically over see Kosher cooking in White Star kitchens, ensuring all silverware or food preparations utensils were labeled MEAT or MILK to qualify Kosher status remained intact.
There aren’t many menus that exist from the Titanic but those that do allow us to paint a picture of the type of meals served on board Titanic from the lower third class to the tippy top of the upper classes.
Heres what a typical daily meal service looked like for each class on board Titanic.
3rd Class meals on board Titanic
Breakfast – Oatmeal Porridge and Milk, smoked herrings, Jacket potatoes, Ham and eggs, Fresh bread and butter, Marmalade, Swedish Bread, Tea, and Coffee
Dinner – Rice Soup, Fresh Bread, Cabin biscuits, Roast Beef, Brown Gravy, Sweet Corn, Boiled potatoes, Plum pudding, Sweet sauce, fruit
Tea – Cold Meat, Cheese, Pickles, Fresh Bread & Butter, Steamed Figs & Rice, Tea
Supper – Gruel, Cabin Biscuits, Cheese
Third class passengers were given simple food in large supply.
Wholesome hearty meals were served to passengers in a dedicated dining hall.
Before Titanic, many passenger ships would have expected the lower classes to bring their own food and expect it to last an entire journey. To be served freshly prepared meals twice a day was a bonus on board Titanic. Third class passengers could enjoy a hearty breakfast, then the main meal served for dinner followed by a light supper and a later tea.
2nd Class meals on board Titanic
Breakfast – Fruit, Rolled Oats, Fresh Fish, Yarmouth Bloaters, Grilled Ox Kidneys & Bacon, American Dry Hash Au Gratin, Grilled Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Ham & Fried Eggs, Fried Potatoes, Vienne & Graham Rolls, Soda Scones, Buckwheat Cakes, Maple Syrup, Conserves, Marmalade, Tea, Coffee and Watercress.
Water cress was seen as an aid to digestion and after a breakfast buffet like that, we think it would definitely be needed.
Dinner – Consommé, Baked Haddock, Sharp sauce, Curried Chicken and Rice, Spring Lamb in Mint sauce, Roast Turkey with Cranberry sauce, Green Peas, Pureed Turnips, Boiled Rice, Boiled and Roast Potatoes, Plum Pudding, Wine Jelly, Coconut sandwiches, American ice cream, assorted nuts, Fresh fruit, Cheese and Biscuits and coffee.
An example of lunch menus cannot be found for second class passengers, and it is unknown whether passengers in second class were served their main meal around lunch with a light supper in the evening as in third class.
The menus for second class passengers resembled those served in upscale hotels. In the 1900s hotels became a popular place among socialising business people, and eventually, the younger fashionable high society guests would dine in hotels such as the Ritz or the Hotel Cecil in London.
Second class passengers were made up of those who could not afford first class tickets but were far beyond the means of those in third class quarters.
The differences between the meals served on board Titanic for second class did not differ that much from that in first, other than perhaps fewer courses and a wider choice of silverware on the table.
1st class or The Restaurant meals on board Titanic
Breakfast – Baked Apples, Fresh Fruit, Stewed Prunes, Quaker Oats, Puffed Rice, Fresh Herrings, Findon Haddock, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Mutton Kidneys & Bacon, Grillf Ham, Grilled Sausage, Lamb Collops, Vegetable Stew, Fired, shirred, Poached or Boiled Eggs, Plain or Tomato Omelettes (made to order), Sirloin Steak & Mutton Chops (made to order), mashed Sauteed or Jacket Potatoes, Cold Meat, Vienna & Graham Rolls, Soda & Sultana Scones, Corn Bread, Buckwheat Cakes, Blackcurrant Conserves, Narbonne Honey, Oxford Marmalade, Watercress
Luncheon – Consommé Jardinière, Hodge Podge, Fillets of Plaice, Beef Steak and Kidney Pie, Roast Surrey Capon
Grilled options – Mutton chops, mashed, fried & Baked Jacket Potatoes, Rice Pudding, Apples Manhattan, Pastry
Buffet – Fresh Lobsters, Potted Shrimps, Soused Herrings, Sardines, Virginia and Cumberland Ham, Bologna Sausage, Brawn, Galantine of chicken, Corned Ox Tongue, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese board.
1st course – Hors Oeuvre Varies, Oysters
2nd course – Consommé Olga, Cream of Barley
3rd course – Salmon, Mousseline sauce, Cucumbers
4th course – Fillet Mignons Lili, Sauté of Chicken Lyonnaise, Vegetable Marrow Farcis
5th course – Lamb, Meat Sauce, Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce, Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes, Green Peas, Creamed Carrots, Boiled Rice, Parmentier and Boiled New Potatoes.
6th course – Punch Romaine.
7th course – Roast Squab and cress
8th course – Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
9th course – Pate de Foie Gras, Celery
10th course – Waldorf pudding, Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly, Chocolate and Vanilla Eclairs and French Ice cream.
It was all about the first-class passengers on board Titanic. Guests were served elegant 10-course late evening meals in either the restaurant or the first-class dining saloon so a luncheon was prepared to tide first class diners over between breakfast and their late and lengthy dinner.
Luncheon could be served in the dining saloon, The Restaurant or the ultra trendy Cafe Parisien.
It’s safe to say that no matter which class you were traveling on board Titanic you were given the best of the best available. From the lower echelons of steerage right up to the Guggenheims, the Astors and all the “new money” on board, Titanic really was the ship of dreams.
If one did choose to dine in The Restaurant throughout the voyage there would be a rebate on ticket prices at the end of the journey.
As if the people who could afford to dine in there required a discount!
This practice had proved popular on board the Olympic and reports tell that it was a success on Titanic as well. Therefore the rebate service was rolled out among the most luxurious liners between 1910 and 1920 resulting in a comical story concerning a regular passenger’s daughter.
A gentleman arranged for his daughter to travel alone on a transatlantic voyage. He bartered the ticket for free from a shipping company he himself frequently traveled with. As the young lady was a true beauty she attracted the attention of a young male passenger who invited her to dine in The Restaurant throughout the journey. Here the couple enjoyed every meal on board together until the day they disembarked.
Dining alone on board the ship in The Restaurant on the final day of her journey the young lady was reminded to claim her ticket rebate for her meals. Handing over the rebate ticket for her daily meals in The Restaurant the young lady she was given a cash lump sum.
The company wrote the incident off as a lesson, finding it amusing and learned to not give cash bonuses to passengers who had already traveled for free!
Dining at 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic
Aside from the lack of a class system, Carpathia Champagne Bar and Restaurant provides guests the same level of sophistication and refinery that was experienced in first class on board Titanic.
Our menus are made up of the finest locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and include a wide selection of delicious dishes skilfully prepared with modern twists.
The restaurant décor mimics first-class dining halls on board luxury cruise liners and with amazing water, front views the dining experience of Carpathia is unmatched anywhere else in the city.
Come and gain an experience of what life on board Titanic might have been like at 30 James Street and stay in one of our Titanic themed hotel rooms and dine in the wonderful rooftop restaurant Carpathia.
Call our friendly team on 0151 601 8801 or email email@example.com to book your visit or check out our exclusive offers here.