Looking back at life on board RMS Titanic is truly fascinating. It’s often hard to imagine the level of luxury and comfort that was provided to passengers travelling on board this remarkable vessel. Everything from the opulent accommodation standard, to the amazing entertainment and the meals served on board Titanic prove to be subjects that still captures the imaginations of people today.
A pioneer in Transatlantic travel, RMS Titanic, ensured it catered to all classes. From third class migrants, to first class high society, meals served on board Titanic where representative or exceeded social status. This was a very clever move as not many large ships had this facility, this meant the Titanic won a lot of business from competitors.
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 traveller.
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 travellers were only looking for 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.
On Board The Titanic
In terms of dining and accommodation, third class passengers were catered to exceptionally well on board the Titanic. There were specific dining and social area provided which included a piano for meal time 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 traveller 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 the 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 silverware or extra courses. Second class passengers had their own dining room on D deck, complete with a piano for entertainment, elegantly upholstered chairs, and marvellous oak panelled walls.
The main differences between the first and second class on board the Titanic were finer details, such as where passengers dined, the quality of their bed, which parts of the ship were open to them and the quality of their dining facilities.
First class passengers on board RMS Titanic had many choices on where they ate. They essentially had the rule of the roost and could choose from dining in the first-class saloon, which was decorated in the Jacobean style of the 1600’s, to the luxurious restaurant or the ultra trendy Café Parisien. Each room had entertainment in the form of a live band.
A ship with a huge expectation, Titanic pulled out all the stops for every class of traveller, providing only the very best of what could be expected on board a luxurious ship.
“New Money” Dining
Before 1890, those who came from old money or high society families never dined 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 had struck it big in the mining industry. It was decided that within first class, there needed to be a upper and lower class as more and more passengers from ‘new money’ mixed with the old establishment. This was why 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.
The Restaurant was run by P.Luigi Gatti, an Italian restaurateur with several London establishments. It was designed and decorated in the style of Louis XVI, with carved mahogany panelling and gold leaf detail. Servers and hosts were always of Italian or French descent, trained to the highest culinary standards.
The Restaurant differed from the standard first-class dining saloon. It offered the highest level of society the finest food and the most luxurious surroundings, completely set apart from the riff raff of “new money” first class passengers.
Meals Served On Board Titanic
The meals served on board Titanic were of the highest possible standard for each individual class. Third class food was simple and 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 travelling 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 passengers, travelling to America.
Titanic was among the first luxury cruise liners to find the need to cater largely to Jewish travellers 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 preparation utensils were labelled MEAT or MILK to qualify Kosher status remained intact.
There aren’t many menus that exist from the Titanic, but those that do exist allow us to paint a picture of the type of meals served on board Titanic. From the lower third class to the top of the upper classes, take a look at what a typical daily meal service looked like for each class on board the Titanic.
Third Class Meals Served On Board Titanic
A third class passenger on board the Titanic were given simple food, but in large supply. Each meal was hearty and wholesome and was served to passengers in a dedicated dining hall.
Breakfast – Oatmeal Porridge and Milk, Smoked Herrings, Jacket Potatoes, Ham and Eggs, Fresh Bread and Butter, Marmalade, Swedish Bread, Tea & 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
Before the Titanic, many passenger ships would have expected the lower classes to bring their own food that would last an entire journey. So, the fact that meals served on board Titanic were twice a day and freshly prepared was a bonus. Third class passengers could enjoy a hearty breakfast, then the main meal served for dinner, followed by a light tea and supper.
Second Class Meals Served On Board Titanic
The menus for second class passengers resembled those served in upscale hotels. In the 1900’s, 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.
A second-class breakfast menu for on board the Titanic would have included dishes like this;
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.
Watercress was seen as an aid to digestion and after a breakfast buffet like that, it would definitely be needed!
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.
Dinner – Consommé Tapioca, Baked Haddock, Sharp Sauce, Curried Chicken & Rice, Spring Lamb in Mint Sauce, Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sauce, Green Peas, Puree Turnips, Boiled Rice, Boiled and Roast Potatoes, Plum Pudding, Wine Jelly, Coconut Sandwiches, American Ice Cream, Assorted Nuts, Fresh Fruit, Cheese and Biscuits & Coffee.
First Class Meals Served On Board Titanic
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. 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.
Breakfast – Baked Apples, Fresh Fruit, Stewed Prunes, Quaker Oats, Puffed Rice, Fresh Herrings, Findon Haddock, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Mutton Kidneys & Bacon, Grilled Ham, Grilled Sausage, Lamb Collops, Vegetable Stew, Fried, Shirred, Poached or Boiled Eggs, Plain or Tomato Omelettes, Sirloin Steak & Mutton Chops, 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 & Kidney Pie, Roast Surrey Capon
Grilled Options – Mutton Chops, Baked Jacket Potatoes, Rice Pudding, Apples Manhattan, Pastry
Buffet – Fresh Lobsters, Potted Shrimps, Herrings, Sardines, Virginia & Cumberland Ham, Bologna Sausage, Brawn, Galantine of Chicken, Corned Ox Tongue, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese Board.
Dinner- 1 st course – Hors Oeuvre Varies, Oysters, 2nd course – Consommé Olga, Cream of Barley, 3rd course – Salmon, Mousseline, 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 New Potatoes, 6th course – Punch Romaine, 7th course – Roast Squab and cress, 8th course – Asparagus Vinaigrette, 9th course – Pate de Foie Gras, Celery, 10th course – Waldorf pudding, Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly, Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs & French Ice cream.
It’s safe to say that no matter which class you were travelling 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.
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 and the meals served on board Titanic. Named after the heroic RMS Carpathia which rescued the 705 Titanic survivors in 1912, this luxurious restaurant is a fitting tribute to a fascinating story of bravery.
The restaurant décor mimics first-class dining halls on board luxury cruise liners and with amazing waterfront views, the dining experience of Carpathia is unmatched anywhere else in the city. Tuck into delicious food and sip on expertly mixed cocktails as you take in the stunning surroundings which are filled with original artefacts from the RMS Carpathia ship.
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 a la carte menu follows the style the meals served on board Titanic, with several courses and twists on traditional classics that they would have enjoyed on board. We also have an extensive wine and Champagne list so you can really make the most of your first class dining experience in the luxurious Carpathia Champagne Bar and Restaurant.
If dining at 30 James Street wasn’t enough, you can also book a stay at our hotel and really experience what life was like on board Titanic. Our hotel features a number of themed rooms, from luxurious Cabins, to Premier Quarters and The Presidential, each designed with pure luxury in mind. Every floor within the hotel has a different distinct theme a take on what third class would have been like, up to the upper classes of first and captains quarters.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to all the meals served on board Titanic. If you’d like to book a table in our restaurant or stay in the hotel, call our friendly team on 0151 601 5843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your visit or check out our exclusive hotel offers.
If you’d like to learn more about our historic hotel, follow our Facebook page and get regular updates on every happening, plus great historical blogs about the fascinating heritage of our hotel, like the amazing unique project that gives a glimpse into the stunning colourful interior of the ship.