1938 – 1945 / Sprung from the Nazi scheme ‘Kraft durch Freude’, the Wilhelm Gustloff was built to offer German workers affordable cruises, keeping them happy and productive. Sadly, the ship’s name is today linked with tragedy, as she was sunk with enormous loss of life in the final days of World War II.
1938 – 1974 / Although heralded as ‘The Ship of Peace’, the lovely Nieuw Amsterdam would go on to serve as a troop transport in World War II. After the war, she went back to civilian service, and enjoyed a long and prosperous career with the Holland-America Line.
1939 – 1947 / Another ship of the ‘Kraft durch Freude’ project, the Robert Ley did not see much use as a cruise ship before World War II broke out. Utilised mainly as an accommodation ship, she was bombed in the port of Hamburg in the spring of 1945 and sent for demolition once the war was over.
1939 – 1965 / Part of a new breed of Cunarders, the second Mauretania saw just a few months of service before being called up for use as a troop transport. After the war, she had a prosperous career doing crossings and cruises, but was eventually sold for scrap when passengers abandoned liners in favour of air travel.