Cunard Line emerged from the First World War with a shortage of intermediate-sized vessels to service a number of key routes. The company had lost a significant number of ships during the war including a trio of newly constructed 'A' liners Andania, Alaunia, and Aurania. Cunard understood the necessity of engaging in an extensive post-war building program which would include eleven moderately sized vessels between 13,000 grt and 20,000 grt. Six of these comprised the new "A"-Class ships built for the Liverpool-Montreal-Quebec and Liverpool-New York routes. R.M.S. Andania (II), built by Armstrong Whitworth of Newcastle, was the first of these ships to enter service on 1st July 1922. She was soon joined by her two sisters R.M.S. Antonia and R.M.S. Ausonia, creating the initial 1922 'batch' of "A"-class liners The good sense in building these ships was demonstrated by their popularity with passengers. The three ships were among the first to introduce the 'Cabin Liner' concept, being designed to cater for approximately 400 Cabin Class and 1,000 Third Class passengers.
Despite lacking the greater luxuries of their larger fleet-mates, the ships developed a well-deserved reputation for comfortable and spacious accommodation. The ships played a crucial role in establishing cabin class travel on the North Atlantic as well as recovering Cunard's fortunes in the Canadian trade. In 1927, Cunard responded to the decline in immigrant travel to Canada by re-configuring the ships into a three class arrangement of Cabin, Tourist-Third and Third Class. They were reconverted to two-class vessels in 1939. The three sisters saw honourable service during the Second World War, principally as armed merchant cruisers. Andania sank after being hit by a German submarine aproximately 70 miles South of Reykjavík, Iceland on 16th June 1940. Whilst her two younger sisters survived the war, they never returned to commercial service. Antonia was scrapped in 1948 whilst Ausonia served her final days as a repair ship in Malta until 1964. She was finally laid up in Portsmouth and scrapped in 1965.
The first three 'A'-Class liners developed a reputation for the quality of their Cabin Class accommodations. With wide decks, beautifully decorated public rooms, and spacious, well-appointed public rooms, they represented the best of the new style of post-war intermediate liners.
Initially conceived with the expectation of continuing immigration to Canada, the need for extensive Third Class accommodations declined by the late-1920s. Tourist-Third Cabin was added from 1927 to bridge the gap in this changing market