First Class on R.M.S. Majestic
A solid, opulent elegance marks the Majestic's great public rooms and perfect private apartments, while the daily life of an ocean voyage on the super-liner de luxe goes on in a social atmosphere reflecting in essence the polite manners of bright Continental cities.
As their 56,000 ton flagship at the head of 'The Magnificent Trio', the White Star Line showed little restraint in emphasizing the splendor and comfort of Majestic's First Class accommodation throughout their advertising. Extended over the area of 400 eight-room houses, her accommodations served to maintain the highest luxury, setting her clearly apart from the generally more modest forms of the 'Cabin' class era.
The First Class Smoking Room was located at the forward end of the Sun Deck (Deck A), reached from the Promenade Deck (Deck B) below from the sweeping forward-staircase. Perhaps the best location for observation anywhere aboard ship, the room's large front windows provided passengers with stunning views over the bow and the sea ahead. The decorative scheme of this spacious room was based upon the great halls of Tudor mansions. The walls were panelled in carved English oak and hung with large paintings. A rafter ceiling was supported by oak panelled pillars and the decorative frieze surrounding the room was hung with the arms of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge universities. Turning back towards the entrance, passengers would directly face an imposing stone fireplace complete with a real log-burning fire. Models of English crusaders dressed in chain mail sat on either side of the fireplace overlooking the large settees beneath. The room was furnished with heavy oak and mahogany tables accompanied by leather-covered chairs. Stained glass designs adorned the inner panels of the windows and doors. This impressive apartment created the atmosphere of an exclusive private members' club and it was principally used by gentleman for smoking, drinking, and playing cards.
Located forward of the Lounge and directly beneath the Smoking Room was the Drawing Room, sometimes also referred to as the 'Library' or 'Reading & Writing Room'. This apartment was decorated in an 18th century style reminiscent of the stylistic features of Wedgwood porcelain. Its walls and ceiling were decorated with delicate plaster detailing which was painted in ivory white and soft blue tones. The wall panelings were decorated with large paintings and the room was furnished with plush armchairs, settees, and library chairs in the Queen Anne style.
Forward of the Lounge on the Majestic is the Reading and Writing Room, combining the quiet of a library with the elegance of a drawing-room [...] much favored by passengers seeking more seclusion than is found in the Lounge or Palm Court.
White Star Line Brochure; "Majestic: The World's Largest Ship"; circa 1922
Large individual writing desks were provided around the Drawing Room, supplied with a plentiful supply of stationary and writing paper. The room was also fitted with large glass-fronted bookcases from which an extensive number of books could be browsed and borrowed by passengers. Lighting was provided by tall floor-standing lamps fitted with blue silk shades as well as small frosted glass light fittings on the ceiling. Natural light was provided by the large windows, providing views out onto the enclosed promenade deck. The overall impression of the room was like an elegant drawing room or library in a private mansion.
This splendid apartment of fine panelling, paintings, luxurious furniture and tall windows, holds the intimate dignity of a room of distinction in some famous mansion ashore.
First Class Palm Court
The lofty heights of Majestic's First Class public apartments continued aft on the Promenade Deck (Deck B) through the foyer into the Palm Court. This large room was located forward of the Á La Carte Reataurant and connected to it by a wide staircase, creating a sweeping view through both rooms. The ivory white ceiling of this room was supported by imposing plaster Corinthian pillars. The entire apartment was exceptionally bright and airy. It was decorated with great palms and furnished with cane seating arranged intimately around small tables. The windows extended almost the full height of the ceiling and were draped in light muslin fabric. After-dinner coffee was served in this room both for the connecting Restaurant and the main Dining Saloon. During the day, the Palm Court served as a winter garden where passengers could while after the afternoon in conversation or take light refreshments.
Broad windows looking directly on the sea admit the sun to a paved apartment that is furnished like a summer garden.
The First Class Dining Saloon was located on F-deck. Like most of Majestic's principal public rooms, it was an extremely spacious room with noticeable height and airiness. The room could seat six-hundred-and-fifty-four diners (1928) at tables accommodating anything from two to eight persons. Dining was arranged across a single deck but the room extended in height into a lofty open-well above the middle of the room. This central hall was supported by a series of imposing Ionic pillars which extended into large archways surrounding the room, creating a gallery on the upper-deck. A musicians platform was fitted at the aft end of the gallery from which the ship's orchestra played for the benefit of the passengers dining below. The gallery was fitted with green metal balustrades and surrounded with generously sized curved windows allowed additional lighting to enter the room from the adjoining corridors.
The impression is irresistibly that of the banquet hall of a great hotel. The dining saloon of the "Majestic" has indeed the distinction of being the most lofty room of its kind on shipboard.
The grandeur and spaciousness of the Majestic's public apartment were no less pronounced in her leisure facilities. Her Swimming Baths were located in a double-height apartment entered from the main foyer forward of the First Class Dining Saloon. Evoking the atmosphere of Roman baths, this apartment was decorated in a Pompeian style using a series of rich marbles and elegant red mosaics. The room was supported by impressive Doric columns whilst the gallery on the upper-level was surrounded by green metal banisters topped with gold handrails. Passengers entered the Swimming Baths from the upper-deck and descended to the pool level down a sweeping staircase. The lower landing of the staircase was adorned with an impressive water fountain carved from white marble.
Lake Nemi's Imperial galleys in their first beauty could not have outvied the colourful freshness and luxurious equipment of "Magestic's" Swimming Bath .... so light, so cool, so airy, that almost you may preserve the illusion of the out-door "dip".