We have all looked and marvelled at the new holiday cruise liners, particularly QM2 and the monolith Queen of the Seas. They are more alike floating shoe boxes for my liking, but if you take closer look at them they all bare a closer resemblance to Victorian engineering than one might think.

White Star Line was the great innovators of their age. They introduced swimming pools and lower-level promenade decks: cleared the decks of sails and was first to supply running water and electric light to every cabin. In an age at sea that was ruled by austerity, White Star Line was the true trendsetter of fashion of their day.

Their famously created ‘steerage’ class, which saw the cabin passengers decamped amidships to afford them smoother passage. Full width saloons and improved ventilation and light throughout – gleaming white and made to look as bright and as large as possible. And then of course there is the hull’s 10-in-1 standard. It is all thanks to White Star the fusty old days of sea travel is a relic of the past. The trail blazed by White Star in the Victorian age both technically and stylistically has left us the great ocean palaces we see today.

Innovation that has ceded sails for space. Machinery for comfort. So when we travel on the ocean titans of today we owe a lot more to the past we may care to give credit. Like it or not, the legacy of the Titanic’s ill-fated owners remains as relevant and indelible in sea travel today.