Kronprinzessin Cecilie

1907 - 1940

Norddeutscher Lloyd line

From The Great Ocean Liners:

When the war broke out she was in the middle of the Atlantic heading for Germany. By accident, the ship carried a load of gold and silver at an immense value. The commanding officer, Captain Pollack, realised what danger of confiscation his ship would encounter if he was to trick his way into the Baltic Sea. In mid-ocean he decided to turn his ship back towards the still neutral United States. In order not to expose the vessel to any risks he asked for volunteers to better his all-buff funnels with a black top. If a British ship would spot a four-stacker with buff black-topped funnels, he might mistake the Kronprinzessin Cecilie for the British White Star Line’s Olympic. Some of the passengers were furious about going back to America, and a couple of American millionaires even offered to buy the ship so she could hoist the American flag and safely enter delicate European waters. Others were pleased with participating in this ‘adventure’. The cunning Pollack reached the American coast without any problems and docked in safe Bar Harbor, Maine. If no Englishman had had the opportunity of being fooled by the Kronprinzessin Cecilie’s new colours, the residents of Bar Harbor was astonished to see ‘the Olympic’ be anchored outside the tiny port.
The British knew about the Kronprinzessin Cecilie’s load and now wondered where she had gone. The inhabitants of Bar Harbor had telegraphed New York and asked about the Olympic. They were told that she was safely berthed at her ordinary Pier 59, and when the British authorities received the news they realised that the ‘second Olympic’ was none other than the Kronprinzessin Cecilie - now out of their reach. A week after her arrival in Bar Harbor, the ship was escorted to Boston where she and the crew were interned. The Kronprinzessin Cecilie remained in the United States since the Germans thought it was a safe place for one of their latest merchant achievements.
Unfortunately for the Germans, they were wrong. In 1917, the Americans entered the war on the British side. All German ships in American harbours were confiscated. This included the enormous 54,000-tonner Vaterland, the Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Kronprinz Wilhelm - and the Kronprinzessin Cecilie.