A few weekends ago I visited the Ocean Liners: Speed and Style exhibit at the V & A Museum, London. The museum website described it as “Experience a unique journey through the design stories of the world’s greatest ocean liners, including the Titanic, Normandie, the Queen Mary and the Canberra, and find out how these impressive vessels helped shape the modern world.” It is running presently until June 17th 2018.
I wanted to visit the exhibit after going on two cruises, and thought it would be an interesting subject, with lots of history. The exhibit was much quieter and more adult friendly. There was more space, and didn’t feel like you had to rush.
It started off with lots of posters advertising cruises and the ships back in the day, there was also an old black and white video, and models of ships.
The next few rooms were all actual items from past cruises and ships. Doors, furniture, carpets, vases etc. All with the signage next to it, saying the ship and year, with a little information.
On a cruise, you realise how tasteful everything is, and it was back in the day – maybe even more so. Some of them were so glamorous – and they sold it that way!
On ships, they had the classes broken up into different sections of the ship. The first class lounge had prime location – mid ship, on a higher deck, as if it was bad weather – this is the best place to be.
There was a room dedicated to the engine and mechanics. This room was dark and painted black so it gave you the feeling of being lower down on a ship.
The best part was the ‘Life on board’ section, there was a big screen showing the sea with a railing to give you the impression you was on the ship! There were mannequins showcasing staff uniforms, and the swimming wear from old times. There was even a deck chair from the titanic!
They had videos showing, with the room broken into smaller sections – so the cabin rooms, dining, fashion etc. Lots of pieces to look at.
The last room had an actual piece of The Titanic in – and even more surprisingly it was the first time it had been back in Europe since it had set sail! There was also a short video clip with movies/films with ships featured, one was Titanic by James Cameron. It just makes me feel instantly sad!
Overall, I enjoyed the exhibit and would recommend if you was interested in the good old days of luxury cruise ships and liners, and like learning about the history of them. We went on a Saturday, and I booked the tickets about an hour before going, so it’s not too busy.