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Canadian Pacific’s RMS EMPRESS OF JAPAN

Canadian Pacific’s RMS EMPRESS OF JAPAN

  • In 1930 the Canadian Pacific’s trans-pacific service reached its zenith with the introduction of the magnificent RMS Empress of Japan.
  • The only way to cruise the Pacific during the 1930s.

  • She was a very handsome ship and had magnificent interiors that now are associated with the Empress liners of the Canadian Pacific.


  • This mighty ship was delivered to Canadian Pacific in Liverpool and sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Quebec on the 14th of July 1930. From Quebec, she sailed to Southampton.

EMPRESS OF JAPAN departing Vancouver – 1938…

  • On the 12th of July 1930, she sailed from Southampton bound for Hong Kong via the Suez Canal to begin her transpacific services.

  • On the 7th of August 1930, she set off on her first trans-pacific crossing from Hong Kong to Vancouver via Yokohama and Honolulu.
  • Some of the notable guests onboard included HM The King of Siam. During her maiden trans-pacific voyage, she set a new speed record for the route from Yokohama to Vancouver.


Over the next nine years, the Empress of Japan made 58 round trips from Vancouver to Yokohama and Shanghai (via Honolulu) during which time the American and Japanese competition could never match her speed.

  • During this heyday, she was the undisputed champion of the trans-pacific service. She was the flagship of the trans-pacific service, like the famous RMS Empress of Britain was for their transatlantic service. Sadly this came to an end when the Second World War started in September 1939.

At the time the Empress of Japan was in Shanghai. Due to suspicions about Japanese intentions, Canadian Pacific ordered her to sail straight back to Victoria in British Colombia via Honolulu.

There like many other ocean liners she was converted for use as a troopship during the Second World War and gave sterling service.

  • In October 1942 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill (the British Prime Minister) personally ordered that the Empress of Japan should be renamed as Empress of Scotland. She carried this name for the rest of her Canadian Pacific career.

After the war she was transferred to the Atlantic service from Liverpool, replacing the Empress of Britain, which had been lost. Following the delivery of the post-war Empresses, she was sold to Hamburg Atlantic Line in 1957.

  • After substantial rebuilding into the more modern-looking two-funneled liner Hanseatic, services began between Cuxhaven, Havre, Southampton, and New York in July 1958. The Hanseatic was badly damaged by fire in New York on 7th September 1966. She was towed to Hamburg, but considered unsuitable for repair and scrapped.
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