Ocean liners were the primary mode of intercontinental travel for over a century, from the mid-19th century to the 1960s, when they were finally supplanted by airliners.
In the "Golden Age" of ocean liners in the early part of the 20th century, many offered extremely luxurious travel for a wealthy few; although even the finest ships carried large numbers of poorer passengers in cramped quarters on the lower decks. Older ships were often given over to carrying immigrants at low prices.
The best-known of the liners was the Titanic, unfortunately famous for sinking on her maiden voyage. The Cunard Line's Mauretania of 1907 was widely considered the finest of all the liners of its generation, and in decades following many had a similar devotion to the SS Normandie.
After the 1960s collapse of the passenger ship business, many ocean liners continued in use as cruise ships; as of 2003, a small number are still in service. A few more, such as the Queen Mary, are still afloat but permanently docked and used for other purposes.
See also: List of ocean liners