Built by A.G. Weser of Bremen, NDL's second Berlin was launched in 1908
and made her maiden voyage from Bremen to New York on 1 May 1909. From
New York she entered NDL's New York-Mediterranean service, where she
remained for the rest of her NDL career.
World War I began in August 1914, and Berlin was soon taken over as
Auxiliary Cruiser C, fitted as a mine layer and disguised in Anchor Line
livery. Among her victims was HMS Audacious, the only British battleship
lost to either mines or torpedoes during the war.
Several weeks later, Berlin was interned at Trondheim, Norway. She
was ceded to Great Britain at the war's end, and spent most of 1920
as a troopship managed by P&O Lines. She was purchased by White Star in
November 1920 and converted back into a passenger ship, the largest (in
terms of passenger capacity) that White Star ever owned. She had
accommodations for over 3,200 passengers, 2,700 of them in third class.
She was given the name of the first White Star liner lost during the war
as a result of enemy action: Arabic.
Arabic made her initial voyage for White Star from Southampton to New
York on 7 September 1921, and from New York joined the line's
Mediterranean service. After a 1924 conversion to cabin/tourist/third
class configuration dramatically lowered her capacity (to 1,700), she
was placed on the Hamburg-New York route. From October 1926 until January
1930, Arabic was chartered to Red Star and used on that line's
Antwerp-New York service. She retained her name, but was painted in Red
Star colors in April 1927.
After returning to White Star, she was again refitted and her capacity
fell even further, to just over 1,400. She was placed on the
Liverpool-New York route, but made her final voyage on 16 July 1930.
Arabic was scrapped at Genoa in 1931.
Sources: Haws' Merchant Fleets; Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; Cunard
White Star Liners of the 1930s.