« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Transatlantic Cruising Before the Titanic

2019-03-06 | 🔗

Ships were of course carrying cargo for centuries before the idea of carrying passengers in any sort of vacation sense existed. But once the Black Ball line decided to prioritize passenger comfort, the development of the cruise industry began. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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well before this house. Here MEG passengers were travelling across. It lived ocean between Europe and North America am I know that it might seem. Leg were travel obsess lately because we keep talking about our Paris trip, which you can still sign up for Could you our website and click on the Paris trip link at the top of the page, but this actually came up. in an a whole other avenue there is another another podcast project, I'm working on, which hopefully, you will know more about soon, but is the subject of cruises came upon it in it? It piqued my interest in terms of where it had come from historically, so here we are, I decided I should do a whole episode, ragged just look that on this show, so I thought it would be really interesting to examine the early years of the cruise industry way before What we think is a crucial today ever existed. They were not floating cities. At this point. and were breaking this one sort of in the two sections. So first we're going to talk about the initial push for ships to start carrying passengers.
As a part of their business model, rather than just an add on an empty cargo space and second, the first true cruise ship and its relatively short period of service For those of you who, like maritime disasters, delight there's a little bit of that involved here there. also, we should warn you an instance of suicide. So if that is not something you're comfortable hearing about be warned, was laid on the episode and we will give you a heads up as we near that point. It's actually gonna be right after the second sponsor break, ships were, of course, carrying cargo across the Atlantic Force Finch even before the idea of carrying passengers that any sort of vacation since existed the man he was often credited with first shifting. This mindset is Jeremiah Thomson at the time Thomson. Who is the textile importer? Had this idea
he was living in New York, but he had been born in Yorkshire and Northern England and he had made that journey across the Atlantic. We himself by boat when he emigrated as a teenager, yeah, definitely not in any sort of vacations presents. We have done before about when people would book passage on transatlantic ships just to get from one to the other, and the various ways they have to shove in with gas all and animals and unpleasant condition. So this is definitely that kind of thing when he made the crossing is a team and Thompson His uncle and three associates had all been working together in the textile trade in New York when they owned a number of ships that they used for that purpose, and while Cargo ships, like others, accepted passenger bookings. It was definitely a secondary aspect of their business. Passengers were not priority. is everything was basically timed and planned around the goods that were aboard the ship and as such,
angels were almost always inconsistent, which left would be travellers in a sort of hurry up and wait situation, while the shipping company held departure up for loading, more cargo or waiting for idea, whether the tops and realise that they could prove hopefully make more money by prioritizing passengers. Their comfort and their schedules. Thompson in his business partners announced their intention to do just that and the papers of New York and late nineteen, seventeen quote in order to furnish frequent and regular conveyances or goods and passengers. The subscribers have undertaken to establish a line of vessels between New York and Liverpool to say from each place on a certain day and every month throughout the year. This was on its own and entirely novel concept, but the notice went on to promote speedy crossings of the north, limp Dick, also novel, end quote: accommodations for passengers are uncommonly extensive and commodious so for the first time,
company was offering up the idea of actual comfort when crossing the ocean. They may have sounded unreal but Thomson and his associates where, professional shippers after all, and they knew how to run a business in January of one thousand, eight hundred and eighteen, the first two of their ships departed New York right on schedule and the company's stayed on schedule that also had to add new ships to meet demand and ended up running two shifts each way per month. Their line came to be known as the black ball line because of a black circle painted on their sales to identify them. If you're imagining, even though I just said, sales during a thing that looks anything like a steam ship. No, this was still a vessel with sails sailing over wind power. There are. There are some images like illustration still of these ships and they do not look like a cruise,
ship today, not at all and we'll talk about sort of house steamships, eventually supplanted these these ships yeah. It's interesting right. You, the way this set up goes. You would normally expect like and then they said it was going to be comfortable and then they said it was going to be fast and then they said it was going to be on the schedule. You're, like this isn't going to work guys, but it did. They were so good at keeping this whole thing together and part of that was because the management of the company offered incentives to captain's to keep those calendar dates. So if they made their trips in less than twenty two days travelling from New York to Liverpool or less than thirty. Five days on the Liverpool to New York trips, which took longer due to wind patterns in the North Atlantic, the captain would get a reward and for his work, the captain who was responsible, for everything aboard his vessel got a new coat and his wife would get a new dress, and this reward system seem to work because blackboard,
got a really good reputation for reliability. Blackball lying got a fair bit of press for their new business model and how successful they had been lamenting it and that game them new business in both passengers and cargo, which made other shipping companies want to step up their own game to stay competitive. It wasn't ok anymore, it's simply run supply ships on the well we'll leave. The loaded and arrive on we can approach. Yeah Surely they are like? Why would you want to prioritize passengers as just secondary and then a couple years ago they were like. We would also like to prioritize fanciful fillets. Soon, Other companies were running their own scheduled lines and offering better passenger accommodations, and this in turn, RO the shipping industry into a more service minded mode of operation, which then drove physical change in how the ships were built in eighteen, twenty three blackball once again state clean above other competitors when it launched its new ship, the Canada, the five hundred twenty five tonnes
as was lavish in ways no ship had ever been before it featured things like skylights in the DE cabins: silk curtains, turkish carpets an offence. Dining room with beautiful furniture. Among other luxurious designed details, the Canada's beautiful day core set up a new race among all the shipping companies to offer similar amenities for their passengers, and this desire to offer more sumptuous, accommodations entertainments meant that ship designs had to shift to offer all those things without losing their cargo space. After all, they were still carrying things like mail and textiles and even less if stock, some of which were used to feed the passengers aboard and rather fine style you whoever the accounts I was reading, talked about the ship's cow so they always had fresh milk Democrats thing em and how sometimes you know that animals, some of that animals would be used to be slaughtered. When used in meals, and they would have chickens, they could lay eggs in that really. This is
the beginning of the idea of creases and food to get because for a lot of people, the food was the best part of the trip, because it was all very fresh, but he called the dramatic line run by a man. Named Edward Night, Collins gave blackball run for its money, starting in eighteen, thirty, six dramatic started, building flat bottomed boats like the ones that were required to traverse shallow waters at the mouth of them, Snoopy river Collins had been running ships to New Orleans, but he realised that he could use that same at bottom design to optimize space for transatlantic voyages. The ships in the dramatic sleepwear aptly named. They were the Shakespeare, Sheridan Garrix students and Russia said they were massive, the rushing a suede more than a thousand times, which was a record at the time for ships that we're running out of New York, but it was the passenger cabins that really set the dramatic a line. Apart from the black ball, they were as much as three times the size of what other companies off,
and they were higher up on the ship not below the deck yeah. They felt that passengers would be more comfortable up higher. They would give better air circulation. They would not be as prone to sea sickness, which all sounds lovely. Also We should point out that, even though the her accommodations, where three times larger than other ships, they were still tiny- I mean, even if you have been on a modern cruise ship, the rooms are pretty small and they are very, very healthy and this, as you know, far past these ships in terms of evolution of space. So the idea, though, of a separate steerage class, which you often he talked about formed sort of organically during these decades. If there was a cargo space that wasn't being filled with letters or parcels or other goods, some ships continue to sell reduced fair tickets, for people to bug here without any of the amenities, like dining and entertainment, that a regular ticket afforded people who purchase these discounted tickets had to bring their
food and they were allowed to prepare it in a designated space on deck. So long as they remembered to also bring pans and pots and any other utensils required to do that. Crap This really wasn't all that different from how people had booked passages before the idea of passenger amenities was introduced. It just meant that now there different levels, both literally and figuratively, of travellers in a moment talk about the celebrity status that some of these captains achieve, but first we will pause for a word from one of our sponsors the new year is upon us, which resolutions do you, plan to conquer and twenty twenty become more mindful or creator. healthier lifestyle through diet, exercise and, of course, improved sleep. The sleep number three, sixty smart bed helps everyone get the proven quality sleep that will change their life. Uselessly by Cuba to help create a routine. The sleep number three sixty smart, but is the smartest choice for better sleep and the best bed recover
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sort of celebrity in the time that the cruise industry was in its infancy. Passengers could actually book passage with specific captains if they wish, and especially skilled ones, came to be recognised for their ability to deal with whether issues and manage their crew am socialize with their passengers. This job became a very coveted one for me, with the skills to handle all of these different means, as they also took a share of the revenue for the cargo. So one of the things it was involved was like four x pieces of mail. You will get some tiny, tiny fraction of money for each piece of mail, and so they would I'll get that kind of like as a revenue share of their, Their companies work. They also usually owned up a portion of the ship in terms of lake, both getting the revenue from it and having responsibility for it. The sailors who were
under them, though, worked very, very hard in jobs that were often very dangerous and sleeping in quarters that were far less comfortable than most of the passengers. Had my traveling aboard this combination, cargo and passenger ship, which was called a packet ship or packets that wasn't the pleasure vacation of today. Even if there was beautiful furniture, involved for the people who could afford a premium ticket. While there were normally women's quarters on such vessels, the vast majority of the paying passengers were still men on business. These were generally booked as one way traps away to get to either Europe or North Amerika, and the time aboard the ship was more comfortable than ever, but it was still a means to get to a destination you are not doing this for fun, though it would be like I'm sure there are people to do it, but very few or like let's just go plain for fun. Today, you have to you, normally have a place in mind where you're trying to get to
if the plane ride is enjoyable great, but that's not really your vacation, even so these trees. Atlantic crossings were growing in number, with dozens of ships travelling from New York to Liverpool an alarm and staying on schedule became more and more important because it became a me. for the various operating companies to distinguish themselves. I know I just compared to the airline three but again very similar where you will hear Airlines tat their stats for lake, not cancelling lights are always arriving on time very similar in the U S
building a very strong reputation for its excellence in this industry, per that strong reputation was a very small rate of accident or loss and the first twenty years of this industry, there are only two ships lost. The first of this was the Albion, which was part of the black ball line on April twenty second eighteen, twenty two three weeks after leaving port in New York, the Albion under the command of captain, will comes ran, aground and slammed against rocky terrain on the southern coast of Ireland really early in the morning, some time between three and four a m seven I'll be in twenty four man, crew survived and two of the twenty eight passengers, but every one else aboard died and the cause in this case was bad weather. A written account by a local man named John Purcell, described the situation when he arrived on the scene shortly after the ship hit the rock and he wrote quote at this time as it blew a dreadful gale with spring tied, and
reaching high water, the sea ram mountains, high MR personnel and while other men were able to get the survivors to safety, he describes in this. This account that he took in number them and the other men. They were with him. Each took in a number of people and they also built coffins for the bodies of the recovered dead. The second ship lost in the transatlantic passengers and cargo get business was called the crisis, the name of the ship, which was part of the black ex line in the case of the crisis that was made, his way back to New York in eighteen, twenty six and it just never made it a port somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It presumably sank, although these two incidents were obviously tragic, the work of the packet ships travelling between Europe and the United States was seen as very safe because it was only those to the second half of the nineteenth century. Some massive grows in passenger bookings on trains,
when the lines, the idea of truly premium accommodation started to come into play. An steamships became the standard up to that point, all of the tightness of skin, walls was largely about leaving port on time, but think So little bit, wiggly you when it came to making port on the other end of the journey on schedule, because, as Tracy I mentioned earlier, it are still using wind power alert Once the reliance on wind was less of a factor, comings and goings were more precise at both ports on any given crews. Now we're going to jump ahead a bit to nineteen hundred that year, the world's first steamer built exclusively as a tourist ship with no intent, appalling cargo or mail was launched at Hamburg, Germany, the ship was the princesses Victoria Luis, and it was part of a hamburger american line. It was christened by the account to spawn balder, see Nay S. Thirdly, who had married german army field marshal count VON vulgar see?
the idea for the princess in Victoria Louise began with Albert volume. In eighteen. Eighty six Balin had joined the company hopping you'll see that J, p e g, which is an acronym for a much longer german name that I dare not attempt ff poor desire to not turn it into a horrible jumble of words A man is sometimes synonymous with Joseph I'm see a written as that company running the Hamburg America Line or being synonymous for it and the helping companies business included. A deal of emigration travel as people left Europe to move to the United States, the Humbird Victoria line transported them and that company- in eighteen, forty, seven and initially used sailing boats like the package ships used by the blackball line in its competitors, but eventually they like everyone else, transitioned over to steamships Albert Balin, who had an immigration agency as a family business was a perfect fit for happened. He worked his way
the corporate ladder and in eighteen ninety nine became the head of a company. At the beginning of eighty nine, these he had initiated the world's first leisure crews, which was a trip along the Mediterranean aboard the Ss August Victoria, because for the first time the journey aboard a passenger ship was billed as the vacation itself. Balin himself was a passenger on August Victoria and he interviewed the customers aboard to see what was working and what could be changed. So just for clarity in case it's confusing that ship was still the type of ship that had originally been built to carry cargo and passengers. But this was the first. I'm than it was used as just a vacation in and of itself, and then this neck ship. They were talking is the first one that was built entirely just as a passenger cruise ship so ass. He took control of the camp Berwin came up with another first, and that was a ship that was entirely designed and built for passengers
the Hamburg America Line Commission the ship building firm of bloom and vast to construct what is often called the first purpose built cruise ship, thus the princess in Victoria, Louise, nay, for the eight year old daughter of Keyser Wilhelm. The second came to be in balance, who oversaw the entire project very closely from designed to completion became the father of the leisure cruise. Both ship was huge. It was four hundred feet or a hundred and twenty two metres long, forty, seven feet or fourteen point three metres wide and twenty seven theatre. Eight point two metres deep. It was also four thousand four hundred nineteen gross tonnes, which measures not wait, but internal volume, the hall was made of steel plates flush fitted with countersunk rivets rather than overlapped, it was built. We go up a luxury vehicle, basically also. I should point out in looking at various different records those numbers in its length and wit and depth.
Are a little bit different, depending on which, when you look at me, I'm not sure what the the calls for that disparity is. But it's it's always small disparity. So if you look at it anywhere else, ends are like. I not quite the same number. That's why I can't explain why that's the case, but we see it in different numbers all over the place and as a cruising yacht, this ship was designed, as we said entirely for leisure, and every aspect of it was completely modern for its time in addition to having cabins that were well ventilated, which had been long term problem on passenger ships, it featured a massive dining room, a smoking lounge apart. learn for lady passengers. A dark room for any train there's that wanted to develop their vacation photos there on the ship and the gymnasium among other amusements and amenities, and it carried only first class passengers after it made its initial voyage from Hamburg to New York, the princess them
travelled to the Caribbean and then to the Mediterranean and the black sea. Eventually, the ship's primary route was from New York to Jamaica, offering a tour of the West Indies. On December, twelve does Princess and Victoria Luis left New York bound for Kingston Jamaica, with Captain H Brunswick at the helm, while the ship boats that are twenty cabins. There are only seventy five passengers aboard and before we get into the story of how that crews played out, we are going to pause for a break and hear from one of the sponsors they keep stuffy missed in history class, going. Ebay.
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Hey listeners as we get into this next section, dishonor mind you. This is the segment where we will talk about the suicide be mentioned at the top of the show. So if It's not something you want to hear. You can may be fast forward to the very end or just skip this last part. What happened on the princess, then Victoria Louise's trip was initially reported. This way the ship made port at its destination as scheduled and then headed back to New York December. Sixteenth that ran aground just below the White House at Port Royal, as it was exiting Kingston Harbour, there was no inclement whether the waters were smooth and calm. All of the passengers were safely evacuated to Kingston to other ships. The delegates clue science and the Bremen of Germany were near by and quickly move to the seem to help them
Those on board initially had been afraid once they were reassured that they were going to be moved to land. The evacuation went completely smoothly, but despite everything, post grounding going as smoothly as possible, Captain Brunswick locked himself in a cabin and shot and killed himself. It's really not clear exactly what happened to the cabin, but his employers workable. We taken aback, then a statement given by the president of the hamburger, Amerika wine Emil elbow us. He said quote: Captain Brunswick was one of the most capable captains and our service. I cannot account for his act except on the theory that his pride, crushed by the accident, and that he believed that only death would wipe out what he regarded as a disgrace. But a follow up to this story published on December 29th. One thousand nine hundred and six in the New York Times offered a slightly different version of events. As you know, even in today's modern world
Communication is much faster. Sometimes when you get the breaking new story, all of the facts are entirely correct and then later on, there's like in a man. Did story where, where everything kind of get smooth out and the reality is described, this is kind of what happened in this case. This version had and relayed by survivors once they had turn to New York aboard the steamships Armenia. The accounts of those who had been a board all indicated that the ship had been entering the harbour and not exiting, as had initially been reported. Captain Brunswick upon approaching the harbor issued signals Amber stating that the ship needed a pilot. So a maritime pilot in case you dont know- and this job still exists- is a person who serves sort of navigation expert and advises captains on maneuvering through spots like port entries and exits. The pilot is normally local to the area, so they would be someone that is like on stand by at a port entry, because
Then no all the specifics of the waters of that area intimately and they use that knowledge and advising ships and guiding them safely. But though Brunswick requested a pilot, nobody came so he decided to anchor near Port Royal rather than try to navigate into the harbor without assistance. But in doing so he Miss read the lights on the shore. Many accidently headed straight for the lighthouse Apparently, he thought the lighthouse he was seeing was a different lighthouse, so he was just completely oriented mentally incorrectly happen his head, and he basically literate. Raymond rate aground according to the ship steward F O Schroeder It was nine thirty p m on the night of the sixteenth, when this happened, the captain immediately. Out a boat to report. What had happened and went directly to his quarters where he shot himself and this count,
in an earlier report that made it sound, like the captain had waited a couple of hours before he took that that final step, the passengers were kept on board through the night. They weren't informed of the captain staff and in the morning the crew formed a line of boats to the island. Passengers went from boat to boat along the line to get safely to shore. The Bremen that German so we mentioned earlier tethered itself to the grounded princess him and actually tried to haul it off of the rocks and back into the water, but that effort was ultimately unsuccessful Three days after the rack on December nineteenth, the Hamburg America line ship was deemed a loss in nineteen O. Seven, a german court determined that Captain Brunswick had been negligent in his day days and the laws of the princess and Victoria Louise, which again all passengers survived, was completely eclipsed by the sinking of the titanic less than six years later, but the cruise industry,
by having ups and downs has survived. Despite these, these tragedies and in fact, thrives in twenty seventeen an estimated twenty five point: eight million people went on crews globally and study cited in the twenty eating cruise industry overview, which has published by the Florida Caribbean Crews Association estimated that an average crews. Pulling in at a port of call in the Caribbean or Latin America generates almost six hundred seventy six thousand dollars, just by virtue of pulling in spending a few hours there in spending by passengers, crew and the crews line of complicated I've been on a number of causes and often there'll, be confidence. Conversations the people who are going or like. What's the environmental impact of this is that offset by, like the economic benefit, that's coming into the Caribbean? How it is that economic benefit affect the live
people would actually live there. We have a lot of very lengthy conversations. That I'd also like it. You were we we have talked about like people continue to go on these and, in spite of this incident, people also contain to go on cruises. Even though Neuro virus is such a known hired on crews, those that there's like a whole procedure when you are embarking on this, Lastly, we test the fact that you have not been ill in the past. However, many hours, yeah, yeah yeah! I have not been on a cruise. I have been at sea many times like deep sea fishing, but I have not been on a cruise crews. I think that may be about to change Elsie and our import back
I am very curious about how this goes, because now that I have some conversations about about cruising in pros and cons and not the crews, you think it is ok which helps get around. my problem ray is that you're on a ship. I would most likely do like a Disney crews. That's not actually the one, I'm looking out at the moment, while I love Disney like the idea of being trapped on a boat with a bunch of little people, you know kids makes me a little nervous because I'm not a kids person and one they reach my threshold. There's no return like you can't put the gene back, and so I am a little concerned about that, but I found a cruise that I doubt many children would be on just because of its theme in which is not filthy and anyway. It just has to do with such an old nerdy pop culture property. but I dont think any kids, the interest that I know whenever we mention our likes and dislikes on the show. We get a lot of ideas from listeners. Ibiscus put it,
their holly, and I have already talked about how cruise ships have lots of entertainment for children and there are lots of adults at least bases on them. Yes, but I have also had friends who are very much aligned with me. we who are like, oh no, you can't escape them so much totally partitioned off this. Always be a danger. I bet your kids are the best ones, but I'm just not comfortable around kid. That's no disown the kids, it's just not not my space of comfort. When I'm on vacation, I would like to be as much as possible in my space of Korea anyway, that is the scoop Duenna yours listener mail. That has nothing to do with cruises, but does go back to our slightly grown up topic of the history of vodka. Should air is we ve got them great Amy, vodka, he hurried email bore them. Can read all in one thing, but what I really liked is we got several interesting ones. We talked in that episode about how,
vodka is to some degree sort of a universal solvent. It gets he whose to clean and disinfect things in it gets used his spruce up clothing in lieu of dry cleaning, sometimes- and you know, various treatment for ills, and so we, a number of evil radiant with new things that I did not know about the vodka gets used for. One of them is from our listener, Peggy who right love the podcast, listen every day. I am learning for knowledge sake. Not so I could just pass the test which to me is that the best way to learn knowledge- and she writes my daughter- is an amazing cake. Decorator. She backs this up with a beautiful photograph of a cake that her daughter made self taught who likes to work with fond in, and she uses vodka to smooth out her designs. I'm including a picture of one of her creed and a finding me most seemed birthday cake for a child. Thanks again for all you do to make my boring job. Wonderful, I didn't how about this trick of using vodka to smooth fondant, but you better believe I'm gonna use it going forward bees, nineteen and wrestling matches with fond it and make an ugly mess.
We also guides one from our listener. Gregory, who wrote, I hope, you're staying warm, I'm up in Wisconsin, where the snow won't stop coming I'm relatively warm here in Atlanta. It's not a sweltering heatwave, but we ve been in the fifties, which is fine, Tracy's, probably colder than I am it snowed here yesterday and Gregory place. Your vodka episode reminded me of when I was studying abroad in physics, TAN and one of my host families gave me a vodka remedy for my sore throat in the cold room. I slept in with my host brother. I was given a cold towel soaked in vodka as a local cure for my sore throat. It did not help, but it was an interesting experience than the list. Thank you for that info. Good to know you can skip the the vodka soaked towel around your throat and then perhaps my very favorite of these surprising uses of vodka is from our listener. Allison who
dear Holly and Tracy. Thank you so much for the wonderful podcast it makes my commits to and from work much more entertaining and makes up for missing out on a lot of history classes in favour of science classes during much of my schooling career. I just listen to your episode on vodka and I wanted to add a fun fact from my own field, which is better and airy medicine for as long as I've, the field every clinic I've ever been at, has always had a bottle of vodka tucked away in a cupboard and why it's. There has become one of the favourite questions to answer for new people in the field. Vodka when diluted and given intravenous led to a patient suffering from antifreeze, toxicity can save their life. It prevents the creation of the by products which will cause and failure and make the Anna free so deadly. This can technically be done with any ethanol, but the favourite I've encountered has been vodka or perhaps ever clear. And yes in case you were wondering patients get instantly drunk when this treatment star
looking forward to see what's coming up next and hope, you're having a wonderful start. Twenty nineteen I never ever ever had heard this story, which is surprising to me, because I I have known a lot of veterinarians and I always ask them a lot of invasive questions about their jobs, because I find a fascinating, never learned this one. So thank you Alison brand new. Also. Obviously we are not suggesting you any of this yourself, but that's a good little piece of info to have. If you would like to write who s with yours, surprising you survive or any other historically interesting tidbits. You can do so at history pie cast at Helstone works dot com. You can also find. is pretty much anywhere on social media. As Mr History, you can go to MR history. Dot com finer web page, which is where you can sign up for that tripped Paris again, Paris trip at the top of the exclamation point, takes you right all the info or you can listen to any of the back episodes that have ever
system of our show for all time, long before Tracy and I were ever involved with it, and we encourage you to also subscribe to stuff you missed in history, glass You can do that. Only I hurt radio app Apple Podcast, Google, or whatever else you get your podcast for more on this and thousands of other topics visit Housetop works, dot com Jackie enjoying the birthday party yeah two year old age, but unfortunately I have to go. I'm leasing a car today, so well you can LISA car right from your phone with the roadway. Look you can do it right here at is pretty cool Dave and deliver the car right dear House really. Well, I better get to my house then see welcome to the future car leasing. Brutal gives you access to hundreds of cars online or on the roadmap, with Crystal clear browsing, weaving, deliver the car rights. Your house so hit the road the easy way with Roto