• Royal mail ship
  • Quoted from: "Royal Mail Ship (sometimes Steam-ship, Steamer), usually seen in its abbreviated form RMS, is the ship prefix used for seagoing vessels that carry mail under contract to the British Royal Mail. They have the right to fly the pennant of the Royal Mail when sailing.[1][2][3] The designation has been used since 1840.[4] It was used by a large number of companies, but is often associated in particular with the Cunard line, which held a number of high-profile mail contract business, and which traditionally prefixed the titles of all its ships with the initials "RMS". The best-known ship carrying the prefix is almost certainly the RMS Titanic of the White Star Line. Technically, a ship would use the prefix only while contracted to carry mail, and would revert at other times to a standard type designation such as "SS". Previously, the Admiralty operated these ships [5]. In 1850 contracts were awarded to private companies. The most valuable route, with the highest volume, was between Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), in Ireland, and Holyhead in Wales. The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company (CDSPCo) won the contract and purchased RMS Saint Columa and RMS Llwywllyn from the Admiralty. Having the title "RMS" was seen as a mark of quality and a competitive advantage, because the mail had to be on time. In the 1860 CDSPCo contract there was a penalty clause of £1 1s 4d for every minute's delay. In recent years the shift to air transport for mail has left only two ships with the right to the prefix; RMS St. Helena, which serves the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, and RMS Queen Mary 2. QM2 was conferred "RMS" by Royal Mail when she entered service in 2004 on the Southampton to New York route as a gesture to Cunard's history.[6] The less common designations RMMV, for Royal Mail Motor Vessel, and RMMS, for Royal Mail Motor Ship, were used for a period when RMS was restricted to steam-ships."
  • Stands for either Royal Mail Ship or Royal Mail Steamer. There is also HMS, which stands for Her (or his) Majesty's Ship.

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