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She left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York on 25 February 1905.
A successful 1906 cruise from New York to the Mediterranean led to Caronia's being used for cruising frequently in the coming years.
Caronia was briefly placed on Cunard's Boston service in 1914, but the start of World War I caused her to be requisitioned as an armed merchant cruiser.
In 1916, she became a troopship and served in that role for the duration, returning to the Liverpool-New York run after the War.
In 1920 Caronia was converted to burn oil instead of coal.
After returning to service, she sailed on a number of different routes, including:
Her last voyage, from London to New York was on 12 September 1932, after which she was sold to be disassembled. Initially sold to Hughes Bolckow for demolition at Blyth, she was resold, renamed Taiseiyo Maru and sailed to Osaka, where she was scrapped in 1933.
Caronia was fitted with the older quadruple-expansion engine technology; while her sister RMS Carmania had turbines and proved to be the more economical of the two liners.