NDL laid the keel for its next great liner, Kaiser Wilhelm II, on 1st April 1902, at the Vulcan yard at Stettin. On 12th August 1902 the launch was attended by the Kaiser, dressed in full Admiral’s uniform. An older NDL liner of the same name was renamed Hohenzollern to free the name. The new liner was again designed to be quickly converted into an armed merchant cruiser should the need ever arise. Accommodation was planned for 700 First Class passengers in 290 cabins, plus 359 in Second Class and 799 in Third Class/Steerage. There were two principal suites, each with a drawing room, dining room, bedroom and private bathroom. There were also de luxe suites and large staterooms, each with their own bathrooms.
Once launched she was taken to the fitting out yard for completion. The main dining room on Kaiser Wilhelm II measured 108 feet by 69 feet, and rose through three floors to a skylight between the pairs of funnels. It even included two minstrels’ galleries. The smoking room was horseshoe-shaped around a funnel casing and also had the beneﬁt of a large skylight. Further aft was a Vienna Café, which allowed both ladies and gentlemen to meet and mingle socially. For those ladies preferring to stay separate there was also a Ladies’ Salon.