On 31st January 1903 Harland & Wolff, Belfast handed over Cedric to White Star. She had been launched on 21st August 1902, and at the time was the largest ship in the world. As built, her accommodation was listed as 365 in First Class, 160 in Second Class and 2,352 in Third Class. She also had an enormous cargo capacity. Under Captain Haddock, she made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 11th February 1903.
Over her career Cedric had numerous collisions and incidents, mostly relatively minor. She also had the misfortune to encounter a number of severe storms. In March 1904 she was delayed three days by one storm, suffering damage. A year later in another storm she was swamped by three giant waves and took eleven days to complete the crossing. In another storm, in January 1912, some waves were described as over 60 feet high: a number of lifeboats were destroyed. In March 1924 she met a severe storm, Captain Marshall said it was one of the worst trips he had ever experienced.
Cedric was requisitioned in November 1914 to serve as a troopship and armed merchant cruiser, but was released in January 1916. In April 1917 she was again requisitioned, as a troopship. In January 1918 while in Convoy HG47 she rammed Canadian Pacific’s Montreal, which sank: a later enquiry found the cause was improper navigation by Cedric. She was returned to White Star in December 1918 and returned to commercial service. During her career she was rebuilt a number of times, with various changes to accommodation and configuration. Finally in January 1932 she was sold to Ward’s and was scrapped at Inverkeithing.