The first of the two liners named Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered for Norddeutscher Lloyd's (N.D.L.) North Atlantic service was built by A.G. Vulcan at Stettin in 1889. Registered at 6,991 tons gross (4,773 net), she measured 449½ feet in length with a 51 foot beam and, engined by her builders, had a cruising speed of 16 knots. Fitted out with accommodation for 120 First, 80 Second and 1,000 Steerage class passengers, she made her maiden Bremen to New York crossing in August 1889 only to be briefly transferred onto the company's Australian service before starting regular Mediterranean sailings from Genoa to New York via Naples in November 1892. After sinking at her berth in Genoa in June 1893, she was successfully raised and continued on this route until 1906 during which time she was renamed Hohenzollern (in 1901) when NDL took the decision to lay down a new express liner for the North Atlantic run to be named for the German Emperor. Hohenzollern's last crossing to New York was in May 1906 after which she was relegated to purely Mediterranean excursions until May 1908 when she stranded on the Sardinian coast and was scrapped thereafter.