The liner Umbria was placed into service on 1 November 1884 as the premiere Cunard express liner, alongside her sister Etruria.
Umbria was the last Cunarder to be completed with auxiliary sails; having been completed with a single screw propeller rather than the older paddle wheel technology.
Umbria was utilised as an armed merchant cruiser during the Crisis of 1885 (Russia). The ship was taken up from trade for several months before being returned to Cunard service in September 1885.
During a crossing in April 1890, Umbria was damaged when she came to the rescue of the Norwegian Barque Magdalena. The Norwegian vessel was adrift and unable to make way, following a collision with an ice berg.
Umbria saw wartime service again in 1900 being used as a troop transport during the Boer War. She was utilised on two return voyages to South Africa before being returned to Cunard service.
In 1903, Umbria was the scene of a bomb scare. An extensive police search found a 100 pound explosive device; which was defused safely.
Umbria retired from Cunard service in 1910, having been well and truly eclipsed in size, speed and luxury by newer tonnage. She was scrapped in Scotland.