Cat Cleary was a sixteen-year-old Irish "slummy", full of hope, arriving in Liverpool to seek and make her fortune - and become someone in the world. Joe Calligan, the young steam-packet deckhand who'd stopped her going overboard, hadn't the heart to tell her that Liverpool was full of people tramping the streets looking for work. He thought she was the loveliest girl he'd ever seen, and he couldn't bear to see her crushed into the life of the Liverpool slums. And then Cat saw the WHITE EMPRESS, the huge luxury liner all ready to sail across the oceans, and from that moment her ambition was born - to be Chief Stewardess on the world's greatest liner. In spite of her poverty, her lack of education, her family background, Cat Cleary set about realising her incredible dream.