The story takes place on S.S. White Camellias, a liner bound for France from Shanghai circa 1920.
Alfred Germont, the son of millionaire Giorgio Germont, comes to Shanghai to launch his own business. On the voyage he gets to know the second officer Gastone by chance, and falls in love with Violetta Valery, the resident singer on the liner. While the young lady is ill, he goes to visit her every day.
One year has elapsed before noticed. Upon learning in Casablanca Alfred’s ill luck in his career, Giorgio Germont has him take S.S. White Camellia to go back. While on the cruise ship, Alfred finally wins the heart of Violetta Valery through the match-making effort of Gastone. Overjoyed, he sends a telegram to his father requesting to relegate the entire legacy he is supposed to inherit to his loved one. Giorgio is so anxious at his son’s request that he loses no time to embark on the liner when it comes to Casablanca. He urges Violetta to break up with Alfred, on the ground that Alfred sister's marriage is at stake. Under the pressure of Giorgio Germont, Violetta has to give in and pretends to dump Alfred in favor of Captain Dover. Hearing about this, Alfred humiliates Violetta in public at the casino, and then disembarks with his father.
Six months later, the liner comes to Le Havre. Giorgio feels very regretful for what he has done and tells Alfred the truth. They pay a visit to Violetta on the cruise ship, only to find that the latter is so ill that her days are numbered. Finally she breathes her last breath with Alfred and Giorgio on her side.