Le Garcione was launched in 1886 and was part of the French Line. Gertrude boarded the ship and was assigned to the ladies aft compartment. Gertrude might have shared a bunk with another single woman. Once aboard she might have done some exploring and discovered there were five decks. I don't know what deck she was on but I would imagine it was one of the lower decks.
The trip took between seven to ten days to cross the Atlantic Ocean, quite a difference in the twenty-two days it would have taken prior to steam engines. Captain Buedlon is depicted in the photograph found below. I don't know if she was considered steerage or not. If she was she would have been seen by a doctor before leaving Le Havre. The Doctor would determine if she was fit for travel. The meals were simple but good. Gertrude would have eaten her meals with the rest of her class in a simple dinning saloon unlike the one depicted in the photograph below. In October you could get hurricanes or squalls. The weather could toss you around in your bunk or if you dared to go anywhere else in the ship during these terrible storms. A smell of oil would penetrate steerage making you sick from it.
Gertrude arrived at Ellis Island on October 14, 1895. She was ushered into the large hall were she was asked numerous questions and given an extensive examination which would test her for seventeen diseases. She was one of the lucky ones who did not Receive a calk mark for deportation. "Generally, those immigrants who were approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. Arrivals were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. It was important to the American government that the new arrivals could support themselves and have money to get started. The average the government wanted the immigrants to have was between 18 and 25 dollars. Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island's hospital facilities for long periods of time. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Island