Ad Campaign: Matson to Hawaii, 1951

Forgive me for a moment so I can indulge in a little wintertime fantasy.  It’s a cold, rainy, gloomy day, but on the seas to Hawaii all is sunny and bright.

It took the cruise lines a few years to get back up to speed after WWII, as most of the ships had been used in the war effort.  Matson was operating four luxury liners in the Pacific before December 7, 1941, and all were converted into troop carriers.  Together, the four Matson liners carried a total of 736,000 troops and covered one and a half million miles before the war ended in 1945.

The transition back to cruise service was difficult and costly for Matson.  They ended up selling two of their liners so that the S.S. Lurline could be remodeled and relaunched in 1948.  By the late 1950s Matson had four liners making the route between California and Hawaii.  Today Matson is still in business as a container ship operator on the Pacific.  I’m sure it is more profitable than running cruise ships, but it could not be as romantic.

6 Comments

Filed under Advertisements, Travel, Vintage Travel, World War II

6 responses to “Ad Campaign: Matson to Hawaii, 1951

  1. Imagine having the TIME to do this! There’s a wonderful book called “To Honolulu in Five Days” all about cruising on the S.S. Lurline— photos, menus, activities onboard and on land. It’s a treat for anyone else who feels she was born just a few years too late.

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  2. I love how the clothing in the color photo scream “casual” with the patchwork skirt and plaid shirts. Yet, this would be dressed up for nowadays.

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  3. Thanks for the memory! My family sailed from SF to Honolulu on the S.S. Lurline in the fall of 1959, as my dad was being transferred with the US Navy to Ewa Beach. I was 18 months old and (unfortunately) do not remember the trip. My older sister took hula lessons on board, and to this day can still do the “Hukilau”. I still have the original menus and the passenger manifest, which are very cool souvenirs.

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  4. Gryphonisle

    The Lurline is one of my favorite liners, but the postwar ship was an entirely different animal, once shorn of her elegant deco interiors, pictures of the postwar version interiors look rather awful—sort of institutional. People fail to consider the damage SOLAS did to America’s passenger ship trade—Prohibition practically killed what we had on the Atlantic, when the Europeans were building floating palaces, and then, after the Morro Castle blaze (a ship with varnished wood decks) bureaucrats went crazy trying to legislate fire proof ships, without wood decks, meaning whatever was built here couldn’t compare with what was sailing abroad. At least Matson didn’t have much competition on the Pacific, compared to the SS United States, designed by the same architect.

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