Ad Campaign – Grace Line, 1950

After it became obvious that airplane travel was here to stay, and that a trip to Europe could be completed in 10 hours instead of five days, the cruise line companies began to shift gears from providing transportation to providing vacations.  A ship voyage was already a pleasurable experience for those with the money to buy first class tickets, and so that level of luxury was easily converted to the idea of the ship as a hotel that visited different ports.

The idea really caught on after WWII, when the cruise lines got their ships back after their wartime service.  Cruises to Hawaii and South America became big business.  These pleasure cruises would last up to a month, in contrast to the common three and four day cruises of today.

I’m sure you have all read how the 3100 passengers on the Carnival Triumph got an unwanted four day extension of their four day Mexican cruise.  This was big news in the US, and completely overshadowed what was an even worse incident on a cruise in the Canary Islands when five crew members of the Thomson Majesty were killed during a routine lifeboat drill.

I’m not qualified to comment on the safety regulations and procedures of cruise ships, but for an industry that has people talking about the accident of the Costa Concordia over a year later, it seems to me that they have some ‘splaining to do.

Does anyone beside me remember that series on The Mickey Mouse Club where Annette took a trip to Hawaii?  She went on a cruise ship and I thought it was the most fun thing ever.

Several years ago a friend and I took a cruise through the Aegean as part of an educational tour of Greece.  As such, we were on a small ship which held about 600 people, and I thought *that* was big.  I can’t imagine being on one of those floating towns of up to 5000 people that pass for cruise ships today.  Especially now.


Filed under Advertisements, Viewpoint, Vintage Travel

9 responses to “Ad Campaign – Grace Line, 1950

  1. That must have been a wonderful trip to Greece. I have always wished I could have taken the trip to Greece and Turkey…but I will have to settle for a trip to Disney World. Nice article. Thanks


  2. Teresa

    I love the idea of travelling on one of these vacation ships back in the day. It all seems so terribly romantic. These days… not so much!


  3. Oh, but to sail to New York on the QEII or the France in the ’60s! If time travel is ever invented, that’s my first stop.


  4. I much prefer the old fashioned concept of a cruise. The modern ones hold no appeal to me and seem very tacky.,


  5. Was it really the case that trans-Atlantic travel switched to the air so early? My family moved across the Atlantic twice during the 1960s (a long story about academic postings) and both sets of journeys were made by ship. I get the impression that this was still very much the norm. Perhaps the cost of flying for a family of 6 or 7 would still have been prohibitive? I don’t know.


    • Yes, it probably was the cost of the air tickets compared to rooms on the ship.

      The transition happened over a period of years. One can still cross the Atlantic by ship, but today it is much cheaper to fly!


      • It seems from the Wikipedia entry on SS France (one of the ships my family were on) that it took until the ’70s for transatlantic jet travel to outstrip the ocean liners. That squares with my memory too.


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