Tag Archives: cruise

Ad Campaign – Matson Lines, 1945

Across the blue reaches of the Pacific

Broad and unmistakable is the path beaten by Matson across the Pacific since the days of sailing ships.  Through all this time Matson’s business had been transportation, and it had been it’s purpose, with ever-improved equipment, to make even more accessible the loveliness of those Island regions.  

Would you guess from reading this add that WWII had just ended, and that the cruise line industry was still in a state of disarray?  Matson’s four ships had been turned into troop transports, and though you might not guess it from the ad, it took them two years before they could just one ship refitted and back into the touring business.

Yet, there are the hints:

And for tomorrow’s traveler in the Pacific – whether by air or by sea – Matson plans the very finest in modern and efficient transportation.

And the artist did a great job imagining the ship of tomorrow.  It is remarkable how little it looks like a ship from the 1940s, and how much it looks like a modern cruise ship.



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Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise

Today’s post was inspired by Mod Betty at Retro Roadmap.  Last week she discovered that the S.S. United States is docked on the Delaware River at Philadelphia.  The ship is actually for sale.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if some enterprising cruise ship line were to buy it and put it back into action?

Of course, I’m just dreaming.  Modern cruise ships are a far cry from the United States.  Go to Betty’s site and look at the photos she took of the ship.  Wow, is that an actual deck?  And surely they wouldn’t let people just promanade around, would they?  If you have been on a modern cruise ship, you will get my sarcasm, as they have no places to promanade, and very little outside deck space that isn’t covered in entertainment.

On the latest floating resort, the Oasis of the Sea, the rooms actually have balconies that open to the inside of the ship. You get a great view of the 6000 other passengers’ rooms. And with all the entertainment on board, and the casinos, I’m wondering why it was necessary to put Las Vegas on the ocean when Las Vegas is doing fine in the middle of the desert.  Why can’t a cruise ship just be relaxing transportation?


Posted by Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap:

Lizzie- thanks so much for the link, and the comment on my article! To update, it appears that the Windmill Restaurant in Nags Head closed this past summer. Not to fear! I did some inquiries and I am happy to report that the collection of furniture and memorabilia from the SS United States was donated to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News VA.
I agree with you totally regarding modern cruising – seems like you wouldn’t even realize you were on a ship at all, why bother!

Tuesday, January 12th 2010 @ 5:14 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Well, that stuff is better suited to a museum than a restaurant anyday!

Friday, January 15th 2010 @ 7:47 AM

Posted by Anonymous:

My parents met on a cruise to Bermuda. She was going on the vacation of a lifetime. His parents had paid for him to take the trip to think things over before he married a woman they didn’t think was right for him. It was 1938.

Saturday, January 16th 2010 @ 6:41 PM

Posted by Sarah:

What marvellous old photographs you have! They really give an idea of the cruise as an experience, where you really feel like you are out at sea, and being exposed to the elements.Not at all like being trapped in a giant, air conditioned mall! I agree – I can’t see the point of modern cruise ships.

Do you have any info about the locations (ships?) of these photographs? I particularly love the reclining lady with the huge corsage!

Monday, January 18th 2010 @ 2:17 AM

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Filed under Viewpoint, Vintage Photographs, Vintage Travel

Travel Diary, 1927

I love old journals and diaries, and I look for them at shows and on eBay when I’m motivated.  Usually they are priced out of my range, but I did get this one several years ago.  It was cheap, probably because the covers are in terrible shape, but take a look at the wonderful graphics within!

The book itself was published in 1914 (NOT a good time to be selling diaries for a trip to Europe, which is probably why there was still a supply of them in 1927!) by Kiggins & Tooker.  The diary was kept by Louise Mary Browne, who appears to be about 12 or 13.  She, along with her mother, father, and two brothers sailed on June 25, 1927 on the Carmania.  They arrived in La Harve on July 3, and began a trip across Europe that lasted at least until August 19th.

I say “at least” because that is where the diary abruptly stops, in mid sentence while describing the Tate Gallery.  I can imagine that she was exhausted, having been all over France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and England!  And her mother certainly was, trying to keep up with three kids and do all the sightseeing.  It seems like one or another of the brothers was always sick.  It’s truly an amazing read, just to see how much ground they covered, and to learn what was most important to this young girl.  Lunch seems to have played a major role in each day!


Filed under Travel, Vintage Travel

Bermuda Cruise: 1938

“AZURE SKIES, turquoise seas, golden sunshine…and half the colors of the rainbow going down the gangplank to met the other half on the dock! Colorful as a Bermuda arrival are the new soft shades of Hockanum Woolens for Spring!”

Yes, I’m still in cruise mode, still lazing on the incredible Lido deck of my imagination.  Above, more from 1937 in the form of an ad featuring Hockanum woolens.

I have this great little booklet, Travel and Vacation Clothes: Journal School of Fashion, that was published in 1938.  From the section on Seagoing clothes:

“Nowhere on earth are the right clothes more important than on board ship; and nowhere are the wrong ones more conspicuous and uncomfortable.  The right clothes at sea mean the time-honored classics, such as good tweeds and sweaters, simple wool, cotton, linen dresses, felt hats, wool scarves, low-heeled shoes.  All these eternally right clothes are “naturals” on a ship.  If you’re to be a “seasoned traveler,” whether on a trip to Europe or a tropical cruise, you’ll stick to these experienced travel clothes.”


Posted by Travel Over 30s:

That’s priceless information- no doubt they wore stockings most of the time as well:)I remember my Godmother seeing me off in the 1980s on a long-haul flight mentioning how when she travelled a lot in the 1930s you always your best clothes- but there again they got more legroom those days! Lis

Sunday, January 25th 2009 @ 10:10 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Lis, the booklet actually addresses stockings: “Take plenty of stockings. Don’t count on finding your favorite brand in foreign shops. A good rule is at least one pair of everyday stockings for every week you’re to be gone..\  Add to this three pairs of sheer ones for evening.”

Tuesday, January 27th 2009 @ 7:17 PM

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Filed under Proper Clothing, Travel, Vintage Travel

Sanitorium or Sunny Cruise?

This great image is from a 1937 ad for the Italian Line of ocean liners.  Their ads from the late 1930s seemed to always feature blue ocean and a ship bathed in sunlight.  It’s especially appealing since our weather here in the East has been frigid the entire month of January.  Most years we have a few days of 60 degree temperatures, but it wasn’t until yesterday that we reached that mark.  It was an extraordinary day, with crystal blue skys and a mild breeze.

Today, we were back to the ice box, but despite a forecast for overcast skys, there was plenty of that beautiful sunshine.  I decided to take a few minutes and pretend I was on this ship sailing into the sun.  So I got out the electric blanket, set my lawn chair in a sunny corner of the porch, wrapped up and enjoyed being an ocean liner passenger.  Then my husband appeared and asked why I was pretending to be a TB patient at a sanitorium!


Posted by Katherine:

You crack me up! I’m sitting here alone at my computer laughing out loud at your last line and wishing someone were here to laugh with me. Your husband is a hoot! Wrapping up in a blanket and sitting in the January sun pretending to be on an ocean liner – splendid idea! I’m going to try it out on my patio as soon as the foot of snow there melts. That could be May though, since I’m in Boston and we are expecting another 8″ tomorrow. I think I’ll put on my ocean soundscdand go sit on the heat vent. I’ll pretend I’m basking on a beach in 1937 Havana.

Tuesday, January 27th 2009 @ 7:18 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Katherine, that’s funny! I should have thought of the ocean sounds CD. And I’ll take Havanna over the sanitorium any day.

Tuesday, January 27th 2009 @ 7:12 PM


Filed under Vintage Travel

Matson Knows the Pacific

Today we take travel to almost anywhere in the world for granted, but during WWII, travel was greatly curtailed.  Ocean liners were turned into troop transports, car manufacturers turned to making military vehicles, gas and tires were rationed, and the world in general was just too scary to travel in.

But after the war ended  it didn’t take long for the travel industry to hop back on its feet.  As early as 1946 European countries were encouraging Americans to bring their dollars and visit.  It took a while for the cruise lines to get back up to speed, as all the ships had to be refitted and refurbished.  This ad for the Matson Line dates from 1950.  Matson was one of the main lines that sailed to Hawaii.

I first got a view of crusing when the Mickey Mouse Club Show sent several cast members on a cruise to Hawaii.  Growing up in the mountains, I’d never even seen the ocean, and the thought of having a little stateroom with a porthole view of the Pacific to myself, as Annette did, was more than a little appealing.  And the thought is still attractive, especially after a long cold winter!

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Filed under Travel, Vintage Travel, World War II

Feeling like the ship left me behind….

First let me say that I do take disappointments very well. I never did get the horse I wanted when I was 10, and I wasn’t nominated for Homecoming Queen, and neither seem to have left any scars. Even when I was teaching and I’d pray for snow, and then awake to a green (or rather brown) ground, I always quickly rebounded.

But this disappointment is major, really major.

It happened over a week ago at the Goodwill. I walked in and right in front of me were 2 wooden lounging chairs, the type Audrey Hepburn was sitting in when Humphrey Bogart surprised her at the end of Sabrina. The kind you see in 1930s movies on ships headed to exotic locales. They were weatherd and grey, obviously due to exposure to the salt air. There were little brass tags that read “Nieuw Amsterdam”, and my heart was racing as I began to lay claim. That when I heard, “I’ve just paid for those,” coming out of the mouth of a guy I’m too polite to describe. Unfortunately, he had left the price tags on them, and I got a glance – $25 each. I was so upset, I had to just go home.

A week later, I thought I was over it, until I opened a 1951 Holiday magazine and saw this ad:

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