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.
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!