Cruise History

Cruising on the SS Yale and the SS Harvard between San Francisco and Los Angeles during the “Roaring Twenties”!

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The SS Yale and SS Harvard became known as “white Flyers of the Pacific”! The sister ships each made four sailings a week, carrying 565 First Class passengers at an average speed of 23 knots between the two major California cities. The fast coastal ships provided an overnight cruise on the Pacific. They were a very popular way for traveling between ... Read More »

Ships and Liners of Messageries Maritimes

MS Caledonien in Sydney Harbor,  from the collection of Richard Francis (taken February 1970).

Messageries Maritimes was a French merchant shipping company. It was originally created in 1851 as Messageries Nationales, later called Messageries impériales, and from 1871, Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, casually known as “MesMar” or by its initials “MM”. Its rectangular house flag, with the letters MM on a white background and red corners, was famous in shipping circles, especially on the ... Read More »

History of Cruising… from the BRITANNIA to the LOVE BOAT…

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  The earliest ocean-going vessels were not primarily concerned with passengers, but rather with the cargo that they could carry. Black Ball Line in New York,?in 1818, was the first shipping company to offer regularly scheduled service from the United States to England and to be concerned with the comfort of their passengers. By the 1830s steamships were introduced and ... Read More »

The USS WILLIAMSBURG… President Harry Truman’s presidential yacht scrapped…

President Harry S. Truman and Winston Churchill aboard the presidential yacht in the 1940s.

The steel-hulled, diesel-powered yacht Aras was laid down on March 19, 1930, by the Bath Iron Works; launched on December 8, 1930; and delivered to wood-pulp magnate Hugh J. Chisholm on January 15, 1931. The Aras, a long graceful steel ship, was sold in April 1941 to the US Navy for use as a patrol gunboat and re-christened it USS Williamsburg. ... Read More »

Mid-Century style and fire safety on the SS United States. Crystal Cruises saves America’s last great ocean liner

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Crystal Cruises, knowing the values of maintaining mid-century design, are planning to bring back the SS United States 1950s and 1960s ocean liner into service. Jackie Gleason and John Wayne aboard the mid-century liner.  Upon her delivery to the United States Lines, the SS United States was most graceful, modern, powerful and sleekest vessel in the world. With her two oversized ... Read More »

The world’s first cruise ship… the Prinzessin Victoria Luise…

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The S.S. Prinzessin Victoria Luise, surely one of the most beautiful ships ever launched, had an even shorter career of only 6 years. She was not a great transatlantic liner like the RMS Titanic, rather she was the world’s first cruise ship. It was on a West Indian Cruise in 1906, where she ran aground and could not be re-floated. ... Read More »

Passenger Lists… the Bible for shipboard travel…

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Cruise History: Passenger lists were the Bibles for shipboard travel. Here is an excellent article from Cruise Travel Magazine by ship-expert Theodore W. Scull that discusses the subject in depth. Cunard Line Passenger List Monaco’s Prince Rainier and his princess, the former Hollywood star Grace Kelly, would be found on the passenger list.  They are seen here on the SS ... Read More »

The classic Italian liner SS REX in the movies…

Irving Berlin and Moss Hart, famed song writers, sail aboard the SS Rex in the 1930s...

There are three Atlantic crossings in the 1936 excellent film Dodsworth directed by William Wyler and starring Walter Huston & Ruth Chatterton. They were seen on board the RMS Queen Mary, the RMS RMS Aquitania, and the SS Rex. The film demonstrates how liners were used like today’s Jets to get back and forth from the USA to Europe. A ... Read More »

The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania – 101st Anniversary

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Saturday, May 7th marks the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania, the Liverpool-built passenger ship whose destruction sparked the United States’ decision to enter World War I in 1917. “Enlist” (mother and child drowning), by Fred Spear, June 1915. WWI recruitment poster published by the Boston Committee of Public Safety just a month after the Lusitania sinking. ... Read More »

SS CAP ARCONA… 5,000 plus dead… the other TITANICS…

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The Nazi “Titanic” and one of largest maritime disasters of all time. The 27,561 gross ton liner, named after Cape Arkona on the island of Rügen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was launched in 1927. She was considered one of the most beautiful ships of the time, was the largest German ship on the South American run, and carried upper-class travelers and steerage-class ... Read More »