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Cruise Line History – PANAMA PACIFIC LINES finished – New York to California via Havana and the Panama Canal – From 1938 TIME MAGAZINE


Many American flag steamship lines — APL, Matson, Moore-McCormick, Grace, etc. — faced a similar fate as Panama Pacific Lines did when the US withdrew their mail and operating subsidies to carry military personnel in the 1960s. The same fate happened to the American railway system in the late 1960s when the US withdrew railway post offices. The result was that the USA has no real American passengers ships, is stuck with a struggling rail service called Amtrak and the mail continues to decline in service. So much for progress.

This is the Time Magazine announcing the end of the Panama Pacific Lines…

From the May 9, 1938 issue of TIME MAGAZINE



SS California – Transiting the Panama Canal – 1930s…

When the S.S. California was built for the Panama Pacific Line in 1928, she was the largest (17,833 tons) commercial ship ever constructed on U. S. ways, the largest in the world with electric propulsion.

40017.jpgLast week, when the California tied up at Pier 61, Manhattan, near her idle sisters, Pennsylvania and Virginia, it was the first time the three vessels had ever been in port together, the last time any one of them would slip a hawser for Panama Pacific.

Panama Pacific’s coffin had three big nails in it: Last June, after Congress withdrew all ocean mail subsidies, empowering the Maritime Commission to make a new deal, Panama Pacific lost its annual $450,000 mail subsidy and got nothing in its place.

Beginning nine weeks ago, the Panama Canal changed toll charges in such a way that Panama Pacific’s annual expenses would have been increased about $37,000. Third coffin nail was a rusty West Coast labor problem.

As the line prepared last week to dismiss 1,200 men for good & all, Panama Pacific expressed the hope that the Maritime Commission would buy the three idle ships, charter them for operation by other companies between New York and the east coast of South America.


From a 1937 magazine advertisement. A year before Panama Pacific Line ended service.




More advertisements and folders about Panama Pacific Line…



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…