Sailing to Hawaii on the SS LURLINE…

William Matson had first come to appreciate the name in the 1870s while serving as skipper aboard the Claus Spreckels family yacht Lurline (a poetic variation of Loreley, the Rhine river siren) out of San Francisco Bay. Matson met his future wife, Lillie Low, on a yacht voyage he captained to Hawaii; the couple named their daughter Lurline Berenice Matson. ... Read More »

SS NORMANDIE and RMS QUEEN MARY during World War 2

Ocean Liner History: SS NORMANDIE and RMS QUEEN MARY during World War 2 Video of the SS Normandie The war found the French Line’s elegant trans-Atlantic ocean liner SS Normandie in New York. Soon Cunard’s RMS Queen Mary, later refitted as a troop ship, docked nearby. Then the RMS Queen Elizabeth joined the Queen Mary. For two weeks the three ... Read More »

On a Mission to Save Cruise Ship and Ocean Liner Décor

Peter Knego at Alang (India) in 2005 with the former RMS WINDSOR CASTLE. Photo by Kaushal Trivedi, copyright MidShipCentury.com 2005. Peter Knego is a top authority on passenger maritime history along with being a major cruise travel journalists. His excellent stories on ships are featured regularly on the Maritime Matters website. But when he’s not doing all that, he is ... Read More »

2011 Hotel Review: London’s elegant historic Athenaeum Hotel is our choice for the best in London.

Hotel Review: London’s elegant historic Hotel Athenaeum is our choice for the best in London. A boutique FIVE STAR PLUS gem with a link to the past. One can never capture the feeling of cruising the past in most hotels today.  That chic traveling public is gone.  Clients arriving from a trans-Atlantic crossing on the liners Queen Mary or United ... Read More »

US LINES – S.S. America… the Lady who died of shame – Luxury Liner, Troop Carrier, Immigrant Ship, Casino, Prison Hulk

Great YOUTUBE video from www.shipgeek.com of the S.S. AMERICA: taking a final break from her trans-Atlantic service on a cruise to Bermuda in 1963. The following year one of the last American flag liners would be sold off for immigrant travel from the UK to Australia. UNITED STATES LINES: S.S. America…  Luxury Liner, Troop Carrier, Immigrant Ship, Casino, Prison Hulk ... Read More »

SS UNITED STATES beating all odds is saved.

In 1964, former SS United States purser Jim Green returned to the ship as a passenger for a West Indies cruise along with his beloved wife Frieda. Here, set to the music of the ship’s own orchestra, is a nostalgic journey back to cruising the past. Beating the odds, a small group of ship-lovers is finally taking ownership of the ... Read More »

Contemporary portrait artist Juan Bastos carries on the tradition of John Singer Sargent.

Social History: Contemporary portrait artist Juan Bastos carries on the tradition of  John Singer Sargent. “A number of Juan Bastos’ portraits remind me of [John Singer] Sargent.” Gore Vidal YouTube video on the Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (originally titled Portraits d’enfants). A painting by John Singer Sargent. (Left: Gore Vidal’s painting by Juan Bastos) Juan Bastos has the unique ... Read More »

Social History – The traditional past and Locke-Ober… still the Boston Brahmin dining retreat!

American social history: Locke-Ober… the grand French restaurant in Boston. The Brahmin city is so lucky.   Jack’s in San Francisco and Perino’s in Los Angeles are gone.   So are most of the wonderful American traditional restaurants.  These were dining establishments that would have never permitted some parvenu wearing a baseball cap or backpack to dine amongst the swells.   ... Read More »

Marilyn Monroe and the Hotel Del Coronado – Billy Wilder’s fabulous film SOME LIKE IT HOT!

Social History: Marilyn Monroe and the Hotel Del Coronado – Billy Wilder’s fabulous film SOME LIKE IT HOT! Hotel del Coronado (also known as The Del and Hotel del) is a beachfront luxury hotel in the city of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California. A youTube look at the Hotel Del Coronado… It is one ... Read More »

SAILING THE GREAT LAKES on the SS SOUTH AMERICAN and SS NORTH AMERICAN

Cruise and liner history: SAILING THE GREAT LAKES on the SS SOUTH AMERICAN and SS NORTH AMERICAN The history of commercial passenger shipping on the Great Lakes is long but uneven. It reached its zenith between the mid-19th century and the 1950s. As early as 1844, palace steamers carried passengers and cargo around the Great Lakes. By 1900, fleets of ... Read More »

The Nomadic will be restored. The tender ferried passengers to the RMS Titanic.

The Nomadic and the RMS Titanic Cruise Liner History:  Belfast, Northern Ireland. Harland and Wolff shipyard has won a £2 million contract to help restore the boat which ferried passengers to the Titanic. The money was awarded by the European Union with additional funding from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and will primarily cover work associated with the steelwork and ... Read More »

Liner History: Messageries Maritimes (Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes)

Ocean Liner History: Messageries Maritimes (Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes) In 1835 the French Government created a state owned steamship service between Marseilles and the Levant. This continued until 1851 when it was transferred to the management of Messageries Nationales (the state operated road communication concern). The shipping side of the business was split from the road activities in 1852 under ... Read More »

Khedivial Mail Line once operated service between Egypt and New York.

Khedivial Mail Line once operated service between Egypt and New York.   As history records the event in Cairo… here is a blog on Egypt’s once excellent trans-Atlantic steamship service. SS Mohamed Ali el-Kebir The original name of the company is unknown but it is thought that it was founded in 1858. The Khedivial Mail Steamship & Graving Dock Co. was ... Read More »

American Export Lines: The popular “FOUR ACES” – EXCAMBION, EXETER, EXOCHORDA, and EXCALIBUR.

American Export Lines: A view of one of the popular “FOUR ACES” – EXCAMBION, EXETER, EXOCHORDA, and EXCALIBUR. (Above: Dining room) These combination passenger-cargo ships carried the American flag to ports around the Mediterranean from their late 1940s launch until the mid-1960s. (Left to right: Main Lounge and Bar) They carried 124 passengers in First Class and were among the ... Read More »

Alaska Steamship Company’s SS ALASKA Cruise – Retro Cruise Video – 1954

To play video – press the above play (>) button in center of photo… This is a wonderful historical video of a 1954 sailing aboard the SS ALASKA on a cruise to Alaska and the Inside Passage. A retro 50s look at a style of cruising and travel now vanished. Views of the ship leaving the Port of Seattle, with ... Read More »

Review: The New York Palace Hotel and Towers. A modern hotel with an historical facade.

Review:  The New York Palace Hotel and Towers.   A modern hotel with an historical facade. The New York Palace possesses a prestigious heritage. More than a century ago, Henry Villard, one of the nation’s most prominent financiers, commissioned McKim, Mead & White to create a residence of singular style.  Villard  was president of the Northern Pacific Railway.  When his railroad ... Read More »

Cruising The Past looks at New York debutants aboard the Homeric. With a link to Brenda Frazier and current “bows” in society.

New York debutante party in the 1950s aboard Home Line’s HOMERIC dockside. (Left – Home Lines S.S. Homeric at her New York pier on February 15, 1969 just before sailing to Nassau.) The SS HOMERIC was used for society events in New York Harbor.  The ship was originally the SS Mariposa.  She was a luxury ocean liner launched in 1931; ... Read More »

Very rare footage of the MS GRIPSHOLM in the 1920s and Greta Garbo!

Rare candid moment of Greta Garbo’s departure from Sweden in 1929 aboard the Swedish American Line’s MS GRIPSHOLM. Greta Garbo made her first voyage to the USA on the Drottningholm in 1925. The video of her departure from Gothenburg in this clip, after a brief visit to Sweden. For the following information we wish to thank Lars Hemingstam and his ... Read More »

2011 New Year firsts for Cunard Line: a float in the Rose Parade and their First Female Captain.

2011 New Year firsts for Cunard Line: a float in the Rose Parade and the first Female Captain.  2011 proves to be the year for the the great new Cunard liners: MS QUEEN MARY, MS QUEEN ELIZABETH AND MS QUEEN VICTORIA. For the first time, Cunard Lines has appointed Captain Inger Klein Olsen as its first female captain in the ... Read More »