LATEST

The MS St. Louis carried Jewish refugees desperate to flee Nazi Germany on a voyage of the damned.

Six months after the Nazis celebrated Kristallnacht, the German transatlantic liner MS St. Louis sailed on May 13, 1939, from Hamburg Germany. The voyage became a symbol of American and Canadian heartlessness, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. Flags were flapping in the wind and well-wishers waved from the Hamburg pier. On board, the eight-deck ship were 938 paying passengers, all but one ... Read More »

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

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 »

“Give ’em hell” Harry! President Truman aboard his 1948 campaign train heading to win re-election.

Faced with the likely loss of the 1948 presidential elections, President Harry S. Truman set out from Washington on September 17 on a twelve-day cross-country political barnstorming trip aboard the “Truman Special” from Washington Union Station. The barnstorming “Truman Special” makes a whistle-stop. At the last minute, wealthy Democrats had come through with last-minute contributions to make sure the “Truman Special” ... Read More »

Ships and Liners of Messageries Maritimes

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 »

SP’s Streamliner COAST DAYLIGHT – The most beautiful train in the world

The Southern Pacific’s Streamliner Coast Daylight was the West’s finest train into the 1950s, linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in a glorious daylight trip, streaking along the edge of the Pacific Ocean for more than a hundred breathless miles. Chair car passengers had full access to the Coffee Shop, Diner, and Tavern cars. The two Parlor cars were restricted ... Read More »

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

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 dominated ... Read More »

“LUSCIOUS” LUCIUS BEEBE… first major celebrity to have a publicly open gay relationship and a lover of trains…

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Lucius Beebe was probably the first gay men and major celebrity to have a publicly open relationship. An author, journalist, historian, raconteur, gourmet and bon vivant extraordinary – this extraordinary personality was world famous and a long time columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He loved trains and had his own private railway car. From the 1930s until ... Read More »

MS STOCKHOLM – Collided with the Italian Line’s SS ANDREA DORIA…

MS STOCKHOLM – Collided with the Italian Line’s ANDREA DORIA. The Italian press called the Stockholm the “ship of death” (La nave della morte). The Stockholm returning to New York after her collision with the Andrea Doria. Her bow severely damaged. Public rooms, the pool and staterooms aboard the Stockholm. Dining on the Stockholm At 525 feet (160.02 m) with ... Read More »

Gateway to San Francisco in the 1950s. Streamliners, the SP ferries and the Oakland Pier.

Southern Pacific Railroad’s OAKLAND PIER in the 1950s… Gateway to San Francisco… Southern Pacific was one of the nation’s major railroads with headquarters in San Francisco. It was taken over by the Union Pacific Railroad Afternoon commuters stream from SP ferry Sacramento at Oakland Pier in the early 1950s. At the peak of Service, SP’s Steamer Division handled over 26 ... Read More »

A 1929 home movie aboard a coastal liner cruising from Florida to Savannah on the SS NANTUCKET…

Known as the “Queen of Sea,” the Merchants and Miners Transportation Company Steamship Line operated one of the finest fleets of passenger steamers on the Atlantic Coast and ranked foremost as one of America’s top tourist routes. It was said to be the only line plying between Baltimore, Savannah, and Jacksonville. HOME MOVIE OF COAST-WISE TRIP FROM FLORIDA TO SAVANNAH ... Read More »

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

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 »

Alaska Steamship Company: First Class cruising to Alaska for $9.00 a day in the 1950s…

Sailing day meant excitement for the Alaska Steamship Company liners. Here is the SS Alaska sailing from Seattle in 1952. A look at the final days of the Alaska Steamship Company with a history of the famous organization that provided passenger service to the far north.  A fond farewell. The SS Denali ends the era of passenger service for the Alaska ... Read More »

Retro Thursday: Cruising to Bermuda and Nassau aboard the SS Evangeline in the 1950s…

Eastern Steamship Company was the last American Coastal steamship company offering cruises and overnight services from New York to Boston. Here is a great video of one of their ships sailing to Bermuda during the 1950s. Eastern Steamship’s SS Evangeline cruising to Bermuda 1950s… Bermuda-Nassau. 8 Day Cruises. From New York June 18, 28; July 7, 16, 26; August 4, 13, 23; ... Read More »

Crystal Cruises throws in the towel on saving the SS United States but activists continue the fight..

The S.S. United States, the world’s fastest ocean liner, won’t be sailing the seas again after all. The Titanic-size ship — which in its 1950s prime offered one of the most stylish ways to travel between New York and Europe — has been mothballed for decades, ever since jet travel ended the era of the trans-Atlantic super-liner. It is docked ... Read More »

RMS Titanic’s abandoned bodies…

It was April 23, 1912, at daybreak, out on the North Atlantic. The seascape looked every bit like a well-adorned graveyard, with an overcast sky, rolling fog and, as far as one could see, pieces of wreckage that bobbed in the swells. Doors, pillows, chairs, tables, and scattered remains were everywhere. White fragments dotted the debris — clustering and moving ... Read More »