SS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND – FAREWELL DINNER – CAVIAR – American President Lines passenger ship enroute to Japan and China – 1949


Menu – Farewell Dinner – SS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND – 1949
Beluga-Molossol Caviar was served for the SS President Cleveland’s “Farewell Dinner” on October 5, 1949 prior to arriving in Yokohama, Japan. The SS President Cleveland’s had just completing her trans-Pacific liner crossing from San Francisco and Los Angeles via Honolulu, Hawaii.

The sleek 1940s modern lobby of the SS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND

This was during the height of American passenger ship service. American President Lines was not alone. Grace Line, the US Lines, American Export Line, Alaska Steamship Line, Matson Line, Delta Line, Moore-McCormick Line, Bull Line, Eastern Steamship Line were all operating services with American flag ships.


SS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND – Off coast of California


Deck-side luncheon aboard the SS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND


Pool, Promenade Deck and arrival in Los Angeles, California

With the launching of the Presidents Cleveland and Wilson in 1947, American President Lines reestablished its preeminence in the passenger trade following World War 2. Designed to carry 550 passengers and a crew of 352, the ships were advertised as “your American hotel abroad.” They carried passengers from the West Coast of the USA to the Orient. This included China during the late 1940s until services were curtailed because of the Korean War. In the 1970s, with the end of the Viet Nam War and USA shipping subsidies American flag passenger service was ending. Finally in 1973 the trans-Pacific liner service ended. The President Cleveland was sold to C. Y. Tung and renamed Oriental President. The President Wilson completed her last round-the-world voyage. Her retirement marked the end of the trans-Pacific passenger service that APL and its forebears had offered since 1867. The ships lasted briefly under C. T. Tung’s Panamanian flag company and were scrapped in 1974.



About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.


  1. I crossed the Pacific April of 1960. Since I traveled economy class none of these pictures are familiar. I would love to see pictures of this section. Also, is the USS Cleveland still in service?

  2. Cynthia Smith Sopher

    I was 7 when I went across the Pacific on the USS President Cleveland. We went from Hawaii to San Francisco and then flew to my home in Columbus OH. It was a trip I will never forget. They woke us up early in the morning playing “San Francisco here I come…” I remember the long trip of watching flying fish and wondering if I’d ever see land again…and then standing there on the deck in my nightgown and seeing the lights of San Francisco through the early morning fog. The ship was elegant to me and had stores and school rooms; two swimming pools. It was quite a delight. What a nice memory.

  3. I was on board ss President Cleveland in January 1952 and ctopped at Honolulu on way to Sanfrancisco from Hong Kong. This picture really brings back fond memory.

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