HISTORY OF CRUISING – YOUTUBE VIDEO
Brief video on the history of cruising…
A backstage view aboard the QE2 and Norwegian Sun. Legend has it ship’s crews have more fun. While they are partying – the passengers are watching jugglers, ventriloquists or versions of old Broadway Shows! Here are two youtube videos to give you a look below deck so you can judge for yourself…
This video was made by entertainers aboard the Norwegian Sun several years ago cruising Hawaii. A backstage performance. The cruise lines need to put this on the stage instead of rejects from Vegas showrooms.
This is a charity video from the 2006 QE2 World Cruise – featuring over 500 crew members serving the famous Cunard Line ship. Everone is featured – from the Captain, chefs, ships doctors, dancers, orchestra to guys in the garbage room.
Our new video of a 1954 sailing aboard the SS ALASKA on a cruise to Alaska and the Inside Passage.
1954 ALASKA CRUISE – a retro 50s look at a style of cruising and travel now vanished.
Video Includes: Views of the ship leaving the Port of Seattle, with streamers, confetti and visitors waving goodbye – something rarely scene today. See the ship sail up the inside passage… with passengers dancing, dining, playing shuffleboard and man nostalgic scenes of an Alaska steamship far different from the massive ships sailing the Inland Passage today. The Alaska Steamship Company operated passenger service from Seattle to all ports in Alaska from 1895 until 1954. During the summer weekly sailings visited the Inside Passage. The line challenged all kinds of winter conditions and operated year round offering regular sailings as far north as Nome. These are family films and footage taken during the 1920s through the 1950s.
A CRUISING THE PAST VIDEO: Our nostalgic video look at the SS CATALINA and SS AVALON. They were called the BIG WHITE STEAMERS.
The CATALINA and the AVALON were day tourist steamships operated together from 1920 into the early 1950s — except for WW 2. The SS CATALINA continued running into the mid-1970s. They provided daily service throughout the summer from Los Angeles to Catalina Island. The SS AVALON lies at the bottom of the Pacific off the coast of Southern California. The SS CATALINA has just been scrapped. Both ships are now gone.
SS CATALINA arriving in Avalon – late 1940s or early 1950s.
The SS CATALINA, after a valiant attempt to rescue it, was taken to Mexico where she is rotting in Ensenada Harbor. There was a big deal about making the SS CATALINA a National Historical Monument. But like most “historical” endeavors in California it got lost in financial problems and endless legal action. Cheers to the memory of these ships and the great people who tried to save the SS CATALINA. The ship has been scrapped.
Story from the Los Angels Times:
SS Catalina is seaworthy no more. The once-proud steamship, which ferried millions of passengers to the island town of Avalon, is being cut for scrap after sitting for years in Ensenada harbor.
By Bob Pool
January 6, 2009
In the end, the Great White Steamer was a great white elephant.
The island town of Avalon didn’t want the SS Catalina, which for 50 glorious years ferried about 25 million people to its shores. Neither did the Port of Los Angeles, or harbors in San Diego, Vancouver and Honolulu. And, finally, neither did the Port of Ensenada.
That’s why Mexican demolition workers are putting an end to a three-decade campaign to preserve the once-proud steamship by cutting the 302-foot vessel apart for scrap.
“It’s just horrible, they’re demolishing her as we speak,” said David Engholm, who was a fan of the Catalina as a boy, met his wife because of the ship and finally was married on its deck nearly 20 years ago.
“We tried so hard to save her,” he said. “Half of her funnel was still on the ship last month, but now it’s gone. It’s very sad.”
Built at a cost of $1 million by onetime Catalina Island owner and chewing gum mogul William Wrigley, the SS Catalina plied the ocean between Wilmington and Avalon daily between 1924 and 1975.
Along with a 26-mile ocean voyage, a $2.25 round-trip ticket offered 2,200 passengers big-band orchestra music for dancing, children’s entertainment by clowns and magicians, and adult amenities such as a leather settees and drinks from a shipboard bar.
Smaller, faster ferries connecting the mainland and the island eventually spelled doom for the huge steamship, known for its crisp white paint job and deep, melodious horn that announced its departure.
Its arrival in Avalon would be heralded by circling speedboats. Children would dive into the water for coins tossed over the rail by passengers as island townspeople sang to passengers walking down the 25-foot gangplanks.
“They were probably poor kids trying to make a buck,” former passenger Dorothy Weil of Bel-Air recalled Monday. Although she was too young to drink at the ship’s bar, there was dancing to its orchestra — an unforgettable experience for a teenager in the 1940s.
During World War II, the 1,766-ton vessel with its twin 2,000-horsepower engines and football-field-size steel decks was used as a military transport. It carried 820,199 troops around San Francisco Bay before being returned to Los Angeles.
As it continued its island runs, the ocean cruise-like ship was designated a Los Angeles historical cultural landmark and a state historical landmark and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
But after its retirement following its 9,807th Catalina Channel crossing, the ship passed through several hands and sat unused for two years before a Beverly Hills developer purchased it as a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife at an auction. Hymie Singer’s $70,000, spur-of the-moment purchase came after the couple’s 32-foot cabin cruiser sank.
Ballooning dockage fees forced Singer to move the Catalina from the San Pedro area to Newport Beach, San Diego, Santa Monica Bay and Long Beach.
A 1983 plan to rehabilitate the ship and return it to island service failed. The unmanned ship twice broke loose from its moorings off Long Beach. On the first unauthorized jaunt, it ran aground. On the second, in 1985, it nearly collided with the tanker Exxon Washington before taken into tow by a tugboat that just happened to be in the area.
When the Coast Guard announced plans to seize the ship, its owner had it towed to Mexican waters, where it was promptly confiscated.
It was later towed into the Ensenada harbor, where developers announced plans to convert the Catalina into a floating tourist attraction with shops, a restaurant and a disco after authorities released it.
That plan foundered and the ship fell into further disrepair. After its solid bronze propellers were removed as part of a governmental requirement that stripped active registration from vessels unable to move under their own power, the Catalina began to sink.
Many of those who have watched the steamship’s sad decline and rusty descent into the mud of Ensenada’s harbor suggest that it sank because of water that leaked in through seals used to plug the propeller openings. Others blame damage by thieves who have looted other equipment from the ship’s engine room.
Engholm is a 44-year-old property manager who lives in Coos Bay, Ore. He met his wife-to-be while visiting Ensenada to see his favorite steamship’s renovation into a tourist attraction. They married aboard the moored vessel in 1989.
The Engholms have salvaged some of the Catalina’s original lighting fixtures, benches and cushioned seats for their home — as well as one of its 2 1/2 -ton gangplanks. They also have a huge collection of photos and other memorabilia from its ferry days.
“I tried to save the pilot house. But the demolition company didn’t get the word in time and tore it off the ship,” Engholm said.
“I’m happy to show people the collection. If you’re in Coos Bay, just give me a call. I’m listed.”
Please note: The website is being updated and new entries will be made later in the month. Trust you enjoy the many postings available now. Visit the index archives or search for various ships and lines. Thanks, the Editors…
The Italian Line’s SS Rex, launched in 1931, held the westbound Blue Ribbon between 1933 and 1935. The ship was elegant and had beautiful public rooms. It was considered one of the most beautiful liners in the world. The video chronicles the life and death of this great liner. The Rex operated transatlantic crossings from Italy with its running mate, the Conte di Savoia.
On 8 September 1944, off Koper, Rex was hit by 123 rockets launched by RAF aircraft, caught fire from stem to stern, rolled onto the port side, and sank in shallow water. The ship was broken up at the site beginning in 1947.
Cruise Ship History – Our new retro 1950s video celebrating cruising aboard Alaska Line’s SS ALASKA – First Class fares started at $190 per person – 12-Days at sea – Sailing from Seattle, Washington.
Our new 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 streamers, confetti and visitors waving goodbye — something rarely seen today. See the ship sail up the inside passage… with passengers dancing, dining, playing shuffleboard and man nostalgic scenes of an Alaska steamship far different from the massive ships sailing the Inland Passage today.
Alaska Line brochure – in 1920s – fares were $90 and up per person first class for 12-Days…
The Alaska Steamship Company operated passenger service from Seattle to all ports in Alaska from 1895 until 1954. During the summer weekly sailings visited the Inside Passage. The line challenged all kinds of winter conditions and operated year round offering regular sailings as far north as Nome. These are family films and footage taken during the 1920s through the 1950s.
The SS ALASKA sailing the inside passage…
Alaska Steamship Line vessel in Juneau – 1940s…
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