Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Thrill of Ocean Travel


The WHITE SHIPS 1927-1978 : A Tribute to Matson’s Luxury Liners. / Duncan O’Brien. Published by Pier 10 Media, 2008. 283 p. Illustrations: black and white and color. ISBN 9780968673416.

Book Review By Paul Nitchman

The WHITE SHIPS is a tribute to the 125 years of operation of Matson Navigation Company.

The White Ships, MALOLO, MARIPOSA, MONTEREY LURLINE and MATSONIA are only memories, but in their day, pre-World War II, they were some of the finest luxury liners afloat. Back in the day one could sail from the West Coast to Hawaii in 4 ½ days in The “Grand Manor”.

On “Boat Day”, thousands would jam the Honolulu piers to give visitors to the islands a big ALOHA as they arrived aboard one of those grand ships. Visitors would then disembark and be taken to the Matson owned “Pink Palace”, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, to enjoy the Spirit of Aloha. Those were the days before the airlines became transport of choice for most travelers to Hawaii.

The book is filled with many pictures, ads, posters, dining room menus from the Matson archives along with personal reminiscences of the Matson staff. It is a great book for the nostalgia buff of Hawaiiana, as well as one who has interest in the great liners of the past.

Presently, Matson’s fleet of container ships provides a vital lifeline to the economies of Hawaii and Micronesia. See Matson company online for a closer look.

This week's post features Paul Nitchman’s article and his references to ships of the Matson line. More on the Matson company can be seen at Wikipedia’s article “Matson Navigation Company”.


Paul Nitchman, Museum Volunteer on the tug Angel’s Gate during a haul-out.

Explanation of terms:
haul-out: to haul, quoted from Rene De Kerchove's International Maritime Dictionary, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1961, p. 360, “1. to move a vessel in a harbor from one pier to another…”. In the photograph above the tug boat is underway in the channel at Los Angeles Harbor.

Books in the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library are available for borrowing by Museum members. See books in collection in our online catalog.

More new book titles in the Library can be viewed at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum or online at New books and pamphlet this month!

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