Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sepia Saturday: Cruising

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo featuring men in suits and hats lounging on deck chairs made me chuckle. Nobody cruises like that anymore. Do they?

Some time in the summer of 1953, my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan vacationed in Hawaii, probably wanting to check out the latest addition to the American family for herself. I do not know when she WENT, but I know when she RETURNED: 10 August 1953.
Passenger and Crew list SS Lurline 10 Aug 1953
Passenger and crew list SS Lurline 10 Aug 1953

It might have been this very magazine ad that lured her there.

1953 ad

Anyone who went to Hawaii in the 1950s went on the SS Lurline. It was a first-class ocean liner, one of four in the Matson line that offered luxury cruises between the West Coast of the United States and Hawaii and Australia. A Hawaiian cruise took 4 ½ days from San Francisco to Honolulu. Most passengers spent 9 days in Hawaii before returning to California.

Since Violetta left no pictures of her fancy cruise vacation, I searched the internet for photos of the Lurline in the 1950s. I have never been on an ocean cruise, only river cruises. How different her cruise was from mine!

The Lurline was BIG, accommodating 715 passengers.
SS Lurline courtesy Wikimedia Commons
The  Amawaterways ships like the AmaKristina and AmaViola are long and low so they can go under all those old bridges on the Rhine and the Danube. They carry about 158 passengers.
AmaKristina - Photo in public domain
Staterooms on the Lurline look rather roomy.
Lurline stateroom 1950s
Not on my cruise. Upgrades for ROOMY rooms can run as high as $2000 or more PER PERSON. We did not plan to spend much time in the room. 
Our room on the AmaKristina
small but efficient and comfy
The lounge and Sundeck are much more fun while cruising.
Wendy and Barry with new friends met on the AmaKristina
Nancy and John, Patsy and Bill
A good shot of the lounge
The lounge on the Lurline was probably lovely for its time.
The lounge on the SS Lurline
The dining room on the Lurline reflected the ONE destination.
The Waikiki Dining Room on the SS Lurline 1950s
Image from Flickr
On the Amawaterways ships, seating in the dining room encourages passengers to socialize with others in comfort and style. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style for the most part supplemented with wait service for those wanting to order something special – and there was ALWAYS something special reflecting the cuisine of the country we were traveling through. Dinner was full service – IMPECCABLE. 
Dining room on the AmaKristina
Lunch with new friends Gary and Terry
on the AmaKristina
Aww, now I’m feeling nostalgic and just want to plan a vacation.

Please join me as we cruise over to Sepia Saturday for more stories and old photos.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Great to compare the various cruise ships. I knew I'd heard of the Lurline, as I've also run into passenger manifests of returns to the US by several relatives in Ancestry searches!

  2. Fun post. I wonder how today's ocean-cruise liners would compare with the river-cruisers? Easily checked online which I think I'll do for fun. Thanks for the inspiration. I've only cruised once - in Alaskan waters. I loved the gentle rocking of the ship at night when we went to bed. It lured me right to sleep. Not sure how that'd be on rough seas, however?

  3. Now that would be a fun trip to Hawaii on the cruise ship! Never been on a cruise; hope to one day. Does look like a wonderful time!


  4. I would definitely be tempted by that sunny advertisement. A fun idea to compare cruising today with cruising of more than half a century ago.

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  6. Very nice compare-and-contrast post. It's fascinating to look at what was considered luxury back in the day compared to what we are used to now. Although it seems like a lot of travel time to only spend 9 hours in Hawaii.

  7. P.S. The picture of the lounge with the piano caught me smiling as I'm singing a number called "Oceana Roll" in my community chorus's spring concert this year: "Billy McCoy was a musical boy! On the cruiser 'Alabama' he was there at the pian'a like a fish down in the sea . . . "

  8. You may remember that my grandparents, Sig and Loraine, cruised numerous times on the SS Lurline. I searched and searched everything I have to see if they might have been on the cruise with Violetta (wouldn't that have been wild?) but came up short. They cruised in 1949, 1951, 1956, 1958 and a few times in the early 60's. Here is a link to one of my posts - check out the link at the bottom showing cruising.

  9. Gosh, I thought for sure you'd have hula girls and ukuleles. Oh well, your river boat salon looks like very fine dining. :-}

  10. I've been wanting to take one of those river cruises in Europe. Looks like a lovely vacation for you and earlier for your ancestor.