Leave San Francisco aboard ship and in 4-1/2 days you'd be coming around the bend of Diamond Head towards the harbor in Honolulu. I've said before it was a wonderful way to travel and an incredible place for two little girls to play. Running up and down the passageways, by the gift shop, across the wooden decks, out to the fantail to eat lunch. Glorious time. 

Matson advertisement 1960_tatteredandlost
(Source: Paradise of the Pacific 1960, No. 11, Vol. 71)  Click on image to see it larger.

Once you arrived on the island that was not your last encounter with the ships. As military families you always had friends coming and going so you often went back down to the Aloha Tower to see ships arrive or set sail. This meant you got to be part of the big party that took place on the docks. A small Hawaiian band would play, there were dancers, and best of all there were streamers. Those onboard would stand at the railing looking down on us and fling long streamers from the ship to the dock. Thousands of different colored tendrils were soon stretching across the expanse. My friend and I loved grabbing as many streamers as we could to make into a huge pile of paper to hide in. There was also always a man with a wide broom sweeping the paper into large piles making our "job" a lot easier. It was all giggles, colors, and noise. Grand times.

Here is someone's home movie of the Lurline as it arrives in Honolulu.

And this, though it has really dreadful music, also shows the fun of sailing on a Matson Liner. Why they chose this music, well who knows what they were thinking, It's an old travel film made back on the Mainland far away from the land of strumming ukuleles. Personally I don't remember any "race horses" when we were onboard, but I might be wrong. I think by the late 50s they'd done away with that. This was just a film to be shown to potential travelers. We weren't given a choice so we never saw any travel films. We were told "You're going to Hawaii." Well actually my father was given a choice. It was Oahu or Kodiak, Alaska. My mother said "NO!" to Alaska. Good thing.


  1. What lovely organ music! lol And an interesting choice of songs for the cruise over...circus music! lalalalala Apparently the organ player only had 3 songs in his/her repertoire! :)

    Travelogues certainly have come a long way, haven't they? The sonorous voice of the narrator made me want to jump right on a cruise ship! lol

    How right your mother was to choose Hawaii! Alaska is a lovely place to visit (in the summer), but I would definitely not want to live there.

  2. Actually as a kid I wanted Alaska because my dad told me we'd have Kodiak bears outside our door. That sounded great to me. So my dad and I wanted Alaska. My mom was the only vote for Hawaii. Yeah, good choice.

    That organ music is soooooooo bad. It's amazing they didn't even bother to do some sort of faux Hawaiian. Yeah, circus music.What were they thinking?