This silent film, a home movie from 1958, shows a cruise to Hawaii aboard the liner SS Matsonia, the former SS Monterey. This was one of the last if not the last visits of the ship to Honolulu, as passenger service to the islands began to lose ground to air travel. At 5:00 men swim near the liner and it approaches the docks. At 5:18 the famous Aloha tower is shown on the quay. At 5:30 the Matson embarkation facility is shown and at 5:45 passengers leave on the gangplank. At 6:00 a resort on Waikiki Beach is shown, most likely the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.The Halona Blow Hole is shown at 8:00. At 8:50 a swimming pool is seen while guests in formal wear walk by the deck. At 9:25 a stunning sunset over the resort. At 13:24 hula dancers perform and guitar playing women serenade the tourists.At 17:00 a grander hula act is shown. At 27:00, a memorial is shown, likely dating to WWII, as well as a small church. At 28:35 a beautiful rainbow is shown over the Waikiki area. At 29:40 the ship departs Honolulu's Pier 10 amidst streamers and confetti. At 30:00 another ship with the letter H on the stacks is seen in port. This is likely the SS President Roosevelt during her time as a liner in service for the ill-fated Hawaiian Steamship Company.
SS Monterey was a luxury ocean liner launched on 10 October 1931. The ship was completed April 1932 and is shown in registers as a 1932 ship.Monterey was the third of the four ships of the Matson Lines "White Fleet", which were designed by William Francis Gibbs and also included SS Malolo, SS Mariposa and SS Lurline. Monterey was identical to Mariposa and very similar to Lurline. During World War II Monterey was used as a troopship operated by Matson as agents of the War Shipping Administration (WSA). Monterey was a large, fast transport capable of sailing independently and was allocated to serving Army troop transport requirements.The ship was involved in an attack on a convoy near Cape Bougaroun. On 26 September 1946 the Monterey arrived at Bethlehem-Alameda Shipyard in Alameda, California for refitting and return to passenger service with Matson. Money ran out on the project after 30% of the work had been completed. For five years she sat idle in Alameda, then was purchased by the US Government in August 1952. She was towed to the mothball fleet in nearby Suisun Bay.
Meanwhile, Matson was enjoying fair post-war success with Lurline and was looking to expand their passenger operation once more. Matson had a C4 "Mariner" class vessel undergoing conversion to a cruise ship for the Oceania and Australasia region; this ship was originally named Free State Mariner but Matson had renamed her Monterey. Matson bought the old mothballed SS Monterey back from the US Government on 3 February 1956 and had to come up with a new name for her: she was rechristened SS Matsonia, replacing their earlier Matsonia which had been sold to Home Lines in 1954 and subsequently renamed. The new Matsonia (ex-Monterey) first sailed from New York to San Francisco on 22 May 1957 to team up with her sister Lurline on the San Francisco – Los Angeles – Honolulu run.
Within five years, profits from passenger service had fallen to the point where Matson decided to anchor Matsonia indefinitely in San Francisco Bay. Sister ship Lurline continued to operate but suffered a major turbine problem in February 1963; one that would require costly repairs. Instead of repairing Lurline, Matson sold the well-loved ship to Chandris Lines to be rechristened Ellinis. Stung by poor public opinion regarding the maneuver, Matson rechristened the former Matsonia (ex-Monterey) as the new Lurline on 6 December 1963 and returned her to service.
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