1933: An Ocean Liner Begins Her Maiden Voyage in New York City

January 12, 1933

The ocean liner SS Lurline left New York City for her maiden voyage. She subsequently traveled to San Francisco via the Panama Canal and then to Sydney, Australia, and other ports in that region of the world. 

This luxurious ship was the third Matson Lines vessel named Lurline. She also had the distinction of being the last of four state-of-the-art ocean liners designed by renowned naval architect William Francis Gibbs and built for Matson Lines for service between the western coast of the United States and both Autralasia (the Pacific region comprising Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and neighboring islands) and Hawaii. Lurline’s sister ships were SS Malolo, SS Mariposa, and SS Monterey. 

Lurline proved to be a popular ocean liner throughout the 1930s, and her many passengers during the time included aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. In December 1934, Earhart sailed on Lurline from Los Angeles to Honolulu with her Lockheed Vega airplane on the ship’s deck. The following month, Earhart used the airplane for her record-setting solo flight from Honolulu to Oakland. 

During World War II, Lurline served as a troopship operated by the U.S. War Shipping Administration. Her other wartime contributions included transporting Australian Prime Minister John Curtin to the United States for a conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After the war, Lurline was returned to Matson Lines and extensively refitted to resume service as a leading Pacific Ocean liner. This ship was sold to Chandris Lines in 1963 and renamed SS Ellinis. She remained in operation under that new name until 1981. After more than a half-century of passenger services, this ship was scrapped in Taiwan in 1987.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

A video about SS Lurline is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAVWgJzanik

For more information on Matson Lines’ ships, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matson,_Inc.

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