Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cruising to Hawaii - 1920

As early as 1908, passengers could travel by ship from the west coast of the United States to Hawaii. In the 20s and 30s, the few accommodations that were available on the islands offered elegant accommodations. Outside the splendor of the hotels, Hawaii also offered an unspoiled tropical paradise.

Over the next few days I will post some old photos from an unknown person's cruise to Hawaii. I am estimating that it is about 1920, because one of the photos includes a 1917 Cadillac touring car.
Here we are arriving at the Honolulu Harbor.

Actually, we're probably really departing, since it says Aloha Oe - Honolulu on the bottom.  Aloha Oe (or Farewell to Thee) is Queen Lili'uokalani's most famous song, which she wrote in 1877. In any case, let's pretend we are arriving, since this is where we would have arrived on a 1920 cruise to Hawaii.

There's a lot of scaffolding on the building there to the left, the one surrounded by all the people who are either greeting us or seeing us off.  That was probably the early beginnings of the Aloha Tower and its surrounding buildings. The Aloha Tower was completed in 1926.  it would have made a great addition to this photo if it had been completed. Here's what the Aloha Tower looks like today (sort of):

Well, this is actually a cocktail glass.  The little bendy straw goes in the top. If you went to the Tower Grill at the Aloha Tower a few years ago, you could look out over the water, watch the huge cruise ships coming in, and enjoy a cocktail served in this replica of the tower.  I don't know where you'd get one now though, because the Tower Grill closed in 2007.  Anyway, back to our cruise agenda...

On our first day In Hawaii on this 1920 cruise, we head straight to the famous Moana Hotel, which opened in 1901 on Waikiki Beach. The Moana Hotel was owned by Matson Lines, which also owns the ship that brought us here. We would start out by learning how to paddle in an outrigger canoe with a native instructor. Cecil refuses to join us, and insists on remaining fully dressed with suit jacket, bow tie, and hat, watching us from the pier. He is happy to join us for cocktails afterward though, as we are soothed by Hawaiian music and hula dancing.

I don't often include video clips, but I really think these are phenomenal. The first one talks about cruise travel to Hawaii during that golden age (a little later than our time frame.)

And here's a very charming clip from a movie (Airborne Sergeant) with Gracie Allen and Eleanor Powell, enjoying a cruise to Honolulu.  It's also from a number of years later, but I'm guessing it has all the flavor of the earlier cruises to Hawaii.

Tomorrow we'll explore more of Waikiki.


  1. Christy'uokalani, I have emailed you! :)

  2. Got it, Dorin! I'll see what I can do. I'm sure there's a postcard of a hoary bat or a happy face spider somewhere around here.

  3. Wow enjoyed watching that clip. Could see that Elvis Presley enjoyed his welcome.
    Gracie did a graceful job with that skipping.

  4. Well choreographed videos to enhance the dream escape to Hawaii.

  5. Actually, the Gracie allen film is Honolulu (1939).



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