Like fine hotels or private yachts, the Mariposa and Monterey carried only First class guests and promised regal pleasures on an exotic voyage to paradise. The texture of the tropics was charmingly expressed in public rooms and staterooms. The Southern Cross Lounge, Polynesian Club, Outrigger Bar and the Dining Room were all styled in the mood of Polynesia.
Matson Lines' handsome pair of ocean liners entered service in 1956 and 1957 respectively, after their conversion from Mariner class freighters. They maintained a South Pacific schedule from San Francisco to Sydney which could be booked as a line voyage or 42-day cruise with outbound calls at Los Angeles, Tahiti, Rarotonga and Auckland, returning via Auckland, Suva, Pago Pago and Honolulu. In the mid 1960s, Bora Bora was added southbound, while Noumea replaced Auckland and an off port call at Niuafo'ou was added northbound.
Mariposa and Monterey were both sold to Pacific Far East Line in 1971 who continued the South Pacific service with minor route variations. Cruises to Hawaii and later to Alaska and further afield were added to the annual schedule in the 1970's.
The smart Lurline was legendary on the Hawaii run, offering warm hospitality and pleasant diversions on five day express crossings from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu as well as occasional cuises including the neighbor islands. The time spent onboard was as much a part of a Hawaiian holiday as a day at Waikiki Beach. When the original Lurline developed serious engine problems in 1963, sister ship Monterey replaced her and took the more popular name, remaining in service until 1970.
"When superb liners expressly conceived and designed for the cruising pleasure of their passengers ply a route of legendary beauty and romance, truly, you have the ingredients for unsurpassed travel. Sail Matson through the South Pacific ... for the trip of a lifetime."
Both of Matson Lines' Lurline's were sold in turn to Chandris Lines of Greece who renamed them Ellinis and Britanis, respectively. The two ocean liners were converted to carry over 1,600 tourist class passengers each on line voyages between Europe and Australia and around-the-world.
Sample minimum one-way fares from San Francisco to Honolulu: First class $230; from San Francisco to Sydney: First class $886; Fares are per person in U.S. dollars as of spring 1969.
Go to Matson Lines sailing schedules or select schedules by ship below:
Built: 1952 by Bethlehem Steel, Quincy MA, USA
Built: 1952 by Bethlehem SB, Sparrows Pt MD, USA
Built: 1932 by Bethlehem Steel, Quincy MA, USA