History of the Cruise Industry | 1945-1957


Cruising and Cruise Ships Post War (1945 to 1957)

With WWII over, the ocean liners are returned to their owners to be refit. More new ships are built and maritime technology continues to evolve such as LORAN and RADAR systems. In addition, a specialized agency was established by the United Nations to develop international maritime regulations. Furthermore, classes diminish in both air travel and cruise travel as tourist-class is introduced.

1945 – Ocean liners begin repatriating those that fought in the war and then start their refit to re-enter commercial passenger service.

1945 –The Australian government offers emigrants from the UK a one way ticket to Australia for 10 GBP (aka: “ten pound pom”) as long as they stayed for at least two years.Between the years 1945 and 1972 one million UK migrants would cruise to Australia and make the country their new home.

1945 – In April, representatives from 50 countries meet in San Francisco to draw up and sign the United Nations Charter. In October it was ratified.

1946 – Air France hires its first flight attendants and starts offering flights between Paris and New York.

1947 – After WWII, the surviving passenger ships are returned to their pre-war owners and are refitted for passenger service. For example, the Queen Mary is outfitted with air conditioning and its accommodations are altered to accommodate three different classes, First Class, Cabin Class, and Tourist Class.

1947 – After the war, Italian Line changed its name to Societa di Navigazione Italia. It orders two vessels to be delivered, Andrea Doria (1953) and Cristoforo Columbo (1954).

1947 – Cunard purchases White Star Line’s interest and changes their name from Cunard White Star Line to Cunard Line.

1947 – Pan American World Airways is the first airline to fly around the world from New York. The flight takes 13 days and makes stops in various cities including London, Istanbul, Calcutta, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, Honolulu and San Francisco.

1948 – At a United Nations Maritime Conference in Geneva held in March, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) was formally adopted as a specialised agency of the United Nations. Its main purpose is to develop and maintain international regulations and legislation for shipping including maritime safety, security and environment concerns. The name would later be changed to International Maritime Organization.

1948 – In June, an International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was held in London (UK). Its objective was to replace SOLAS 1929 since an assortment of technical developments had occurred since 1929 such as radio and radar. This convention would come into effect in 1954.

1948 – Pan American World Airways is the first airline to provide tourist class service outside the continental United States.

1949 – LORAN stations are constructed throughout Asia to assist with marine navigation.

1950 – American company, United States Lines orders United States, a 53,000-ton ocean liner that would be built to win a Blue Riband. Its construction would be subsidized by the US government in case a conversion to troop carrier was needed.

1951 – Classes onboard cruise ships start to diminish. Holland America Line (HAL) begins to offer tourist-class on its voyages on Ryndam II and Maasdam III, their ships know as the Economy Twins. Tourist-class passengers were given the run of the ship except for one upper deck restricted to first-class passengers.

1952 – Pan American World Airlines is the first airline to use the aircraft (Douglas DC-6B) built specifically for tourist-class passengers on transatlantic flights.

1952 – The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) begins its first use of routine radar for approach and departure control for airplanes.

1952 – Ocean liner, United States makes her maiden voyage. She is awarded the Blue Riband for her speed of more than 35 knots on aneastbound Atlantic voyage. She takes three days and 10 hours.

1954 – SOLAS 1948 comes into effect.

1954 – Survitec Group (New Zealand) manufacturers the first liferaft to be approved by International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

1955 – Pan Am orders the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 (delivery date 1958).

1956 – Societa di Navigazione Italia’s Andrea Doria collides with cruise ship, Stockholm and sinksoff the coast of Nantucket. The ships were navigating in heavy fog with radar. Unfortunately they were on a collision course. Although 46 died in this accident, 1,600 passengers and crew survived.

1956 – In March, the Suez Canal reopens after its completion of dredging and widening for ships up to 40,000 tons. Previously, Egypt had sunk a number of ships as retaliation with a few other countries, making the Suez impassable.

1957 – P&O orders Canberra and Orient Line orders Oriana.


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