S.S. President Cleveland, American President Lines, c. 1960.



1960sCommerceTransportationYokohama
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“This fall American President Lines’ new S.S. President Cleveland, America’s largest and most magnificent postwar-built liner, will sail on her maiden voyage from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu, Yokohama, Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila … S.S. President Cleveland was sponsored by Mrs. Henry F. Grady wife of the President of the American President Lines to whose transpacific services these two fine vessels are assigned by the U. S. Maritime Commission.”

Marine News, Vol. 34, 1947

“California to the Orient.” The S.S. President Cleveland, American President Lines, c. 1960. The vessel was originally ordered by the Maritime Commission during World War II, as one of the War Department’s Admiral-class troop transport ships. Cancelled as a transport in 1944, it was redesigned for post-war civilian passenger service, launched on 23 June 1946 as President Cleveland, and completed in 1947.

“Ablaze with lights, your great President Line is docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama. You’re just 18 miles away from the capital city of Tokyo – site of the 1961 Rotarian Convention. From there you can visit the seaside resort of Kamakura, spectacular Nikko National Park, the ‘Classic City’ of Kyoto, the great industrial center of Osaka.

“Everywhere you step ashore – in Japan, Honolulu, Manila, and Hong Kong – you’ll be surrounded by romance and excitement. And every mile of the way, your great President Line offers you superb food, flawless service, spacious accommodations – American luxury at its sea-going best!

“Three stately ships – the fully air-conditioned SS President Wilson and the SS President Cleveland, and the all First-Class SS President Hoover – sail from San Francisco to the Orient twice monthly the year ’round. See your Travel Agent. He’ll be happy to give you the inviting details.”

Advertisement, The Rotarian, November 1960

S.S. President Cleveland, American President Lines, c. 1960, in Hong Kong harbor. “California to the Orient – Your American hotel abroad.”

“We departed Los Angeles at noon on May 27, 1970, for a fourteen-day voyage to Japan with a one-day stopover in Hawaii aboard the SS President Cleveland.

“Our departure from Los Angeles was a gala and reminiscent of ship departures seen in the movies – the band playing, people waving, streamers being thrown from ship to shore, and the tugboat straining mightily and spewing water as it pulled the behemoth into the harbor. A shimmer ran through the ship as the huge diesels came to life and the ship crawled slowly out of the harbor and into the open sea, the land fading slowly from view. It would be four years before we saw mainland America again.

“The SS President Cleveland, originally laid out as the US Navy transport Admiral D.W. Taylor, was redesigned for American President Lines passenger service long before launch and was built in 1947 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company in Alameda, California. She was small in relation to today’s gigantic cruise ships, but she was first-class in every respect. No chrome or plastic for this lady. She was all mahogany, leather, and polished brass.

“Accommodating 379 first-class and two-hundred economy passengers, she was on a three-month round-the-world cruise. She sailed at twenty knots and rode smooth as silk. We experienced no seasickness, and the entire fourteen days were magnificent.”

A Boy from Barnhart: Times Remembered, by Herbie R. Taylor, 2011

From the wiki: “S.S. President Cleveland was an American passenger ship originally ordered by the US Maritime Commission during World War II, as one of the Admiral-class Type P2-SE2-R1 transport ships and was intended to be named USS Admiral D. W. Taylor (AP-128). The ship was laid down on 28 August 1944 at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Alameda, California, but was cancelled on 16 December 1944. Redesigned for passenger service, she was launched on 23 June 1946 as President Cleveland and completed in 1947. When American President Lines restarted its round-the-world passenger service, the President Cleveland (and its sister ship, President Wilson) were advertised as ‘your American hotel abroad’.

“The President Cleveland reached her statutory retirement age late in 1972, bringing to an end the trans-Pacific passenger service that had been carried on by the American President Lines and its predecessors without interruption (except during World War I and World War II) since 1867. The retired President Cleveland was sold to Oceanic Cruise Development, Inc. (C.Y. Tung Group) on 9 February 1973, and renamed Oriental President. The ship was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1974.”

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