This William Francis Gibbs-designed liner was a huge gamble for Matson Lines, who was working towards making Hawaii a tourist destination. This major upgrade in passenger service would complement and support the hotels currently building on the islands; hotels they would later own.
She gained notoriety before entering service when she was rammed and remained afloat in an accident similar to the one that took out the Empress of Ireland almost 13 years to the day earlier.
Her interiors were handled by Warren & Wetmore. Artworks may not have been murals, but larger canvases, many reflecting the style of the Volcano School. By using scenes relevant to the destination, it would be an early attempt at branding Matson as Hawaii.
Ten years later, in 1937, Malolo received a major refit. Lifeboats were moved up two decks, to make room for more cabins, especially "Lanai Suites" that had become popular on the Mariposa, Monterey, and Lurline. She was renamed Matsonia.
Mary J. Coulter, D. Howard Hitchcock, Huc-Mazelet Luquiens, Fred Dana Marsh, Lionel Walden
Length: 582' | Beam: 82' | Passengers: 650 | 17,232 gross tons | Speed: 21 knots