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Old July 6th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Default Reflections of the Good Old Days of Cruising!,

I came across an old cruise scrapbook from the early 80's on the Carnival Festivale...it brought back memories of how much fun we had on that cruise and how less complicated a cruise was back in the day...great bon voyage party, far fewer activities but it seem more guests took part, cabins were very basic, menus were basic but the food was very good, midnight buffets really raunchy pool games (no one was offended) on formal night you actually shook hands with the Captain and I paid $600 for an inside cabin..

I rediscovered why I fell in love with cruising by going thru this scrapbook....That love was reinforced on 2009 on a River Cruise on Peter Deilmann in the South of France and on a Maine Windjammer Cruise last year..Every year since 2005 I go on a full charter smooth jazz cruise which combines my two passions cruising and jazz

For those of you that have cruised on today's megaships, is more better then less?
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Old July 6th, 2013, 04:47 PM
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The only mega ship I have been on is the Epic.It's amazing how much has changed since I started cruising in 1990. Getting there was less of a hassle too, which highlights why so many more home ports have opened up..no flying is a good deal.

One of the major differences is, the dreaded dress code. I admit, I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming to get to the point where I am now...with all the fees the airline charges us, the less baggage, the easier. I caved...

I don't participate much, or use what most would consider the new fangled attractions on ships, and admittedly, don't like the amusement aspect of some of the newer ships.. Ships don't look like ships so much anymore. I do love the pay dining options, so many gastronomical delights to try.

What I do not appreciate is the day the booking opens for dining and entertainment, it's like a stampede to get what you want, as times and options, can dissapear, as you try to maneuver the site.

I guess I would appreciate a little more of the golden/glory days of cruising, with a sprinkling of the new
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Old July 6th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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My first real cruise was in 1998. I did do and Atlantic and a Pacific crossing before that but those are long stories.

In my opinion cruising back in 98 was more elegant and more classy and the food was better.
I do love the Royal megaships of today and will continue to cruise occasionally, but a bit of the shine has disappeared from cruising as far as I am concerned.

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Old July 6th, 2013, 07:37 PM
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My first cruise was on the Cunard Ambassador in 1973 .There were no shore excursions .Every dinner was a jacket and tie for men .The on board activities were skeet shooting abd shuffleboard .
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Old July 6th, 2013, 08:05 PM
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I did not mind dressing up for formal night.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by venice View Post
I did not mind dressing up for formal night.
I like to dress up for formal nights.

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Old July 7th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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I didn't begin cruising until 2006 and took my last cruise on the Epic in 2012 so for me at least cruising hasn't changed that much.

Nevertheless, the lifestyle aboard trans oceanic travel prior to air travel, appealed greatly to me. Juxtaposed to today, I probably would have had to go in Steerage were I to have crossed the North Atlantic on one of the great liners were I to have traveled but what caught my attention was the elegant lifestyle. the amount of courtesy and the interesting conversations and other pursuits found "back in the day."

While admittedly (for me at least) the absolutely ugliest ship on which I ever laid eyes, much less traveled upon, was the NCL Epic in 2012, I nevertheless had a glorious time with all of the various activities available. Also, as a passenger, one can't of course "view the ship," so it turned out to me to be more of a "water off a duck's back" type of thing.

I probably shall not cruise again for a myriad of reasons, but I shall retain my marvelous memories.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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I probably shall not cruise again for a myriad of reasons, but I shall retain my marvelous memories.
I will do plan to do some cruises in the future but not as much as I did in the past.
Todd, I do agree with you that the memories will remain.,

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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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The cruiselines are caught in the crosshairs...trying to appeal to an older, well funded retirement base who remember the image of cruising for the rich, formal nights, afternoon tea, white glove service and today's target market of younger working class families and non traditional diverse future generation who demand 24/7 action on the seas

NCL may have been the first cruiseline in the early 70's to appeal to the masses, Princess Love Boat image may have raise the awareness of cruising to the public, but Carnival nailed it

My cruise on the Festival in the early 80's captured both the old school and emerging next generation of cruising...it was my first real vacation (a concept that my parents generation could never conceive) where I was catered to 24/7, and the majority of my fellow cruisers were trying to figure out why I was there and how I could afford it (in the early 80's I often was the only minority cruising as a guests). During that same period I cruised Cunard and hated it.

In this era when folks have taken 10+ cruises in their lifetime, it must be hard to generate the passion when cruising was a once in a lifetime treat
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Not exactly a cruise but my father came to the US from Poland in 1913 . I recently saw photos of the ship and the dinner menu .Much to my suprise many of the foods on the menu are served today on cruise ships .
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice View Post
.

In this era when folks have taken 10+ cruises in their lifetime, it must be hard to generate the passion when cruising was a once in a lifetime treat
Personally, I find that if I cruise too often it does seem like less of a treat. I will try to do a cruise once a year or so.

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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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Personally, I find that if I cruise too often it does seem like less of a treat. I will try to do a cruise once a year or so.

TM
I've been cruising about 5 or 6 times a year, and if I had the money, and opportunity, I'd cruise at least once a month. I NEVER tire of the fun, relaxation, and pleasure of meeting lots, and lots of new people. Bring on the cruises,,,I'm ready!

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Old July 7th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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I've found that cruising across the years has always had its plusses and minuses. For those who are adaptable and open to change, the plusses pretty much always win the day.

Our first cruise was in 1976 on the old Sitmar line, and a number of cruises followed quickly on Sitmar and Cunard. Naturally, the ships back then were nothing compared to what's afloat today, but the service and the food were markedly superior. You always got to meet and chat with the captain and crew, and I remember our captain--Augusto Lagomarsini--from that first cruise very well. A legend at Sitmar, later Commodore of the Princess fleet. "Lago," as he insisted we call him, invited us up to the bridge and let us take the helm, which wasn't a joystick, but a big wooden wheel! Amazing.

On that first cruise Terry, trying to be sophisticated, asked our waiter, "Is the ice cream Italian." I never forgot his answer: "Well, we make it in the back and we're all Italian, so, yeah!"

Lots has changed, but today the advantages are in the much wider variety of activities and in much more inviting cabins. I'm also convinced that attaining the highest level of frequent cruiser status is very valuable on most lines, and not for snob appeal. The perks are significant, and make a big difference in the overall experience. And while the food quality has obviously declined over the years, on a good night in a specialty restaurant you can sometimes still be reminded of those great shipboard meals of the past.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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My favorite all time cruise was on the Stella Maris (Royal Olympic Cruise line) out of Athens in the early 90's. There were 12 Americans (out of 300) and the service was incredible...
It was my first cruise to Europe and every night our dinner conversations were lively with fellow cruisers from Europe and South Africa...very different experience from the caribbean main line cruises

Sky...I envy you that you have not lost your passion by cruising that many times per year...
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Old July 7th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by skymaster View Post
I've been cruising about 5 or 6 times a year, and if I had the money, and opportunity, I'd cruise at least once a month. I NEVER tire of the fun, relaxation, and pleasure of meeting lots, and lots of new people. Bring on the cruises,,,I'm ready!

"SKY"
It's great that you can enjoy so many cruises. There sure are many adventures to enjoy out there.

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Old July 7th, 2013, 09:56 PM
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Rob and I didn't start cruising until our younger daughter was a senior in college in 1998. Back then, cruising was more rigid with the formal nights and either first or second seating for dinner. I like the fact that cruising is more flexible now with "anytime dining" for those that don't want "time constraints". Society has changed and as with everything, the cruise industry is a "consumer driven" industry. What I also like is that there are large ships, medium ships, and small ships so everybody has a choice. The large ships offer more amenities but lose the intimacy of the medium and smaller ships. Having a port within driving distance from your home makes cruising much more affordable. Once Rob and I went on our first cruise, we were hooked!
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:24 PM
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Back then, cruising was more rigid with the formal nights and either first or second seating for dinner. I like the fact that cruising is more flexible now with "anytime dining" for those that don't want "time constraints".
Yes, this is an excellent point. We tend to be independent souls when it comes to pleasure travel. Funny, but both our careers were spent in detail-oriented jobs, so we always enjoyed "winging it" on vacations, and still do to a large extent. We certainly don't over plan, which is why we never particularly cared for the set mealtimes. The trend toward anytime dining has been a boon for us.

On the dress code issue, I was never a big fan of tuxedos on cruises, but I went along with the program out of respect for the traditions of the sea and for fellow passengers. I found the boors who stridently said here and elsewhere that "I paid my fare and I'll dress any way I please" to be disgusting. I've never had anything against the damn tuxes; it's just that during my working life I had regular "tuxedo events," so climbing into them on ships was never "special" or particularly enjoyable. Just more stuff to schlep around. And in truth, I never have quite understood what women find so "sexy" about every man in sight dressed alike, but those issues are above my pay grade. In any event, mine is in a bag in the closet and probably has moth holes in it by now. I'm glad the rules have been relaxed somewhat, and it wouldn't bother me if they did away with formal nights altogether. I think they keep them around for the photo business.

One thing I'm pleased about these days is that you pretty much have to have a passport to go on any cruise. One of the main topics on this site used to be posts like, "I'm going to Aruba, Martinique and St. Thomas. Do I need a passport or can I get away with a Starbuck's card and an old Army dogtag?" Finally, a travel writer who used to post here, and who was a great friend of many of us finally had enough. She put up a scathing post that said in very specific terms that if you can't afford a passport you can't afford international travel, so get over it and get one, or just shut up.

I'm not sure it had much of an impact, but the State Department certainly did when the rules were tightened.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Yes, this is an excellent point. We tend to be independent souls when it comes to pleasure travel. Funny, but both our careers were spent in detail-oriented jobs, so we always enjoyed "winging it" on vacations, and still do to a large extent. We certainly don't over plan, which is why we never particularly cared for the set mealtimes. The trend toward anytime dining has been a boon for us.

On the dress code issue, I was never a big fan of tuxedos on cruises, but I went along with the program out of respect for the traditions of the sea and for fellow passengers. I found the boors who stridently said here and elsewhere that "I paid my fare and I'll dress any way I please" to be disgusting. I've never had anything against the damn tuxes; it's just that during my working life I had regular "tuxedo events," so climbing into them on ships was never "special" or particularly enjoyable. Just more stuff to schlep around. And in truth, I never have quite understood what women find so "sexy" about every man in sight dressed alike, but those issues are above my pay grade. In any event, mine is in a bag in the closet and probably has moth holes in it by now. I'm glad the rules have been relaxed somewhat, and it wouldn't bother me if they did away with formal nights altogether. I think they keep them around for the photo business.

One thing I'm pleased about these days is that you pretty much have to have a passport to go on any cruise. One of the main topics on this site used to be posts like, "I'm going to Aruba, Martinique and St. Thomas. Do I need a passport or can I get away with a Starbuck's card and an old Army dogtag?" Finally, a travel writer who used to post here, and who was a great friend of many of us finally had enough. She put up a scathing post that said in very specific terms that if you can't afford a passport you can't afford international travel, so get over it and get one, or just shut up.

I'm not sure it had much of an impact, but the State Department certainly did when the rules were tightened.
This is almost exactly what I was going to say.

On the first few cruises it was sort of fun to dress up. I owned a tuxedo long before I started cruising and wearing one wasn't too much of "an event". I did have to buy a new one shortly after we started cruising because the old one "shrank".

In about 2005 - 2006 we were ready to give up on cruising. The herd mentality was getting to both of us. Eat at 8:30 p.m., but make sure to let the maitre'd, your fellow tablemates, waiter and the guy you saw cleaning your window, know that you wouldn't be there the next night. Make sure you bring a wad of cash or stand in line at the ATM (if the ship had one) or guest services for an hour so you can fill up the little envelopes and distribute them to the service staff. It really got old.

We then cruised on NCL and loved it. Eat when and where you want and no worries about tips or wearing a tuxedo or gown. You don't dress like a slob but you don't have to try to impress anyone to eat a meal. Then we cruised Oceania and Azamara and loved it. Now almost all cruise lines have relaxed the dress code, streamlined the tipping process and have given you flexible dining options. If they hadn't, my cruise count would be around 20.

I also agree with the passport statement: Just get the passport.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 8th, 2013, 02:29 PM
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I recently read that 50% of first time cruisers today are on a theme cruise (did not state whether it was a private charter or a large group on a regular sailing)...I think the "common thread" of the "theme" for a first time cruiser changes the dynamics of the cruise experience

I always enjoy on the first night at dinner on my full charter jazz cruise, meeting 1st timers who have never been on a cruise before who had extensive conversations with friends and family members who had sailed on regular cruises (but never theme cruises)..Their family/friends have placed certain expectations into their minds about what to expect...short of the safety drill and shore excursions, sign/sail card and the safety policies, there is nothing in common with a regular cruise

The excitement of the first cruise is enhanced with the addition of the "theme"( in our case Grammy Award artists every night) for the first timers. Having 3000+ fellow cruisers who share the same passion (theme) keeps it exciting for even the most veteran cruisers

The irony is if your first cruise experience was a theme cruise..if your next cruise is a non theme (regular sasiling) cruise, most are disappointed in spite of saving $$$$
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Old July 8th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Oddly enough, I dug out the old TUX just last week to attend a "40's" party, and I was dressing as "Frank". Still fits, but I had a hellava time finding the studs and cuff links. I haven't worn the tux on a cruise for at least 8 or 10 years, and frankly, haven't missed it. Now I wear a suit, and tie, and am in the minority when I do that. I think I'll take the tux to the Salvation Army thrift store. Maybe someone else will enjoy it.

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Old July 8th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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Like wide silk ties from the 1930's, a well fitted tux will come back in fashion at some point in the future...living in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season requires owning a good tux..the last time I wore a tux on a cruise was 2005

Women are lucky..a black cocktail dress is always in fashion on a cruise
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Old July 9th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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IMO, women ALWAYS look GREAT in that "little black dress".

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Old July 9th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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Same goes for the dress uniform of any branch of the service..I'm somewhat patial to Air Force dress blues for fighter pilots
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