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Everything posted by CGTNORMANDIE

  1. You might not have to wait too long for NCL to go under. It looks like they are already in rough shape.
  2. Great pics Ryndam! The Emerald Seas was a beloved ship. I never heard one bad word from anyone who sailed on her. I believe she was first used as a war transport as the a General Richardson...and then refurbished ( off the top of my head without referencing). She was a great ship that introduced thousands to the joy of cruising.
  3. So glad you noticed RK. Let me tell you about the Bremen. She was originally the Pasteur built by the French Line...CGT...Companies General Transatlantique...in 1939...for the Far East trade. She was brand new when the war started so she was commandeered by the Allies and pressed into war service for the duration. At some point the German HAPAG bought her and gave her a complete overhaul. She became the flagship of the HAPAG fleet and she was the pride of the resurgent German merchant fleet. She first sailed, the transatlantic route, in 1958. The Bremen (pronounced Bramen...long A) was old world. This was a classic liner from “the old school”. When you boarded, for embarkation, there was a huge rough woven hemp mat at the entry and the Captain and officers were lined up to welcome each guest...as the crew Ump Pah Pah band played the old songs from decades past. You were then ushered into the main lounge at 3:00-4:00 PM for formal tea with Viennese pastries and a trio of violins playing waltzes. The Bremen was a class act and her decedents of HAPAG LLOYD still garner top ratings to this day. Bremen was a very comfortable ship. Every afternoon around 5:00 PM, just before first seating in the dining room, there would be organ and zither music in the paneled Black Forest Room. Cocktails were expertly made and Lowenbrau drafts were .25 cents for a pint in a HAPAG clay stein. As a beer drinker at the time, I was mightily impressed...although they made some mean tiki drinks, Planters Punch, Singapore Slings, Mai Tai’s etc. at .75 cents! At those prices you didn’t need a booze package! The dining room was sumptuous. It was pale blue with really comfortable seating and great old world table service with fine china and silver. I still remember the large portholes surrounded by highly polished brass. As honeymooners ( honeymoonens as the Germans called us...lol) we were seated at a table for two and had a young waiter who was obviously new and not what I expected. Fortunately a jovial couple from New York City took us under their wing and we then made a table for four with one of the best waiters we have ever had...and we have had some great ones. The food was memorable...a European menu with some German and ethnic dishes tossed in including French, Dutch, English, Italian, Greek and Chinese. The breakfasts were particularly memorable...German pancakes with sour cherry compote and the best Thuringia breakfast sausages you ever had. I still dream of those sausages! The formal nights were special...tuxedoes and gowns. There were bottles of Henkel sparkling wine on each table with refills offered. The menu was special, white asparagus, filet with port wine sauce, venison, etc. Every night they offered a late night supper with German delicatessen specialties...just for those who were partying and dancing to the live orchestra and in need of a snack. They had a small Caberet in the bottom of the ship where the night owls would meet. I remember the special Gala Midnight Buffet that they had once on each cruise. It was the most spectacular buffet I ever saw at sea and I have seen some great ones. This buffet had all the high end delicacies...giant shrimp, split lobsters, Malosol caviar on ice throne, venison, pheasant, smoked ribs on and on...unbelievable! The Bremen wasn’t new and she was starting to show a bit of exterior wear and tear but she was one of the great ships of state that we were so lucky to have sailed on. Bremen was later sold to Chandris about a year later and had a brief career with them. I had a very extensive HAPAG LLOYD collection that was part of my ocean liner memorabilia collection that I donated to The Peabody Essex (marine) Museum last year.
  4. Thanks Green, I have no doubt that we will all be cruising again in the no too distant future. 🙂
  5. I well remember all the excursions and touring. There comes a time when you have reached the saturation point. Once you have climbed all the mountains, seen all the museums and swam in all the oceans, etc, etc. you get the urge to chill. As the new ships got bigger with more extensive amenities it became easier to make the ship your destination. Lest you get the wrong impression of all my sybaritic doings onboard... Our last cruise was in 2017 (three months later I was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure which totally killed our cruise plans) and we, DW and I, agreed to stay onboard from now on. Hopefully, we will all be able to resume cruising somewhere down the road when this Covid19 insanity gets resolved (and I receive a new kidney). I am heartened to see how many here are looking forward to resume cruising. Chemmo hit the target when he said, “most of us will just walk around with large contented smiles on our faces”. Isn’t it ironic how we appreciate the insignificant and mundane once we are deprived of them.
  6. Thank you RK, Heidi and Ryndam. Your memories are treasures with snippets of ships that are long gone. Please keep them coming. You are a part of history. Ryndam, loved your pics of the Mary. Just looking at those beautiful paneled passageways brought back great personal memories...and just thinking of the craftsmanship that went into building that great ship. Heidi, I was always fascinated with Oriana and Uganda. I almost booked an Oriana Med. cruise way back in the early 70’s. Uganda looked like a very comfortable ship. I remember looking at cruises on Uganda but like a kid in the candy store I ended up choosing a cruise closer to home. Choosing a cruise back then was so easy. There wasn’t a huge selection like today but there were super deals since most people did not cruise at that time. I literally booked my honeymoon cruise on the Bremen two weeks before we sailed. It was just so easy to take the train from Boston or fly down and board a ship the same day in New York. Ahhh...those were the days.
  7. Thanks Chemmo, This brings to mind a cruise long ago on the Century. We had the PH and it was cool...it had a 1 person jacuzzi on the balcony. It looked like an afterthought but they managed to fit it in. One of my best times was lolling around in that jacuzzi in the afternoons with a big Manhattan in my hand. Every time I would see the pax down on the pier wearily coming back to the ship I would laugh out loud and take another sip. Exceedingly glad that it was not I who was trudging up the gangway...lol.
  8. Great memories of the Queen Mary RK. You were very fortunate to have stayed in one of those classic wood paneled cabins...what great history. What was your favorite cruise/cruise ship? Do tell.
  9. When I board a ship I have a highly regimented plan of activities...to do absolutely nothing! 😋 Port days are the best days for doing nothing. We don’t even leave the ship anymore...that way we have the entire ship on which to do nothing. Doing nothing in the ship’s bars and casino are particular favorites. I believe I have elevated doing nothing to an art form...and enjoying every minute of it.
  10. THANKS SO MUCH!! Ryndam, As an ocean liner historian...I always love to hear about the old ships. I would love to see the Rotterdam V someday...I saw her several times over years past in various ports. She was a beautiful ship with graceful lines and incredibly well kept. The last time I saw the Queen Mary was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1965. I was on the Queen Elizabeth sailing eastward and the Mary was steaming westward. It was an incredible sight which I will never forget. The Mary was truly majestic when seen sailing at sea.
  11. Hi RK, Too bad you did not get your father to go with you. I was always surprised by people who had predetermined notions about cruising. My mother-in-law was like that until we finally persuaded her to go with us in 1984. She knew she was going to hate it because she had become seasick on a ferry ride years before. Long story short...she loved it and we took her on 12 more cruises until her final voyage in 2012. We were celebrating her 100th birthday with a transatlantic sailing from Barcelona on RCI. Just before she passed away she thanked me for taking her to all those different places she never would have seen if it hadn't been for that first Sailing to Bermuda.
  12. RK, did you do any more cruises with your mother? Or did your mother continue to cruise without you? Ryndam, how was the renovation on the Rotterdam V??
  13. Hi Rob, No wonder you are called Ryndam! Evidently you saw the worst of the transition. It did take some time to make the change. Going with the Indonesian staff was the best thing HAL ever did.
  14. Interesting RK, the transition took a bit of time but HAL got it right. They went with Indonesian personnel and they set up a training school. I remember when this was happening and hoping for the best.
  15. Hi RK and everyone else lurking here, The center of St. Thomas was sparsely populated back in 1970. I don't even think the main drag went for more than 3 blocks...a lot of warehouses...very few stores and the streets needed paving. AH Rhiise was the place to buy booze. I got some great deals on rare Spanish sherries. I remember buying a one gallon bottle of Johnny Walker Black for $25.00!! Fine French Champagne for less than $10.00 per bottle and discounts on cases. They would box it up and send it to the ship. St. Barts was beautiful back then. St. Martin was wonderful for gambling back then. The Dutch controlled the small casinos and they were honest. I loved going to those little places. I never won less than $500 each time...maybe I was lucky. Now you don't have a chance to win in the newer bigger casinos. keep those memories coming!
  16. Hi RK, Hmmmmmm...I think that perhaps the cocktails were to blame for the memory loss? Now about your cruise...St Barts, Saint Maartin and Saint Thomas were different places back in 1970. Do you remember them? When I first went to Saint Thomas in 1972 the downtown was a sleepy little village with just a few side streets. We landed there on a Sunday so a few of the stores opened up. They were usually closed on Sundays! We were on the Amerikanis...only about 500 pax onboard. We were the only ship in the harbor! LOL! Yes...we would love to hear about the transition. 😉
  17. Great RK...What was Bermuda like in 1970? Tell us something about the Rotterdam and life onboard.
  18. Queen Elizabeth 1965 continued: The morning of July 14th. dawned bright and warm in New York Harbor. We were required to dress in full uniform after breakfast and report on the aft deck at 10:45 AM for an 11:00 AM sailing. We used the extra time to check out the First Class and say hello to some of the factory executives who we knew from our hometown. My mother came down from Mass. to see us off and then she would head off to the Worlds Fair at Flushing Meadow. I remember my mother being fairly envious that her 16 year old son was sailing for Europe on the QE. I showed her my cabin and, of course, she was imparting some motherly advice when the cabin steward dropped by to assure her that I would be well cared for. I remember her smiling and saying “Wow, you really have it made”. The call for “All ashore that’s going ashore” was made and the impromptu Bon Voyage parties came to an abrupt end. Just before11:00 AM the gang plank was removed, the shore lines were dropped and the Queen Elizabeth started to move at precisely 11:00 AM. The drum corps was in perfect formation on the aft deck, dressed in formal crimson long coat uniforms with color guard flags waving and drum majorettes in the front line with short crimson skirts with short military jackets and white boots. We played Anchors Aweigh as the great ship backed out into the harbor while planes flew low overhead and a helicopter filmed our departure. The company President had arranged for an entire film crew to accompany us and film the entire trip and subsequent performances in France, England and Scotland. I remember thinking that I was standing on the same decks as those who had gone off to war and then returned in victory. I remembered those iconic photos of the returning servicemen crowding the decks of the QE as she returned to New York Harbor in 1945. Winston Churchill, in a commemorative salute after WW II, claimed that the two Queens had shortened the war by a full year due to their ability to move tens of thousands of troops to the European theater. They consistently delivered more than 10,000 soldiers per week to England. As we passed the Statue Of Liberty I knew my adventure had begun. (As we were making our way out of the harbor I noticed a man on the deck below me leaning out over the rail while taking pictures with a very expensive camera. All of a sudden I heard this loud scream and watched as the man lost his grip on the camera and it dropped into the sea! He had forgotten to wear a camera strap.)
  19. Great memories Heidi! Please keep them coming!
  20. Hi Heidi, I remember the Uganda, Oriana and Canberra. I almost did a transatlantic on Canberra. Oriana was a beautiful ship. Island Princess was one of the original Sea Venture/Island Venture. I remember seeing them in NY Harbor in 1971 when they were brand new. Come on over to the new thread and we will recall some of those great times.
  21. For some reason I could not respond to the quote from RK above. RK, in those days I could devour a horse and then break for a seven course lunch!!
  22. 10 cents was for a half pint...a very good deal! It was Heineken, the official featured draft beer on HAL.
  23. So many wonderful memories come flooding back when I think about this thread. So many tropical nights onboard ship. We, my wife and I, dined and danced til dawn...many times. So many happy days and nights at sea. Having my feet planted on the deck of a moving ship at sea is one of the all-time happiest places for me to be. It all began when I was 16 years old. I belonged to a factory sponsored drum and bugle corps and we were lucky enough to be sent to Great Britain in the summer of 1965 on the iconic Queen Elizabeth I running mate to the equally famous Queen Mary I which now resides in Long Beach, California. Our group was given the privilege to board the Queen the night before sailing from NY Harbor. We were traveling with a large group of factory executives and their wives who were in First Class...we were in Cabin Class. Our bus pulled up to the pier at 11:00 PM. All I could see was the huge black bow with the white super structure with the stacks bathed in flood lights. It was love at first sight. I’ll never forget that first sight of that great ship that had carried so many famous people and 100s of thousands of soldiers in WW II. We had to carry our own luggage onboard. I walked onboard with my B2 bag packed to the gills. My father was an officer in the Air Force so I got to borrow his bag which worked out perfectly. I was immediately overwhelmed with endless polished paneling and the smell of furniture polish and fresh cut flowers which were everywhere. I asked the ship’s officer on duty where to go to find my cabin...D280. I ended up walking two thirds the length of the ship before I found the elevator on the rear deck. In those days the elevators were manned 24 hours a day. We had an elevator operator who looked just like Boris Karloff...we called him Boris and he loved it. Down we went...all the way to D Deck. I made it to my cabin and settled in. We had an inside with two lower beds and a half bath...the tubs and showers were down the passageway. If you wanted to take a bath you alerted the cabin steward and he would prepare the bath for you...lol. We took a quick turn around a few decks and hit the rack around 12:30 AM. Sleeping in NY Harbor was a bit muggy in mid July (no AC...just the adjustable air nozzle and wall fan which worked pretty well.) We were so exhausted we slept soundly unti we heard this God awful bugle blast at 6:30 AM. The cabin steward took a brass nozzle off a fire hose and blew it like a bugle. He had been a Royal Marine in the war. He introduced himself and promised to take good care of the dozen or so corps members in his section. We were washed and dressed by 7:00 AM. and told to head for the First Class dining room for breakfast. So my first morning onboard the QE, I got to dine in the First Class dining room...WOW! You had to see the breakfast menu to believe it. Three kinds of bacon! 6 different fruit juices. Cut fruit in silver bowls. My first British banger (sausage) and an omelette just for me accompanied with a bevy of breakfast rolls and pastry. I was in Heaven!
  24. Thank you RK! We hope that more people join us on this thread and shake off the I Can’t Cruise Right Now” Covid Blues. RK, the Rotterdam V was a true classic. She had some very interesting cabins with different layouts. You were onboard in 1970...just before the Dutch demise...when Holland America had to abandon Holland and leave the Dutch personnel onshore. You were present at the twilight of the great transatlantic era. You had Heineken pint drafts for 25 cents and bottles of really good European wine for $3.00-$4.00 and excellent service. The deck chairs would have been around $3.50 for the duration...maybe a little more because of the 11 days. The evenings were spent in the elegant Ritz Carlton Lounge, perhaps in the second level balcony overlooking the ballroom dance floor while a live orchestra played endless dance numbers. You brought too much luggage because you dressed up at night. The Rotterdam V was gorgeous.
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