What’s not to like about a cruise..? (Part 3)

This will be my last article concerning cruises – at least for this summer.  As you may have read in my last two posts, viagra canada sale there are many Pros and Cons about a cruising vacation.  Many more of the former than the latter in my opinion.

In this last article on cruise vacations, buy cialis tadalafil I’d like to share some observations on how vacation cruising has changed over the years.  I’ve noted in my last post that I’ve been on 25 or more cruises, and that’s a true statement

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.  But I’m not in my senior years just yet and do not go on more than one per year.  So it might be worth noting that many of my cruise adventures where when I was much younger while traveling with my parents.  And that was a LONG time ago.

Let’s go back to 1970-something…probably close to 1976 or 1978.  My parents decided to take the family on a cruise vacation out of a Florida port I believe.  My first cruise along with my parents and younger sister was on the TSS Mardi Gras.   And I was fortunate to experience that history – and that style of crusing.  It was quite a bit different than the “fun ship” crusing of today.  Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

Here’s a few things of interest that stands out in my memory for the older cruise vacation days.

The ship at that time seemed HUGE!  Being a little kid (around 12 maybe) on a big boat that had multiple floors, a theater, and a fancy restaurant!  Wow.  Of course, size wise, the Mardi Gras was a yacht compared to the ship I am sitting on today…maybe one-fifth the size or smaller (27,000 Tons vs 128,500 Tons).  It had a swimming pool and a lot of the same general amenities, but nothing like these newer behemoths with water slides, multiple restaurants, multiple theaters, etc. etc.  Heck, I was on a ship in the last few years that even had an indoor ice rink! (and ice skating/dancing shows to go along with the venue).

Physical size of the ship aside… What else?  The staterooms.  The rooms on all ships are generally smaller than a hotel on land.  That should go without saying.  But the older ships rooms really seemed small compared to the newer ships.  Even on today’s ships, if you’re a person of size, the bathroom is going to feel really smaller.  The term “water closet” comes to mind for the bathrooms in general. I remember the door to the rooms were those rounded corner doors and you had to step into the room.  Same way when going down some hallways or passageways – you had to step through old-style water tight doors.  Adults had to occasionally duck through a doorway or so it seemed.  I might be exaggerating just a bit, but you get the gist.

Brass everywhere…and crew members always polishing the brass.  Hand rails, door fixtures, light fixtures.  Everything seemed to be brass or teak wood.  Just as one would expect on an older ship of quality.  That’s not to say that the newer ships are not beautiful and very elaborate.  They are!  And the staff is always cleaning something somewhere.  Needless to say, cleanliness is a gigantic priority on all of these cruise line ships.  For the most part, chrome has replaced brass as the shiny metal.

The restaurant and evening meal;  Just as traditional dining on today’s ships, there was an early and late seating if I remember correctly.  But the dining room was decorated in a different country theme every night.  German one night, Spanish another night, then Italian, and so on.  The servers dress was coordinated with the theme of the room – and the dinner selections on the menu matched as well.  Truly different tastes for each night. LOVED IT!  The wait staff along with the Matre’D sang a song to the diners each evening.  It was a dinner show….and it was fabulous.

As far as the food – I’ve gone back and forth on my opinion of the actual food.  Obviously gigantic selections of food in the food bars on the Lido deck.  Most of these newer ships have this as well.  But concerning the dining room food.  I go on about a cruise per year, and I’m never disappointed in the food.  However I do think that is has changed through the years.  Not as much variance from night to night as I mentioned above.  I think the portion sizes are smaller than they used to be.  That’s not a bad thing however.  You can still ask for more and they’ll keep brining it.  It does seem more processed or “generic” somehow.  Again, I’m not complaining, just stating what I notice.  When you read some of the stats on how much food they are processing through the galley on one of these ships, it’s no wonder that they have to standardize. 

Regarding dinner, the passengers dressed for The evening meal every night!  No shorts or T-shirts in the dining room, no sir. Everyone was dressed up [every single night] in jackets, slacks, and some type of semi-formal wear.  And on Captain’s Dinner evening, it was REAL FORMAL. Tuxes and long evening gowns adorned the guests.  Even I, as a 12 year old, had a tux.  I believe it was white with ruffled shirt…very 70s, but styling!  I understand that the idea of the newer ships is to attract wider variety of casual cruisers.  But there was just something about the style on the older ships.

Let’s talk about the entertainment for a moment. The live shows were very good and similar to the variety shows today.  Singing, dancing, comedy, and the crowd participation shows have survived through the years.  Obviously more stage lighting and “electronics” nowadays.  All seemingly well produced.

But here’s a difference – the smaller live entertainment groups throughout the ship (outside of the main theater) has seems to have changed, and not for the better in my opinion.  I remember the “Elegant night” (formal night) having a string quartet sitting out in one of the public areas.  That WAS elegant. There used to be small jazz groups of quality musicians in various adult bar areas.  And pianists or small trios throughout the venues.  Not to mention real calypso groups performing poolside.  It’s a bit different these days with more DJs and electronic music.  But not bad.

Regardless of the changes over the years, I’m still a fan.  I like the ocean air, and I like cruises.