Oasis of the Seas

In 2010 I was lucky enought to be invited to the inaugural sailing of the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.

It was an incredible experience, I couldn’t believe what they built into this floating megaship.   It has a rock climbing wall, an indoor ice rink, a wave runner to practice your surfboarding, an outdoor water show, a replica of Central Park New York complete with real grass, a full broadway play production in the theatre and too much more to list.  We went from dawn to dusk trying to do everything and felt amazed to be a part of what would change the cruise industry forever.

 

 

 

Multigeneration Cruise

In 2006 our family did a Pacific Coastal cruise to celebrate a 50th Anniversary.  We had a variety of ages from 75 down to a 1 year old and a great time was had by all. It is always interesting to play tourist in your own backyard and we had fun visiting cities that we would normally not get to.  When we visited Prince Rupert, we were trying to look up the birthplace of a family member who was no longer with us and we were shocked when we went into the public library there to find a women who not only knew what we were looking for, gave us directions to the exact location !  (the beauty of friendly small towns)

 

Northern Europe Baltic Cruise

In 1990, I sailed aboard the Sun Viking (part of the  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) from England to Norway, Sweden, Finland and into Russia winding back via Poland and Germany to end up in London again.

This was probably the most memorable cruise in that my son just happened to be born exactly 9 months after taking it !

The midnight sun in was amazing, you could be out on deck at midnight and still light out. St Petersburg (called Leningrad when we visited) was such a contrast between old and new.   You can see the street pictures are so gray, yet the Hermitage and Catherines Palace were shimmering with gold.  We went into a grocery store to look around and saw the meat in the freezers, except they had no power to them so not actually sure how they kept the stuff cold.

One of the most interesting things about this cruise (and obviously way before privacy laws) they published a “Passenger List” which was circulated to every cabin and listed each passenger and the city they came from.  It was a really nice keepsake and too bad they had to do away with it.

Loved the beautiful Baltic cities of Helsinki, Olso and Stockholm – it was hard to pick a favourite.

Pictures coming soon

 

The Love Boat

Who doesn’t remember the theme song for the television show The Love Boat ?  I’m sure I could still recite every word today so I was very excited to be travelling on the Sun Princess in 1988.  Even though most people associate the Pacific Princess as the true Love Boat, the 1977 pilot show was filmed aboard the Sun Princess in Mexico.

I loved watching the cliff divers in Acapulco and visiting Cabo San Lucas when it was just a sleepy little Mexican town.  I didn’t realize at the time that I was on one of the last voyages for the Sun Princess as it was sold to Premier Cruises right after we finished our sailing.  Look at the people gathered around the decks as they are set to release the balloons for our sailing send off.

Greece Turkey Cruise with Epirotiki

My Greece/Turkey cruise in 1987 was aboard the Oceanos which was was built in 1952. Little did I know that it would become famous a mere 4 years after I sailed on it.  Highlights for this itinerary were the Greek Islands of course and spending the day zipping around Rhodes on a scooter.  Plus the day visiting Ephesus in Turkey was amazing, the ruins that they have uncovered were jaw dropping.  

How the ship became famous was that it sank off the coast of South Africa on Aug 4th, 1991   All 571 onboard were saved but Captain Yiannis Avranas was accused by the passengers of leaving them behind with no one other than the ship’s onboard entertainers to help them evacuate. Avranas claimed that he left the ship first to arrange for a rescue effort, and then supervised the rescue from a helicopter. A Greek board of inquiry found Avranas and four officers negligent in their handling of the disaster.

North to Alaska

My next cruise was in 1986 and left from my beautiful home town of Vancouver BC from their new cruise ship terminal which opened during Expo ‘86. I fell in love Holland America on this cruise and not because of their stellar service and wonderful staff but I was an ice cream-aholic at the time and they served up an ice cream buffet every day at 4pm with all kinds of toppings that you could choose from.  After a few days I kept telling myself that the next day I would take a break from it but somehow or another, always seemed to end up really close by as they were serving up !

In Juneau, we were able to actually walk right up to the Mendenhall Glacier and it was a spectacular site.  Visiting Sitka and Ketchikan was in some drizzly rain but when they get an average of 220 days a year of precipitation, it’s hard to avoid. We did our own walking tour in each place and enjoyed Creek Street in Ketchikan with the colourful buildings raised on pilings and the Russian influence meandering through Sitka.

 

 

My introduction to cruising

I took my first cruise in 1985 just as cruising was starting to take off. It was on the Mardi Gras which was the very first “FunShip” and it really did live up to its name as much fun was had onboard. It was built in 1961, formerly called the Empress of Canada but purchased by the Carnival Corp in 1972 and the name was changed to the Mardi Gras. It was a Western Caribbean sailing so lots of great ports and long days in the sun which was good because the cabin was, lets just say, interesting. It had 4 bunk beds (2 upper and 2 lower) and the bathroom sink was outside the washroom (so inside the main cabin area which was strange for brushing your teeth in front of your cabin mates !) Had a wonderful day climbing up Dunns River Falls when we were in Jamaica and the day we were in Grand Cayman, made our way to their special post office called “Hell” (I have an official document now that says I’ve been to Hell and back !)

 

American Empress Paddlewheeler

I took this shot of the American Queen Steamboat’s American Empress on my Columbia/Snake River Paddlewheeler cruise.  Such different scenery passing from one river to the other and it was lovely to sit out on the deck watching the scenery go by.

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