The SS Norway, of the Norwegian Cruise Line, was one of the grande olde ships I had always desired to go on. Their 7-working day cruise was in excess of Thanksgiving out of Miami to the Caribbean. It was a Significant Band Cruise with dance hosts and four effectively-acknowledged swing bands from the past. Best — I like the previous jazz and big band new music and I love to dance but usually do not have a superior dance partner. I signed up.
Sailing on the Norway turned out to be a excursion back again in time. She was created in 1960 as the well-known SS France, a lot more than 1,000 ft lengthy, a 110 foot beam, and with about 2,000 passengers and a crew of 900 who come from all above the globe.
You felt the grand tradition as before long as you boarded. The Norway still managed a style and graciousness reminiscent of earlier cruising. The ship has been refurbished numerous instances, but the artwork deco murals, hand-laid tile mosaics, polished teak rails, and the nautical antiques from cruises bygone have thoroughly been preserved, and as you walked the extensive promenade deck you felt like you were being cruising someplace again in time. As you dined, you realized you were eating wherever popular stars experienced dined, and you search at the murals and first artwork operates knowing they were being there in all those early days when some others prior to you sat in this home, viewed people very same murals, and engaged in the exact type of energetic conversations with many others as you might be undertaking now. Later that evening, you 50 % expect Cary Grant, tasteful in his tuxedo, to stroll down the deck and lean nonchalantly subsequent to you on the rail.
It normally takes a even though to uncover your way all over. The Norway is 10 blocks lengthy and 12 decks significant. There is an Global Deck lined with sidewalk cafes and boutiques on the Olympic Deck is the fitness heart with glass walls so you can exercising although gazing out at the sea on a decreased deck you occur on a decadent Roman Spa that gives massages, aromatherapy, system wraps, saunas, steam rooms, and an indoor pool for water exercising. On many decks are two pools, a jogging observe, seven bars, 6 entertainment lounges, a single grand ballroom, a cabaret, a substantial casino, disco, an ice-product parlor, library, piano bar, and a theater for initially operate and previous common films. If you need them, there is a hairdresser, laundry, dry cleaner, masseuse, and professional medical amenities.
The Norway has 1,039 staterooms, every single with independently controlled air-conditioning, personal bath with shower, Television, radio and cell phone. Some suites have a separate dwelling place and bedroom in addition to a grasp bedroom. Most penthouse suites have private balconies. One particular evening we have been invited to a party in the owner’s suite. It was impressive, with a wrap-around balcony, living place, bed room, dressing home and jacuzzi. Our host — a former police officer from Illinois who had received a major lottery of several thousands and thousands and was celebrating. We experienced a a lot less impressive modest cabin with a porthole.
Largest work each working day — picking from between the factors to do. There were being Broadway exhibits, training classes, dance instruction, basketball, golf driving and putting, paddleball, ping pong, shuffleboard, skeet capturing, snorkeling lessons and excursions, volleyball, vogue reveals, wine-tasting, artwork auctions, lectures, a tea for grandparents, a mixer for singles, and a champagne social gathering for honeymooners. There weren’t several kids aboard this cruise, but typically there was a youth method with a kid’s playroom, kids and teen things to do, and particular shore excursions. How can any individual ever say they would be bored on a cruise?
We remaining Miami late in the afternoon and the routines started off straight away. Some travellers right away headed for the casino, waiting around for it to open when we bought outside the house the authorized miles. The casino was established up for blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, 200 slot machines and a several new online games I hadn’t listened to of. I was pleased on deck, listening to the music, snacking off the welcome-aboard buffet, and watching the shoreline vanish astern.
I was currently happy I experienced made this selection. I felt like a diverse individual. The vacation rush on land would not utilize in this article. I watched the waves split along with the ship and the wake trail driving. The air was fresh. Holiday break fatigue? — poof. The only traffic jam listed here would be the 1st men and women in line ready to enter the eating place to dig in to another meal. The only decisions would be regardless of whether to store on board, in port, or both, or engage in golf or tennis, go swimming at some tranquil tropical beach front or do the job difficult at deep-sea fishing. And tonight I would have to come to a decision whether to have the conch fritters or shrimp, or contemporary baked bread or blueberry muffins, or stuffed Cornish hen or grilled swordfish, or coconut meringue pie or that ‘death-by-chocolate’ dessert. Or a minimal of each individual. And I under no circumstances would have to seem for a parking space!
By the very first evening we were being assembly individuals, and critical dancing experienced presently begun. I have by no means seen so quite a few persons in just one position who relished dancing so considerably and who realized so substantially about jazz and big band audio. You could wander from ballroom to ballroom, and in among on the International Deck you could sit and talk to the passengers reminiscing and comparing recollections as they listened to a complimentary 24-hour CD jukebox stocked with choice alternatives of years of jazz and major band recordings.
Four bands were participating in this 7 days, alternating two each evening: the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra done by Buddy Morrow, Si Zentner and his Orchestra, the Bob Crosby Orchestra performed by Ed Metz Jr, and the Harry James Orchestra conducted by Artwork Depew. And each night in the Cafe Internationale, which turned out to be my favourite location, was the band whose drummer utilized to participate in the history songs for the old Fred Astaire motion pictures. He continue to played the old familiar brush drum preparations for ‘Stepping Out with My Baby’ and ‘Top Hat and Tails’. I achieved the 6 gentlemen dance hosts in their navy blazers and white slacks and danced my 1st dances.
A few days out at sea the staff started to set up Xmas trees, additional than 50, all-around all the decks. A couple of passengers served place on some ornaments. In the spirit of the holiday seasons, the online video channel featured vintage holiday break films as effectively as interval films, large band performances, and interviews with old effectively-regarded large band stars. We all experienced the getaway spirit. But it is different out below. You will find no stress.
Our to start with port halt was St. Maarten/St. Martin. (The island is divided in two, 50 % Dutch and fifty percent French.) The Dutch port, exactly where we docked, was Philipsburg. On the other facet is Marigot, with some seaside French cafes. In amongst there is the beach front at Mullet Bay with heaps of rock formations for excellent picture ops, swimming, and checking out. There is duty-cost-free purchasing on both of those sides, with products ranging from reasonably priced t-shirts to expensive jewelry and French and Caribbean designer garments. A number of shore excursions ended up available. In the early morning we selected to go sailing on a 12-Metre racing sailboat that experienced raced in the America’s Cup. In the afternoon we wandered along from shop to shop in the sunlight with calypso new music in the background, then stopped for a neat drink on a cafe patio together the ocean, and imagined about the individuals procuring in the crowds back again residence.
Subsequent prevent was St. John, the U.S. Virgin Island that is a shielded national park. There are empty beach locations there and some great climbing trails. We selected sailing yet again, although other folks selected beaching, sightseeing all around the island by safari bus, or went on 1 of various snorkel/scuba dives. Our sailboat took us about to St. Thomas, in which we caught up with the ship. Most of the people today went into town to do some responsibility-absolutely free purchasing so their Christmas buying would be carried out when they received home. Others headed for Magen’s Bay, most preferred beach front in the spot. An additional group went snorkeling at the protected reefs of Buck Island, exactly where feeding fish by hand underwater is a spotlight, and other individuals considered coral and sea lifestyle on the Atlantis submarine. We had been back again on board in loads of time for a relaxation and a shower right before supper, and much more massive band audio and dancing.
I have three excellent recollections from the 2nd official night. Just one was the team of musicians sitting down all around the CD juke box, taking part in the previous things and reminiscing. “That’s Main Holley on bass, with Slam Stewart, 1 of individuals fantastic occasions they performed together.” “Who’s the drummer?” “Appears like Oliver Jackson.” “Ideal. Recall the night …” I just sat and listened, grinning, delighted to be element of it.
The next memory was the scene at 1 a.m. in the primary ballroom. Some of the more mature people were asleep sitting down on the side banquettes, way too tired to dance any longer, but way too stubborn to depart the excellent tunes.
It was right after 2 a.m. when I started off back to my stateroom, taking my common stroll earlier the CD juke box to get a breath of sea air right before turning in. The reminiscing musicians ended up absent, but just one elderly pair ended up there, slim and little in their official outfits, with their arms close to every single other, lost in memories, dancing to an old Tommy Dorsey tune. I had tears in my eyes as I walked back again to my cabin.
The up coming day was seaside working day on a little island in the Bahamas — Wonderful Stirrup Cay. I employed to stay in the Bahamas on 1 of the outislands, so it was great to get back again to transparent turquoise Bahamian waters. I walked the beach, and remembered my 5 several years dwelling in the islands.
At the conclude of seven days, the ship was glowing with decorations, completely ready for the Xmas and New Year’s Cruise. They were by now thoroughly booked. But, I considered, I can sign up for upcoming calendar year. But time got absent and now she will sail no much more.
Historical past OF THE S.S. NORWAY
The Norway was christened the S.S. France in 1960. Duration: 1,035 feet, that longest passenger ship then ever developed. Along with Cunard’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was a person of the grand luxury ships regularly crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
But jet planes arrived along, and had been a lot quicker and cheaper, passenger visitors grew to become unprofitable, and sailings were being stopped in 1974. The France languished for numerous decades in the port of Le Havre right until pioneer of the cruise field Knut U. Kloster, acquired her for $18 million for his Norwegian Caribbean Line (now regarded as Norwegian Cruise Line) and renamed her the S.S. Norway. Above the following 10 months some 2,000 personnel renovated the ship at the price of $100 million.
She started her new lifestyle in the Caribbean, sailing her very first seven-day Caribbean cruise June 1, l980 from Miami, her new dwelling port, with an worldwide crew of 800 from some 40 nations. In 1990 she the moment much more returned to the shipyard, this time for a $40 million refurbishment, which include a 6,000 square foot Roman Spa with pampering health, overall health and splendor systems and two glass-enclosed decks of luxury cabins, which includes two with flooring-to-ceiling home windows, wraparound balconies, and jacuzzis with ocean watch. In 1993 the ship experienced a $23 million refurbishing and renovation of the 5,000 sq. foot on line casino to a mirrored, etched and stained glass Artwork Deco theme reminiscent of the ship’s legendary past.
Her upcoming was unidentified for a extensive time, but now she is headed to be scrap.