The SS Norway, of the Norwegian Cruise Line, was a person of the grande olde ships I experienced usually needed to go on. Their 7-working day cruise was about Thanksgiving out of Miami to the Caribbean. It was a Massive Band Cruise with dance hosts and 4 perfectly-recognized swing bands from the earlier. Excellent — I like the aged jazz and big band songs and I love to dance but typically will not have a fantastic dance husband or wife. I signed up.
Sailing on the Norway turned out to be a journey again in time. She was designed in 1960 as the well-known SS France, much more than 1,000 ft prolonged, a 110 foot beam, and with about 2,000 passengers and a crew of 900 who arrive from all above the world.
You felt the grand tradition as quickly as you boarded. The Norway nonetheless taken care of a type and graciousness reminiscent of previously cruising. The ship has been refurbished a number of situations, but the art deco murals, hand-laid tile mosaics, polished teak rails, and the nautical antiques from cruises bygone have diligently been preserved, and as you walked the lengthy promenade deck you felt like you ended up cruising somewhere back again in time. As you dined, you realized you have been eating exactly where well-known stars had dined, and you glimpse at the murals and original art performs realizing they have been there in all those early times when some others in advance of you sat in this home, seen those exact same murals, and engaged in the same form of energetic discussions with other folks as you are doing now. Afterwards that night, you fifty percent count on Cary Grant, sophisticated in his tuxedo, to stroll down the deck and lean nonchalantly up coming to you on the rail.
It will take a though to come across your way all-around. The Norway is 10 blocks extended and 12 decks substantial. There is an International Deck lined with sidewalk cafes and boutiques on the Olympic Deck is the health centre with glass walls so you can training whilst gazing out at the sea on a lower deck you occur upon a decadent Roman Spa that gives massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, saunas, steam rooms, and an indoor pool for drinking water work out. On different decks are two swimming pools, a jogging track, seven bars, 6 entertainment lounges, 1 grand ballroom, a cabaret, a big casino, disco, an ice-product parlor, library, piano bar, and a theater for initially operate and previous basic films. If you need them, there is a hairdresser, laundry, dry cleaner, masseuse, and medical facilities.
The Norway has 1,039 staterooms, each with separately controlled air-conditioning, non-public bath with shower, Tv, radio and mobile phone. Some suites have a separate living place and bedroom in addition to a master bed room. Most penthouse suites have non-public balconies. Just one evening we have been invited to a bash in the owner’s suite. It was spectacular, with a wrap-all around balcony, living place, bedroom, dressing area and jacuzzi. Our host — a previous law enforcement officer from Illinois who experienced won a main lottery of many tens of millions and was celebrating. We experienced a less spectacular tiny cabin with a porthole.
Most important job every day — deciding upon from among the the matters to do. There had been Broadway displays, training courses, dance instruction, basketball, golfing driving and placing, paddleball, ping pong, shuffleboard, skeet taking pictures, snorkeling classes and excursions, volleyball, style reveals, wine-tasting, artwork auctions, lectures, a tea for grandparents, a mixer for singles, and a champagne party for honeymooners. There were not quite a few children aboard this cruise, but commonly there was a youth program with a kid’s playroom, little ones and teenager activities, and unique shore excursions. How can any one at any time say they would be bored on a cruise?
We still left Miami late in the afternoon and the functions started off straight away. Some passengers straight away headed for the on line casino, waiting around for it to open when we received outside the legal miles. The on line casino was set up for blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, 200 slot machines and a couple of new online games I hadn’t listened to of. I was delighted on deck, listening to the music, snacking off the welcome-aboard buffet, and looking at the shoreline vanish astern.
I was now glad I experienced manufactured this selection. I felt like a diverse person. The vacation rush on land will not implement here. I viewed the waves split along with the ship and the wake trail at the rear of. The air was new. Getaway fatigue? — poof. The only traffic jam in this article would be the first folks in line waiting to enter the eating home to dig in to an additional meal. The only selections would be whether to shop on board, in port, or each, or participate in golfing or tennis, go swimming at some tranquil tropical beach front or work challenging at deep-sea fishing. And tonight I would have to come to a decision whether or not to have the conch fritters or shrimp, or clean baked bread or blueberry muffins, or stuffed Cornish hen or grilled swordfish, or coconut meringue pie or that ‘death-by-chocolate’ dessert. Or a little of each and every. And I under no circumstances would have to seem for a parking room!
By the very first night time we have been conference people today, and severe dancing had currently begun. I have never ever found so lots of individuals in a single place who savored dancing so significantly and who realized so a great deal about jazz and significant band tunes. You could wander from ballroom to ballroom, and in amongst on the Intercontinental Deck you could sit and chat to the travellers reminiscing and evaluating recollections as they listened to a complimentary 24-hour CD jukebox stocked with alternative picks of yrs of jazz and big band recordings.
4 bands were being taking part in this 7 days, alternating two each individual night time: the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra performed by Buddy Morrow, Si Zentner and his Orchestra, the Bob Crosby Orchestra conducted by Ed Metz Jr, and the Harry James Orchestra conducted by Art Depew. And each and every evening in the Cafe Internationale, which turned out to be my favorite put, was the band whose drummer utilised to play the history new music for the aged Fred Astaire movies. He continue to played the aged familiar brush drum arrangements 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 first dances.
A number of times out at sea the staff members began to set up Christmas trees, much more than 50, around all the decks. A couple travellers helped set on some ornaments. In the spirit of the holidays, the movie channel featured basic getaway movies as properly as time period films, massive band performances, and interviews with previous nicely-regarded huge band stars. We all experienced the holiday getaway spirit. But it truly is diverse out in this article. There is no pressure.
Our initially port halt was St. Maarten/St. Martin. (The island is divided in two, 50 percent Dutch and 50 % French.) The Dutch port, wherever we docked, was Philipsburg. On the other aspect is Marigot, with some seaside French cafes. In amongst there is the seaside at Mullet Bay with plenty of rock formations for fantastic image ops, swimming, and checking out. There is obligation-free of charge shopping on both of those sides, with items ranging from economical t-shirts to costly jewellery and French and Caribbean designer garments. Numerous shore excursions ended up made available. In the early morning we chose to go sailing on a 12-Metre racing sailboat that experienced raced in the America’s Cup. In the afternoon we wandered together from shop to store in the sun with calypso songs in the history, then stopped for a interesting consume on a cafe patio along the ocean, and considered about the individuals searching in the crowds back again residence.
Future prevent was St. John, the U.S. Virgin Island that is a guarded nationwide park. There are vacant seashores there and some outstanding mountaineering trails. We chose sailing yet again, although others chose beaching, sightseeing close to the island by safari bus, or went on a single of many snorkel/scuba dives. Our sailboat took us above to St. Thomas, where we caught up with the ship. Most of the men and women went into town to do some duty-totally free shopping so their Xmas buying would be carried out when they bought residence. Other people headed for Magen’s Bay, most preferred seaside in the area. Yet another team went snorkeling at the guarded reefs of Buck Island, in which feeding fish by hand underwater is a emphasize, and other people seen coral and sea lifetime on the Atlantis submarine. We have been back again on board in a good deal of time for a relaxation and a shower before supper, and extra big band music and dancing.
I have 3 fantastic reminiscences from the 2nd formal evening. One particular was the group of musicians sitting down all around the CD juke box, actively playing the previous stuff and reminiscing. “That’s Major Holley on bass, with Slam Stewart, one of those people superb times they performed collectively.” “Who’s the drummer?” “Appears like Oliver Jackson.” “Proper. Don’t forget the night …” I just sat and listened, grinning, delighted to be section of it.
The 2nd memory was the scene at 1 a.m. in the primary ballroom. Some of the older persons have been asleep sitting down on the facet banquettes, much too exhausted to dance any more, but too stubborn to depart the great music.
It was after 2 a.m. when I began again to my stateroom, using my regular walk past the CD juke box to get a breath of sea air ahead of turning in. The reminiscing musicians ended up absent, but just one aged pair were there, trim and small in their official dresses, with their arms about each other, misplaced in memories, dancing to an aged Tommy Dorsey tune. I had tears in my eyes as I walked back again to my cabin.
The future day was beach front working day on a minimal island in the Bahamas — Great Stirrup Cay. I employed to are living in the Bahamas on just one of the outislands, so it was great to get back to transparent turquoise Bahamian waters. I walked the seaside, and remembered my five years living in the islands.
At the end of 7 times, the ship was sparkling with decorations, all set for the Christmas and New Year’s Cruise. They have been now entirely booked. But, I believed, I can signal up for following 12 months. But time got away and now she will sail no much more.
Background OF THE S.S. NORWAY
The Norway was christened the S.S. France in 1960. Length: 1,035 ft, that longest passenger ship then at any time crafted. Alongside with Cunard’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was 1 of the grand luxurious ships routinely crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
But jet planes arrived along, and were being more quickly and more affordable, passenger traffic became unprofitable, and sailings have been stopped in 1974. The France languished for quite a few years in the port of Le Havre right up until pioneer of the cruise market Knut U. Kloster, purchased her for $18 million for his Norwegian Caribbean Line (currently known as Norwegian Cruise Line) and renamed her the S.S. Norway. In excess of the next 10 months some 2,000 staff renovated the ship at the charge of $100 million.
She started her new life in the Caribbean, sailing her 1st seven-day Caribbean cruise June 1, l980 from Miami, her new household port, with an global crew of 800 from some 40 nations. In 1990 she the moment far more returned to the shipyard, this time for a $40 million refurbishment, including a 6,000 square foot Roman Spa with pampering health and fitness, health and splendor packages and two glass-enclosed decks of luxury cabins, together with two with floor-to-ceiling windows, wraparound balconies, and jacuzzis with ocean watch. In 1993 the ship had a $23 million refurbishing and renovation of the 5,000 sq. foot casino to a mirrored, etched and stained glass Artwork Deco theme reminiscent of the ship’s famous earlier.
Her future was not known for a prolonged time, but now she is headed to be scrap.