1 And A Half Year Old Dies On Cruise Ship SS Norway – A Report on What a Cruise Was Like on the Legendary Vessel

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SS Norway – A Report on What a Cruise Was Like on the Legendary Vessel

Norwegian Cruise Line’s SS Norway was one of the grand old ships I had always wanted to travel on. Their seven-day cruise was over Thanksgiving from Miami to the Caribbean. It was a Big Band cruise with dance hosts and four well-known swing bands from the past. Perfect — I like old jazz and big band music and I love to dance, but I don’t often have a good dance partner. I signed up.

Sailing in Norway turned out to be a trip back in time. It was built in 1960 as the famous SS France, over 1,000 feet long, with a beam of 110 feet, and carries about 2,000 passengers and 900 crew, who come from all over the world.

You felt the great tradition as soon as you got on board. Norway still retained the style and grace reminiscent of the previous cruise. The ship has been renovated several times, but the art deco murals, hand-made tile mosaics, polished teak railings and nautical antiques from old cruises have been carefully preserved, and when you walk on the long promenade deck, you feel like you’re on a cruise. somewhere back in time. When you dined, you knew you were eating where the famous stars had dined, and you look at the murals and original artwork knowing that they were there in the early days when others before you sat in this room, looking at the same murals and engaging in the same lively conversations with others as you do now . Later that evening, you half expect Cary Grant, elegant in his tuxedo, to walk down the deck and lean nonchalantly on the rail next to you.

It will take some time to find your way. Norway is 10 blocks long and 12 blocks high. The International Deck is lined with sidewalk cafes and boutiques; The Olympic Deck has a glass-walled fitness center, so you can work out while looking out over the ocean; on the lower level, you’ll come across a decadent Roman spa offering massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, saunas, steam rooms and an indoor pool for aquatic exercise. On different decks there are two swimming pools, a jogging path, seven bars, six entertainment lounges, one large ballroom, a cabaret, a large casino, a disco, an ice cream bar, a library, a piano bar and a theater for first-timers and veterans alike. classic movies. If you need them, there is a hairdresser, laundry, dry cleaner, massage therapist and medical facilities.

There are 1,039 cabins in Norway, all of which have individually adjustable air conditioning, private bathroom with shower, TV, radio and telephone. In addition to the master bedroom, some suites have a separate living room and bedroom. Most of the rooftop suites have their own balcony. One night we were invited to a party in the owner’s suite. It was gorgeous, with a wrap-around balcony, living room, bedroom, dressing room and jacuzzi. Our host — an ex-policeman from Illinois who had won millions in the big lottery and was celebrating. We had a less spectacular little cabin with a shutter.

The biggest job every day – to choose from among the things to do. There were Broadway shows, exercise classes, dance lessons, basketball, golf, driving and putting, paddleball, ping pong, shuffleboard, skeet shooting, snorkeling lessons and tours, volleyball, fashion shows, wine tasting, art auctions, lectures, tea for grandparents, a mixer for singles, and a champagne party for honeymooners. There weren’t many children on this cruise, but there was usually a youth program with a children’s playroom, children’s and youth activities, and special shore excursions. How can anyone ever say a cruise is boring?

We left Miami in the late afternoon and the action started right away. Some passengers immediately headed to the casino waiting for it to open once we got outside the legal miles. The casino was set up for blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, 200 slot machines and a few new games I hadn’t heard of. I was happy on deck, listening to music, snacking from the welcome buffet, and watching the shoreline disappear back.

I was already glad I made this decision. I felt like a different person. The holiday rush in the country does not apply here. I watched the waves break alongside the ship and behind the trail. The air was fresh. Holiday fatigue? — poh. The only congestion here would be the first people waiting to get into the dining room for another meal. The only decisions would be whether to shop on board, in port or both, to play golf or tennis, to go swimming at some quiet tropical beach, or to do some hard deep sea fishing. And tonight I would have to decide whether to eat conch fritters or prawns or fresh bread or blueberry muffins or stuffed Cornish hen or grilled swordfish or coconut meringue pie or that ‘death by chocolate’ dessert. Or a bit of each. And I would never have to look for a parking space!

The first night we met people, and the serious dancing had already begun. I have never seen so many people in one place who enjoyed dancing so much and knew so much about jazz and big band music. You can wander from ballroom to ballroom, and in between on the International Deck you can sit and chat with passengers reminiscing and comparing memories as they listened to the complimentary 24-hour CD jukebox filled with a selection of jazz and big band recordings over the years. .

Four bands played this week, alternating two each night: the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra led by Buddy Morrow, Si Zentner and his Orchestra, the Bob Crosby Orchestra led by Ed Metz Jr, and the Harry James Orchestra led by Art Depew. And every night at the Cafe Internationale, which turned out to be a favorite spot, there was a band with a drummer playing background music from old Fred Astaire movies. He was still playing old familiar brush drum arrangements of “Stepping Out with My Baby” and “Top Hat and Tails.” I met six gentleman dance hosts in navy blazers and white pants and danced my first dances.

After a few days at sea, the crew began putting up Christmas trees, more than 50, on all decks. A few passengers helped put on the decorations. In the spirit of the holiday, the video channel showed classic holiday movies as well as period movies, big band performances and interviews with old big band stars. We were all in the holiday spirit. But it’s different here. There is no pressure.

Our first port stop was St. Maarten/St. Martin. (The island is divided into two parts, half Dutch and half French.) The Dutch port we docked at was Philipsburg. On the other side is Marigot, with French seaside cafes. In between is Mullet Bay Beach with lots of Rock Formations for great photography, swimming and exploring. Both sides feature duty-free shopping, with items ranging from affordable t-shirts to expensive jewelry and French and Caribbean designers. Several shore excursions were offered. In the morning, we decided to go sailing on a 12-meter racing sailboat that competed in the America’s Cup. In the afternoon we wandered in the sun with calypso music playing from store to store, then stopped for a cool drink on a restaurant patio by the sea and contemplated the people shopping in the crowds back home.

The next stop was St. John, US Virgin Island, which is a protected national park. There are empty beaches and excellent hiking trails. Again, we chose sailing, while others opted for a beach trip, island sightseeing on a safari bus, or snorkeling/diving. Our sailboat took us to St. Thomas where we caught the vessel. Most people went into town to do some duty free shopping so that they would have their Christmas shopping done when they got home. Others headed to Magen’s Bay, the most popular beach in the area. Another group went snorkeling at Buck Island’s protected reefs, where underwater hand-feeding fish is a highlight, and others viewed coral and marine life on the Atlantis submarine. We returned to the ship in good time to rest and shower before dinner and more big band music and dancing.

I have three wonderful memories of the second formal evening. One was a group of musicians sitting around a CD jukebox playing old stuff and reminiscing. “That’s Major Holley on bass with Slam Stewart, one of those great moments when they played together.” “Who’s the drummer?” “Sounds like Oliver Jackson.” “Right. Remember the night…” I just sat and listened, grinning, happy to be a part of it.

Another memory was the scene at 1 o’clock in the main banquet hall. Some older people were sleeping sitting up at the side parties, too tired to dance anymore but too stubborn to leave the good music.

It was after two in the morning when I headed back to my cabin and as usual walked past the CD jukebox to get some sea air before entering. The reminiscing musicians were gone, but there was one elderly couple, slender and small. their party clothes, arms around each other, lost in memories, dancing to an old Tommy Dorsey tune. Tears in my eyes as I walked back to my cabin.

The next day was a beach day on a small island in the Bahamas – Great Stirrup Cay. I lived in the Bahamas on one of the islands, so it was wonderful to get back to the transparent turquoise Bahamian waters. I walked on the beach and remembered my five years living on the islands.

At the end of the seven days, the ship glittered with decorations, ready for a Christmas and New Year’s cruise. They were already fully booked. But I thought I can sign up for next year. But time flew by and now he doesn’t sail anymore.

HISTORY OF SS NORWAY

Norway was renamed SS France in 1960. Length: 1,035 feet, the longest passenger ship ever built. Along with Cunard’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was one of the great luxury liners that regularly crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

But jets came along, and they were faster and cheaper, passenger traffic became unprofitable and the voyages ceased in 1974. France spent several years in the port of Le Havre until Knut U. Kloster, a pioneer of the cruise industry, bought her. $18 million for his Norwegian Caribbean Line (now Norwegian Cruise Line) and renamed it SS Norway. Over the next 10 months, approximately 2,000 workers renovated the ship at a cost of $100 million.

She began her new life in the Caribbean, sailing her first seven-day Caribbean cruise on 1 June 1980 from Miami, her new home port, with an international crew of 800 from some 40 countries. In 1990 she returned to the shipyard again, this time for a $40 million renovation, including a 6,000-square-foot Roman Spa with pampering fitness, health and beauty programs and two glass-walled luxury stateroom levels, two of which are floor-to-ceiling. skylights, wrap-around balconies and jacuzzis with ocean views. In 1993, the ship underwent a $23 million renovation and restoration with a 5,000-square-foot casino in a mirrored, etched, and stained-glass Art Deco theme reminiscent of the ship’s legendary past.

His future was unknown for a long time, but now he is going to scrap.

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