The cruiseships of childhood


I’ve been thinking about sharing this post for a while now, as I’m sure many of us have some kind of memories about the ships, and cruiseships in particular, from our childhood. Before I continue on this bLOG entry, I’d like to stress that I’m fully aware that our different memories my be very different from each other, all I can do is relate what I remember, the way I remember it. Neverthless, it’s probably easy to come to the conclusion that for the somewhat older generation amongst us (not that I feel I belong to that group), everything was “better before”, ship designs included. While the ships with great sheer, esthetical perfect lines and round curves now are almost all gone, the ships of today are extremely generic with a few exceptions. 


Each summer holiday during my teenage years at Marøy, near Rørvik, I still recall how exciting it was looking at the cruiseships sail by. I remember that I was always extatic seeing this (to me) giant ships, as they sailed less than 100 meters from the coastline next to our summer paradise. As these were the years before AIS websites, publically available port schedules and the Internet, researching WHEN they would pass was always a very difficult task.  Our ship-spotting genes were finely tuned to the sound of ships, and our heads were continuously pointed towards the sounds and the seas. When we FELT a ship was approaching, we hurried either down to the water front, or if we had more time, to the bridge across the sound. At evenings and during night time, the ships even looked more impressive: with thousands of shimmering lights and lots of people on deck. 

The first cruiseship I was on board was one of the original Royal Viking ships: by now, I can’t remember if it was the Skye, Sea or Star. I was invited to visit on board by the Ship’s Purser, her name was Jorunn or Torunn, and she was a gorgeous tall and blond Norwegian. I clearly remember that I was not only spell-bound by her impressive beauty, but that I also felt head over heals for the ship. After the visit on board, I was in no doubt: this is what I wanted to do in my life. I imagined by myself that I wanted to do something like her job, or any other job as long as I got to sail the world on a ship like this.


After the visit on board the Royal Viking, I started writing letters to cruise lines asking (as in begging) them for souvenirs, logo-material and brochures. Back then, finding the addresses to their head office was an immense task as well. Most cruiselines returned small letters of appreciation, and some sent even bigger envelopes with brochures, but one cruiseline went well above and beyond. 


I remember the day relatively well: the postman had left a note in our mailbox that a large, and heavy, parcel could be collected at the local post office. The sender was a cruiseline from Athens, Greece. Sadly, they are no longer in service, but my goodness, I loved that brand and that line. I remember asking my mother to take me to the post office to pick it up: she was perplexed and probably wondered what mischiefs I had been up to now. At the post office, there was a big box that hardly didn’t fit in the car, with a large EPIROTIKI LINES sticker on each side. Upon returning home, the box filled with big flag, table flags, tablecloths, brouchures, pictures, postcards, pens and logo-papers, books and a whole lot more. Receiving something like this from Epirotiki, was like putting gas on a bonfire. 

It was like all the stars were lining up: my future would be cruiseships. Picking a profession, and finding a school to take me there was not hard for me. Since there was no "Ship Purser-schools", I ended up enrolling at the Maritime Academy. With the exception of a handful very different jobs in different parts of the world, which I would also be extremely passionate about, the sea and the passenger ships is still today my place of income. 


But all of that is a side-track of the story I was going to share now. This is the story of the ships I remember, and there are naturally a few more. These are the few I still have some image record of. These images may not be masterpieces by today’s standard, but for me, these were the images I kept returning to, and was always looking at, dreaming about. Yes, I know, I know: I was a gigantic nerd. But at the same time admitting that I was a geek: isn’t that now considered sexy? It for sure didn’t mean you were the cool kid back then! I was the one who not only didn’t fit the mold, I broke the mold. 


Anyhow, this post was not going to be about me, but the memories of all the wonderful ships now gone. I vivdly remember annual visitors like for example the Winston Churchill, Mermoz, Sagafjord and Vistafjord, Neptune, Istra, Dalmajica, Canberra, the Royal Viking-ships, and in more recent times at the end of the 80’s, the Seabourne Pride. I could probably have listed quite few more but memory is not what it used to be. 

My own images below have been reduced in size and compression to fit this page, and they are as far from superb quality as they can possibly be. They are however a humble and small recording of a memory from simpler days of life. They were for the most part taken with inexpencive point-and-shoot film cameras, and scanned to digital file nearly 15-20 years ago. I do have some other, much older photographs as well, of a few other ships, but apparently, they have not been digitalized as of yet. 

Which ships do you especially remember from your earlier years, and your childhood. Please do let me know below. 


In totally random order: 

1980VistafjordbyRVK

Vistafjord in Cunard colors navigating the Nærøysund, Norway. Both the Vistafjord and the Sagafjord were amongst the biggest cruiseships to sail by Rørvik back in the 80’s, and they were always a very impressive sight. 

Azur

I also seem to remember The Azur in Norwegian waters, though here she is photographed decades later in Odessa, Ukranie. 

Funchal

Funchal was a very frequent ship to see every summer at the coast of Norway. Here, seen at Stockholm, Sweden, some time later. 

Scan10090

Mermoz was one of the regulars as well, and high up on the list of my favourites. 

Scan10089


Princess Danae

I somehow remember that both the Daphne and Danae calling at Trondheim during the summers. Here, the Daphne is seen during the 1992 Summer Olympics at Barcelona, while the Danae is seen arriving at Saint Petersburg, Russia. 

Scan10074

Costa Allegra at Trondheim: this was before Costa got those brand new, giant ships they have today. 

SS Amerikanis P1

A ship no longer - the beautiful and majestic Amerikanis of my favourite cruiselines, Chandris Cruise Line. 

2009 06 22 RVK Various11

One of the smaller ships, the Adriana III, as seen as late as in June 2009. 

RadissonDiamond

I might be completely wrong on this one, but didn’t the Radisson Diamond also do some cruises along the coast of Norway? In this image, she is seen arriving at Groot Baai, Saint Maarten, the Netherlands Antilles. 

2009 06 22 RVK Various49

The Ocean Majesty as seen as recently as in June 2009. Back in the 80’s I believe she sailed under different names, both as Sol Christina and the Kypros Star. I’m not entirely convinced she was a regular in Norwegian waters back then.  

2009 06 30RVK100

The Black Prince of Fred Olsen Cruise Line was at first absolutely not one of my favourite ships, but the more I saw her, the more I loved her. She was different than the others, and as a young boy, I loved the shape of her funnel and bridge to mention a few. 

Van Gogh in Naeroyfjord 2003 06 24 02

The former Russian-built cruiseship Van Gogh came to Norway many times. I remember her especially as the Gruziya. In the this image, she is seen as Vang Gogh in the Nærøyfjord of Norway in June 2003. 









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