When my father traveled with me last month on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I expected to hear a few tales of déjà vu. After all, he had sailed with my mother on Adventurer, one of the line’s smaller ships, back in 1974.
(The vessel, along with its twin Cunard Ambassador, represented a departure from the transatlantic company and was one of its first ventures into leisure cruising. Interestingly enough, after years with Norwegian Cruise Lines, the ship still lives on with Louis Cruises, first as Coral and now as Rhea.).
Back then, cruising had yet to become a mainstream vacation (this was well before The Love Boat sailed into America’s hearts), and the pictures my parents took it proved it. “There wasn’t much choice in those days,” my father noted. Traveling out of San Juan, the ship made stops in Aruba, Grenada and Caracas, Venezuela, a port that you don’t see on too many itineraries anymore.
On this #ThrowbackThursday, here are a few more changes that my father noticed since his last Cunard outing (he’s also traveled on Crystal, Carnival, Princess, and Viking river):
The cabins are more luxe. Our suite in Princess Grills bore little resemblance to the ship my dad described. “Cabin was NOT great. We had bunk beds!” he told me. Also, the ship had no balconies, although there was a porthole for light.
The officers eat separately. Because of my job at Cruise Critic, we were graciously invited to dine with the captain on QM2, a lovely experience on formal night. But back in the day, officers were assigned to every large table and ate with passengers every night, Dad said. “We were with the ship’s doctor. He had us for cocktails in his cabin.” (Personally, I love those mid-century Mod chairs).
Changes in the dining room, food. “I think the food quality went down as the variety of eating places went up,” said Dad, although he’s quick to note that his palate has changed drastically over the years (“We were 30 years old, we didn’t know much.”).
Changes in the dining room, service. Back in the ’70s, “waiters were more friendly and every table had a busboy assigned to it,” he said. While we were assigned to Princess Grill (and only ate dinner twice there over five days), Dad also quibbled with the more casual approach toward drinks served with the meal. “Our wine steward was rarely seen, even in PG. It used to be more of a big deal.”
Now it’s your turn – we’re dying to see your #ThrowbackThursday cruise photos! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with Throwback in the subject line.