Were You Born to Cruise?

S.S. Monarch of Bermuda

S.S. Monarch of the Seas at Hamilton, Bermuda. circa 1938. Photo credit: Okinawa Soba (Rob). Cropped.

Holland America Statendam

In my “upper berth” (top bunk) on Holland America’s Statendam, 1980.

At the age of 20, sailing for the first time with two friends on Holland America Line, I knew cruising was “in my blood.”  For me, that meant sailing on my own adventures and also a yearning to introduce others to cruising.  And I wanted to help travelers plan your special dream cruise vacations.

 

During a free weekend promotion for Ancestry.com a few years ago, I found proof that cruising is practically in my DNA.

 

First was a find about my great-uncle. I came across a couple of ship crew manifests listing him as a steward aboard a ship that was sailing from New York to Bermuda. I vaguely recalled hearing that Uncle Bill had worked on a cruise ship when he was younger.

 

He stayed in the travel industry, but in the mountains overlooking a beautiful lake. Long before I was born, he and Aunt Marge bought Mountain Top Inn located in one of the absolutely most picturesque areas of Vermont. I only recall seeing them a couple of times as they lived so far away.  I remember one story that my great-aunt relayed about Uncle Bill that made him the COOLEST … UNCLE … EVER in my child’s mind. Apparently when the large lake on the hotel’s property froze over, Uncle Bill would drive around on it for fun. Looking back years later, I decided my love of driving in snow to the point where I’d look for roads not yet plowed after snow storms, had been passed down legitimately from my uncle. This streak of perceived craziness by family and other friends was not my fault.

 

I wish I could turn back the clock and ask my uncle to tell me stories about his years on the cruise ship.  I’m sure someone who could both run a popular hotel and enjoy driving on an icy lake would have some fun stories.

 

But enough of my reminiscing. Let’s get back to cruising!

 

The most exciting information I found on Ancestry.com that weekend was an immigration list of U.S. citizens aboard the S.S. Monarch of Bermuda scheduled to arrive back into the Port of New York on October 28, 1938. On the list was a young couple, ages 25 and 23. Mary and Ed Parkin, my grandparents were honeymooning on that cruise to Bermuda!

S.S. Monarch of the Seas' U.S. immigration list, 1938

S.S. Monarch of the Seas’ U.S. immigration list for return to the Port of New York, 1938

 

Not only was I destined to love cruising  but, like my great-uncle and my grandparents, my first cruise was also from New York and sailed to the beautiful island of Bermuda! I enjoy that, by destiny or coincidence, I traveled that same first path with my grandfather, my grandmother and my grandmother’s brother.

 

Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas is the newest ship with a regular schedule to Bermuda.

Next year I’ll be sailing to Bermuda again. This time aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas.  Although I’ll be cruising from Cape Liberty, NJ rather than New York, we’ll still be able to see the Statue of Liberty.  For me, that’s the most special part of sailing from either port.  I wonder if that was as special for my grandparents and uncle?

 

What’s your cruise story? Perhaps it’s not family history, but some wonderful experience you’ve had during a family cruise vacation, a wedding proposal during a cruise or something you learned about yourself during a sailing experience.

 

Happy traveling!

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