Archive for August, 2013

Let me take you on a… Sea Cruise!

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Finally, three days into Vintage’s summer vacation closing (we’ll reopen on Friday, September 6th), the Gordian knot of my personal life has been transformed into enough frantically tied loose ends for me to begin packing for next week’s cruise. That’s right—DH and I are going on a cruise! Yippee! (It’s in celebration of a milestone wedding anniversary, and I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this).

How do I love cruising? Let me count (some of) the ways…

1) I love “at sea” days, when the ship is surrounded to the horizon by a sheet of dazzling turquoise (or sapphire, or olivine, or…) glass with shifting, lace-spewing peaks and ridges sculpted into it, and the enormous sky holds perfectly still so enormous sunlit clouds can glide through it like big ships. You want to hang onto moments like that forever, just like the little boy in this Graceline ad from 1961:

2) I love the evolutionary link between cruising today and vacationing in the Catskills half a century ago. Same “all inclusive” perks (the food! the shows! the Bingo!); same democratizing of luxury; and, in many cases, the same folks (or their children and children’s children) who headed to the Concord Hotel or Grossinger’s every July and August.

Here’s my elegant mother-in-law sunbathing in the Catskills in the late 60s (DH’s family spent summers at the Commodore Hotel, where for several years Rodney Dangerfield was a guest, though he performed elsewhere); isn’t it easy to transpose her magenta swimsuit and floral chaise lounge onto a salt-sprayed deck in the middle of the ocean?

3) Because my (now-deceased) parents were veteran cruisers who took us on our first voyage to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday, travelling by floating hotel feels like a well-rooted family tradition, during which I often feel their beloved presence.

(The noteworthy brackets to their mariners’ log are that my 22 year old father was a crewmember on the maiden voyage of the SS America in 1940, and that my mother sailed twice around the world as an elderly widow).

4) The food is AMAZING! Fine cuisine has always been part of the allure; here’s a menu from that SS America maiden voyage:

5) I love the alternation between the familiar and comfortable and the exotic, so beautifully captured by this 1953 ad for a South American cruise:

6) I love the formal “captain’s dinners”, which aren’t stuffy, dress-code-bound affairs at all, just an excuse to dress to the (in my case, vintage) nines and have some fun! And if some passengers elect to sport elegant or dapper attire 24/7, it adds terrific eye candy to the atmosphere onboard, much as the bathing beauty and awning-stripe-clad trio in this early 60s Chromspun ad once did:

I could go on and on, but you get my drift, and… I really do have to go and pack now! So I’ll leave you with this parting image (of our August shop window) and wish you a wonderful month, whereever life’s journey may transport you!