The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

Minnie and the Chipmunks

Remember The Love Boat – the popular TV show from the 1980s? Well, I fell in love with cruising from watching that show. Several years back, I took a weekend  cruise to nowhere from a local marina in New Jersey. it was a great way to get my feet wet, pardon the pun. And did I have fun! Since then, Tom and I were on one other cruise to New Brunswick, Canada, until recently. A few weeks ago we took a cruise on the Disney Magic (with the official Disney cruise line) from Spain to New York. Yup, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a dream boat! Taking a cruise is like being in a mobile country whose economy is dedicated to enjoyment. With a wide range of entertainment, kids’ clubs, spacious staterooms and more, the Disney Cruise Line is a wonderful way for families to spend time together . . . and a little time apart. There are plenty of adults-only spaces as well. Broadway style shows, dancing, the latest movies, fitness center, personal trainer, spa and lots and lots and lots of food.

First sunrise on Disney Magic, what a greeting!

Me in the porthole

Ya gotta love Disney with all the fun characters wandering around. You never know when Pluto or Mickey will show up! A big bonus for us is that the entire ship was SMOKE FREE, except for one small deck that’s hidden away. And if you think it’s boring being “cooped up” on a boat for two weeks – think again. We were busy all the time. We actually had to MAKE time to swim and relax. I even managed to carve out some time to work on my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Disney is now our fav. Cruising is a great way to spend your vacation.

Nightly monkey made from towels

Between the rock, almost blown away, son Paul Ingis!

Holding on for dear life, me and Tom. It was a mite windy

Sailing into the sunset-through the Straits of Gibraltar

This ship did make some stops. One in Cadiz, another in Lisbon where we took a side trip to beautiful Sintra and charming Cascais, then a stop in the Azores, where my son  Paul and our daughter-in-law Joanne hailed a taxi and took a side adventure. Our final stop was supposed to be St. John’s in Newfoundland, but the Captain decided to head home early to New York, because of concerns about the Hurricane Maria at the time. We hope to visit Newfoundland in the future, since we’ve heard and read such beautiful things about Canada’s east coast.

One of my favorite and most exhilarating moments on board Disney Magic was having my Tom’s arms around me, and my arms wrapped around him, holding tight, up on the top deck, in a fifty-mile-an-hour wind, going through the Straits of Gibraltar at sunset. Behold nature’s beauty.

The fitness center and especially the personal trainers (we got to know a wonderful trainer named Olivia), were tops, as were the people in the spa. Laurabeth Fitzpatrick, an esthetician, was fun to talk with. I didn’t get a facial, but enjoyed discussing skin care and explained BeautyCounter‘s philosophy. (That’s the product line I use and it’s clean and free from more than 1,400 horrible chemicals.) Lots of people took advantage of the convenience of the spa, they offered a full range of face and body care, including a sauna and a beauty salon. I didn’t do any of that, but I did take advantage of the fitness center. Imagine exercising in an all glass facility overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Gorgeous! Talk about a view!

NY Sunset

Our dining room hosts and servers rotated with us for a different dining room experience each night. Animation Palette, Luminaries, and Carioca’s dining rooms and the buffet dining room, Cabana’s. The last night we dined in their famous upscale Palo dining room on the 10th deck, while we were docked in NY. So we got to see the gorgeous New York sunset and we can say we had a great Italian meal in an excellent restaurant on the Hudson River.

That’s us in Luminaires DR

 

 

 

 

 

Most important crew members. Lucio & Carolina, our excellent servers.

Cascais, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Paul&Joanne in Animation Palette

 

Mickey pop, our fav dessert

Time to go home, on our way to debark

 

 

 

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

Titanic last dinner

Mrs. Anne Crain puzzled over the cheerful smell of coffee brewing as she lay in her cabin on the Cunarder Carpathia, bound from New York to the Mediterranean.  It was nearly 1:00 A.M. on the fourth night out, and by now Mrs. Crain knew the quiet little liner well enough to feel that any sign of activity after midnight was unusual, let alone coffee brewing.

Down the corridor Miss Ann Peterson lay awake in her bunk too.  She wondered why the lights were turned on all over the ship-normally the poky Carpathia was shut down by now.

Mr. Howard M. Chapin was more worried than puzzled.  He lay in the upper berth of his cabin on A Deck-his face just a few inches below the Boat Deck above.  Sometime after midnight a strange sound suddenly woke him up.  It was a man kneeling down on the deck directly over his head.  The day before, he had noticed a lifeboat tied to a cleat just about there; now he felt sure the man was unfastening the boat and something was wrong.

Nearby, Mrs. Louis M. Ogden awoke to a cold cabin and a speeding ship.  Hearing loud noises overhead, she too decided something must be wrong.  she shook her sleeping husband.  His diagnosis didn’t reassure her-the  noise was the crew breaking out the chocks from the lifeboats overhead.  He opened the stateroom door and saw a line of stewards carrying blankets and mattresses.  Not very reassuring either.

Here and there, all over the ship, the light sleepers listened restlessly to muffled commands, tramping feet, creaking davits.  Some wondered about the engines-they were pounding so much harder, so much faster than usual.  The mattresses jiggled wildly . . . the washstand tumblers rattled loudly in their brackets . . . the woodwork groaned with the strain.  A turn of the faucet produced only cold water-at twist on the heater knob brought no results-the engines seemed to be feeding on every ounce of steam.

Strangest of all was the bitter cold.  The Carpathia has left New York on April 11, bound for Gibraltar, Genoa, Naples, Trieste and Fiume.  Her 150 First Class passengers pre-Florida era; her 575 steerage passengers were mostly Italians and Slavs returning to their sunny Mediterranean.  All of them welcomed the balmy breeze of the Gulf Stream that Sunday afternoon.Toward five o’clock it grew so warm that Mr. Chapin shifted his deck chair to the shade.  Now there was an amazing change-the frigid blast that swept through every crack and seam felt like the Arctic.

On the bridge, Captain Arthur H. Rostron wondered whether he had overlooked anything.  He had been at sea for 27 years-with Cunard for 17- but this was only his second years a a cunard skipper and only his third month on the Carpathia.  The Titanic’s   call for help was his first real test.

When the CQD (morse code distress signal) arrived, Rostron had already turned in for the night.  Harold Cottam, the Carpathia’s operator, rushed the message to First Officer Dean on the bridge.  They both raced down the ladder, through the chart room, and burst into the Captain’s cabin.  Rostron-a stickler for discipline even when half-asleep-wondered what the ship was coming to, with people dashing in this way.  They were meant to knock.  But before he could reprimand them, Dean blurted the news.

Rostron bolted out of bed, ordered the ship turned, and then-after the order was given-double-checked Cottam:  “Are you sure it is the Titanic and requires immediate assistance?” “Yes, sir.” “You are absolutely certain?” “Quite certain.”  “all right, tell him we are coming along as fast as we can.”

Rostron then rushed into the chart room and worked out the Carpathia’s new course.  As he figured and scribbled, he saw the boatswain’s mate pass by, leading a party to scrub down the decks.  Rostron told him to forget the decks and prepare the boats for lowering.  The mate gaped.  Rostron reassured him, “It’s all right; we’re going to another vessel in distress.”

The iceberg, a pedigree

In a few moments the new course was set-North 52 West. The Carpathia was 58 miles away.  At 14 knots she would take four hours to get there.  Too long.

Many an iceberg has been identified as “the iceberg that sank the Titanic,” but this one has a better pedigree than most.  It was photographed near the scene on April 15.  The Chief Steward of the German ship Prinz Adelbert took the picture, not because of the Titanic-he hadn’t yet heard-but because a great scar of red paint ran along the berg’s base.  It suggested a recent collision with some ship.  White Star Vice President Philip A.S. Franklin was sufficiently impressed that he always refused to look at the picture. (Author’s collection)

This year is the centennial of the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, with whom I am affiliated and am art director, is the impetus of this blog.  We are running an art show, the theme, “The Titanic.”  Since Lockwood is sponsoring the commemoration of its maiden voyage, I researched tales to tell.  Last week the blog was about a tenacious amazing survivor, Helen Churchill Candee, this week talks about the nearest ship CQD (SOS) call to come to the aid of the sinking ship. In my research, I found this story in a 1955 book “A Night to Remember,” by author Walter Lord and published by Henry Holt and Company, New York. It is taken from Chapter IX “We’re Going North Like Hell.”

What would you think if you were sailing in balmy waters, suddenly becoming frigid?

To be continued…

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