Friday, August 20, 2010

Depart With Savoir Faire

There used to be nothing like departing on an ocean liner, either for an Atlantic Crossing or a cruise around the South Pacific. These were occasions when family and friends armed with streamers, bottles of champagne and fruit would come down to the wharf to see you off. Before security, family and friends were allowed on board to help you settle in your cabin and explore the ship before the gong sounded and the cry of “All ashore who is going ashore”

If you were lucky enough to be crossing the Atlantic on any of the French Line Ships such as the Ile de France or Liberte, corridors and public rooms would be filled with red uniformed bellboys delivering flowers fruit and champagne to your cabin as a last minute gesture of goodwill from your friends and family.

I always remember as a teenager and a youngish adult whenever in Sydney going to the Overseas Passenger Terminal to see the liners and if lucky enough to see one depart. My best friend and I (with the blessing of parents) would take the overnight mail train (a journey of eight hours) to spend the day in Sydney. Late afternoon before our return journey back home would see us armed with bags of streamers, down at the wharf seeing off the Fairstar (even then a bit of a rust bucket) with 100’s of people throwing streamers and shouting farewells to those on board. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know anyone, we considered ourselves incredibly sophisticated and world wise for seeing a liner off.

We would all hold on to our streamers until the last one broke and the liner slipped away to the cheers of the crowd on shore and on board!

Nowadays liners slip out of ports with no fan fare and it is just another departure. It is just another cruise or holiday, when before it was the start of a big adventure, with a suitable fanfare.


  1. What a beautiful post. I really enjoyed reading it.
    I personally haven't been on a cruise. I am sure it's not the same feel. There is no more elegance in traveling (cruise or plane). Nowadays, it's all about comfort. It is really a shame.

    Thank you

  2. This is a great post! I came across your blog through Will's.
    You know, I went on a cruise with my mom and was expecting fan fare and there was, sadly, nothing. Sigh. Love the pics!

  3. I, too, pine for the days when liner travel was not only a big deal, but was actually popular. In my way of thinking, ship is the only way to travel - whether or not I can actually afford it is a different story altogether...

  4. Thank you! :-)
    It makes me very happy that you like it. Pola wasn't easy and took me many hours of work...

    THANK YOU!!!!

  5. love this post david. such glamour and pomp in the old cruise travel wasnt there? i live in fremantle and drive through the harbour every day to work - i always get a little excited to see a liner in port. something really romantic about it!

  6. Those uniforms are such darlings!!
    Fab weekend~ cheers*

  7. Pinecone, welcom and thanks for dropping by! Hope to see you soon.

    Jules, Me too I always loved it when I lived in Sydney seeing the liners in port.

    Joe, you are so welcome! I loved it.

    Lenore, aren't they just the cutest!

    Cote, yes travel has become so devoid of any glamour and savoir faire. it is now just a case of getting from A to B


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