Friday, June 17, 2011

See You on the Lido Deck!

As we are getting ready to for our summer vacation and Baltic Cruise next week, my thoughts of course swing back to the vintage age of cruising. Previously ocean travel was a means to an end. Primarily used as a means of transport before aviation took over, the industry has changed. Now it is not the destination that counts but the ship itself. This is even reflected in the fact that ships are no longer called Ocean Liners, but Cruise Ships.

Previously, because of weather (especially on the transatlantic run) few Ocean Liners had large outdoor deck spaces or even swimming pools. Pools were allocated to spaces deep in the bowels of a ship, and the lido deck was virtually non-existent!

Think lido deck today and we are cast back to re-runs of “The Love Boat” or the huge multi-pooled and crowded decks of modern cruise ships.

However during the 1930’s and right through to the 1960’s one European line went to great pains in promoting the outdoor spaces and particularly the Lido decks of their liners.

The Italian line which plied the Southern route through the Mediterranean which was much warmer than the Northern route serviced by other companies, had huge outdoor spaces and pools on their liners.

Always glamorous by day or by evening, this was a major selling point of the line. Instead of being cooped up inside on the Northern Atlantic, one could spend the 5 days at sea, sunning and swimming on the lido deck around the pool.

Nights were also spent outside, with couples in their elegant evening wear dancing or engaging in tete a tete’s around the pool.

This tradition on the Italian Line carried right through until the late 1960’s until the jet airliner eclipsed ocean travel completely.

As we embark on our cruise, I will definitely be thinking of those sun filled days and star filled nights spent on the Lido deck of an Italian liner!


  1. Hello David:
    What a delightful post of those elegant days.

    And, we wish you both many sun filled days and star filled nights on your Baltic Cruise. Or should that be languid days on the lido of the Balkan liner?!! Whatever, happy holidays!!

  2. I love these days of cruises, before they were taken over by loopy tourists and crazed children. I've always wanted to take a cruise and hopefully soon I can.

    Happy Holidays!


  3. My late husband used to take a cruise to europe every summer with his parents. He was so lucky to have travelled on so many classic ocean liners. This transatlantic travel continued until the early 1960s when he was in University.
    I on the hand grew up with air travel and was fortunate to travel on Pan Am to the South East Asia in the 1960s....and yes, I had a Pan Am travel bag!

  4. This was so refreshing to read. I agree with Jane and Diego - cruises seemed to be much more elegant back then, ladies in evening when I think of a cruise I imagine people (and lots of kids) who many times don't even want to leave the ship to see the place they are visiting. I know you will though and can't wait to read your posts about it! Have a great weekend!

  5. Great post! Have a wonderful trip!
    Jamie Herzlinger

  6. You are going on a cruise that´s fantastic! I love cruises..never been in one though..but someday! Of course going fierce with all my cruise wear haha

    The Black Label

  7. I'm so very jealous. Have always wanted to go on a cruise, sans enfants though! So maybe its a few years off for me. I picture sutting in hte sundeck with the girls and drinking G&T's.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip!!

  8. I have done a lot of traveling in my life but never by cruise! I have always wanted to take a trip via a cruise ship! Might just have to do it this year..

    All the best, Angel

  9. Great posters, in style. I'm looking forward to your cruise, really, to see how it goes nowadays!

  10. Enjoy your holiday! You just may convince me to go on a cruise...I'm sure you've found the most glamourous one.

    Bon Voyage!

  11. I really enjoy the dynamic graphics of those earlier Italian Line posters (or ads). Great compositions that relay the feel of luxury and style. I hope that's what you experience, too. Have a wonderful vacation.

  12. super inspirational!


  13. All travel was more elegant back then!! My aunt went transatlantic on the original Queen Elizabeth (or was it the Queen Mary) = well I still remember her marvelous descriptions of dressing for dinner etc. A Baltic cruise sounds fabulous - both of my grandmothers were from Latvia (a coincidence) so I would love to see Riga. I look forward to your report!!


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