"Saxonia, Long Beach and the Love Boat" - The Royal Caribbean Fan.

"Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure!"
~Charlie Fox / Paul Williams

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One of my favorite TV shows to watch when I was having sleep-overs at my grandparents or great aunts house was the Love Boat. Another Aaron Spelling gem with corning plots and ensemble casts of guest stars I recognized from watching entirely too many old movies and "re-runs." The implied maturity of some things was utterly lost on my young mind. I was more interested in the ship, captains table dinners, etc.

In 1983 friends of my parents took us to the cruise terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. They had taken a honeymoon cruise aboad the Sitmar Line "Fairsea." The Fairsea was a Saxonia class ocean liner built by Cunard in the 1950s. She was intended for passenger trade between the UK and Canada. Like most ocean liners she was sold and rebuilt as a tropical cruise ship.

Fairsea was moor at the east terminal. Back in those days you could actually walk right onto a cruise ship without passing through any security, which is exactly what we did. For the next four hours we walked all around the ship, even visiting the stateroom my parents friends had staid in. Years later when I learned what "turn around day" was like for the crew I understood the curiously unhappy look the steward gave as six people showed-up while he was stripping bed sheets off the bed.

Over the four hours we were on the ship I saw every public space, bar and even the small arcade for the kids.

It was standing outside leaning on a wide teak wood railing along the lowest pool deck that hooked me on cruising. The railing was warm though not hot from the sun. There was a cool breeze. And looking out over the water around the port I decided I wanted to take a cruise. Everything around me just resonated.

The day ended with walking around the late "Ports-o-Call" shops south of of the terminal. There, we ate dinner at a restaurant seated at a table along the waters edge. Around five p.m. the Fairsea, brightly lit, sailed by. Half an hour later, none other than the Pacific Princess passed by, her white paint seeming to glow. Hanging along the side all the way to the waterline was a mass of streamers from the traditional send-off celebration. It was like seeing a childhood myth emerge from a TV screen. It was a real ship, there really was a Pacific Princess. That I knew the show was mostly filmed on sound stages was beside the point.

My first cruise would not come until August of 1999, but that day was the time and place which hooked me on cruising.

"If it doesn't move, it's a hotel." - The Royal Caribbean Fan

If it moves, it is a hotel.

It was scarcely 5:30 in the morning, the October morning sky was still pitch black. The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina afforded a sweeping view of Port Everglades, the 17th Street draw bridge and beyond them the condo lined channel leading to open water. Bleary eyed I managed to drag myself to the balcony and turn on my camcorder then flop in a chair. My son and daughter surprised me entirely by waking up as though it where Christmas morning. Ben emerged first and marveled at the twinkling cityscape. Vicky, two years his senior came out next. The show I had promised them for weeks could be seen at the two mile bouy outside the channel. The Oasis of the Seas was holding station awaiting the harbor pilot, her bow facing the port. With all the lights forward of the bridge dark while at sea she was almost invisible. The ship began to make her way into the channel. Midway in the channel the Oasis slipped behind a block of condos and hotels. Vicky asked again where the ship was and her brother pointed to the condos and replied "If it doesn't move, its a hotel." 

Oasis of the Seas arriving in Fort Lauderdale

The morning ahead would be the culmination of decades of following cruise travel that began with scouring old editions of Sea Classics, touring historic ocean liners to watching the Love Boat depart the Port of Los Angeles. The adventure that started two days ealier as we began our drive to Florida was more than just a family vacation.  Here I was about to have the classic "family vacation" but also share a deep personal love for cruising.

In 2019 Royal Caribbean International began to celebrate its fiftith anniversary.  The first scratch built cruise line, which decades earlier had eletrified the emerging industry with the first purpose-built caribbean cruise ships sailing out of Miami was the first I sailed on.  During the next year I am going to share my experience of cruising and how from that I began the Royal Caribbean Fan in 1999 from a single HTML webpage.  I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have living it.

Oasis of Dreams Rehearsals - The Royal Caribbean Fan Blog.

When the ocming of Oasis of the Seas was announced to the world, one of the first features highlighted was the Aqua Theater. Situated at the very end of the ship, the seating bowl spills outward from the end of Boardwalk. The Aqua Theater hosts more unique features in one location than most new cruise ships do through their entire design. As the name implies the theater is centered around a large diving pool. Three tiers of diving platforms flank the pool on two sides. A trampoline emerges from the adjacent stage and adds a different dimension to what the show offers. A "fly gallery" allows actors to fly into and out of the area, even emerging from under the water. Under the water are three stage platforms. These rise above the water to allow for the entire stage space to be used or sink quietly for dramatic effect.

In our video here, you see the Aqua Theater from a deck ten stateroom balcony over Boardwalk. The cast is rehearsing a few hours before a show. The video screens were being replaced on this cruise so you might notice they are missing from the right side of the theater house. As a people watcher this view was one of the attractions of the cabin. Love Royal Caribbean?

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