Retro Cruising: Immigrant Italian families coming to the USA and CANADA…

Retro Cruising: Immigrant Italian families coming to the USA and CANADA…


Shipboard scenes from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s… aboard the Italian Lines, Cunard Lines and the Greek Lines…

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  • Can you imagine what it was like to say goodbye to your family, your home and your friends?
  • To leave for a strange country, not knowing the language, and with little or no money?
  • Who would do such a thing?
  • Why would anyone do something so drastic?

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Going to America

Most Italian immigrants never planned to stay in the US permanently. There is even a special phrase that was coined for Italians: “Birds of Passage” since their intent was to be migratory laborers.

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Even though about 75% of Italian immigrants were farmers in Italy, they did not wish to farm in the US (as it implied a permanence that did not figure in their plans).

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Instead, they headed for cities where labor was needed and wages were relatively high.

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Click here to read a wonderful piece on Italian immigration to the USA and Canada…



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…