When shipboard travel was an event aboard the SS Lurline… and a disappointment on Cunard’s mediocre cruise-ship Queen Victoria

A  wonderful photo of Matson Line’s SS LURLINE during the late 1930s.  The enclosed promenade deck.  A steward serving bouillon in the late morning before luncheon.  A boy looking out to the sea.  This is now a total memory.

I recently sailed trans-Atlantic aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria.  The ship had no promenade.  There were no deck chairs similar to what see you above.  Still water, without the bottle, was $4.00 a glass.  Cunard is a total tragic remnant of what it was.  Everything included in the luxury of the above photo is now vanished.

(Left to Right: Cunard Line’s current headquarters, compared to the former New York headquarters.  Like K-Mart compared to Tiffany.)

Unfortunately, Cunard Line… which claims to be British…  is now just another cruise line operated out of a a boring Los Angeles suburb.  I thought I was alone in my complaints about Cunard Line but recent reviews on Cruise Critic proved my point.  The debut of Cunard’s Queen Victoria out of Los Angeles was nothing but flack hype.

Cunard Line’s only credit is that they have a great public relations staff… but the rest is from hunger.

There was nothing about the Queen Victoria – on my 7 day interminable trans-Atlantic crossing – that was reminiscent of the glory days of Cunard or anything British except the registry of the ship.  I sailed with my parents aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth in the late 1960s… and the Queen Victoria in no way compared.  It was like a mishmash of dreadful ferryboat service.  Staffed by a disorganized group of “worldwide” inexperienced and disgruntled crew.  The waiter even had the gall to tell us how great the service was and then asked for a big tip in writing.

I will review my crossing aboard the Queen Vic5toria next week.   Much about the decline and fall of the Cunard Line.

I sailed in what is loosely described the Queen’s Grill class!   This ship basically had no class at all.  The Queen Victoria was more like a Vegas hotel such as Circus Circus afloat with a total false veneer of so-called British service.

If you are going trans-Atlantic… select a repositioning cruise… avoid Cunard…

More later…


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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