Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Cruising the Past" Web Site Features Cruise Ship & Travel History

Are you interested in maritime history? Then you'll want to visit "Cruising the Past," a fairly new web site that examines the history of cruise lines, steamships, and travel. Current stories include historical looks at the retiring QE 2 and the famous liner United States.

Michael L. Grace, a seasoned historian of cruise ship travel, is the editor of "Cruising the Past." Grace has traveled on over 50 passenger ships, has circled the globe three times, and has one of the major private collections of steamship memorabilia. The new web site presents a wide selection of travel material concerned with steamship travel, train travel, and cruising from the 1920s through the 1960s. "Cruising the Past" takes a close look at a "retro," elegant travel past, when there were no security checks, 24-hour buffets or baseball caps worn by passengers.

Grace is currently finishing a book focused on how the TV series "Love Boat" affected the cruise industry and the popularity of contemporary cruising. He started his TV career as a staff writer on the popular series "Love Boat" and says, "The 'Cruising the Past' website examines the glamor of steamship travel prior to the introduction of 747s and the mass cruise market created by the hit TV series 'Love Boat.'"

According to Grace, the site, which has been online for over six months, studies an age when "getting there was half the fun," in an era when travel was an event and not a nightmare. Grace adds, "We realize many aspects of modern-day cruising are much more comfortable than these earlier ships. Cabins are larger and there is a much wider choice of accommodations and activities. But certain aspects of social interaction are absent. There is no longer a feeling of gentility on most cruise ships. Most of the time you think you're stuck in some strip hotel in Vegas that's been dropped down in the sea."

Even if you aren't interested in trains—and I admit that I'm not—there are enough stories on "Cruising the Past" to keep ship junkies and 'Love Boat' fans entertained for hours.

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