Book: First Class: Legendary Ocean Liner Voyages Around the World (2009) by Gerard Piouffre
A GUEST POST by DONNA L. HULL
Sailing the Seas in First Class
If you think today’s mega-ships represent the zenith in cruising accomplishments, don’t be so sure. A look back in time will introduce you to ocean liners, exotic routes and luxury that rivals anything on today’s seas.
First Class: Legendary Ocean Liner Voyages Around the World, published by Vendome Press , does just that. The elegant book documents luxury cruising history through photographs, sketches and first-hand accounts of six famous sea routes and the ships that sailed them.
Author Gerard Piouffre sets the opulent scene with descriptions of drawing rooms, formal attire and a behavioral code that would send today’s casually dressed cruisers overboard in relief. A sepia-toned photograph of two women walking arm in arm on the deck, wearing long morning dresses topped off with extravagant hats, proves the point.
Filled with historical detail, recalls the earliest days of cruising as steam-powered ships replaced sailing vessels, eventually making traveling the seas appealing to the well-heeled traveler. Imagine sailing on the Cunard Line’s Mauritania as she races across the Atlantic to win the Blue Riband, an award for the First Class: Legendary Ocean Liner Voyages Around the World fastest Atlantic crossing by a passenger vessel.
Although the stories and historical minutiae are fascinating, it’s the photographs that capture my imagination. Viewing black and white snapshots of women lounging on the deck in 1940’s bathing attire or couples dancing to an officer playing an accordion, I feel as if I’m browsing through a well-preserved family album. Copies of menus, ship programs, luggage tags and cruise tickets add the ultimate personal touch.
If you’re a cruise fan or a history buff, reading about the Routes of Ice and Gold (the beginnings of theHurtigruten Coastal Express and Alaska cruises) or the long journey through the Suez Canal to the Far East will have you picking up the phone to talk to your travel agent about your own sea exploration. Just don’t expect to bring 12 pieces of luggage or be greeted with a crowd throwing streamers in the air as the ship leaves the dock. That, my cruising friends, was another era that’s only available to you in First Class: Legendary Ocean Liner Voyages Around the World.
Tucson-based writer, Donna L. Hull, has accumulated over 200 days on cruise ships so I knew that Donna was the perfect person to compare these bygone cruises with today’s cruises. Thanks so much, Donna.
The photo on the right is from Wiki Photos. The book was donated by Vendome for a review.
Are you a cruise afficiando? Do you yearn for the old 14-suitcase days with confetti send offs? Tell Donna all about your experience, or ask her opinions if you’re a novice cruiser. And if you liked this post, please share with friends by clicking on one of the buttons below.