> Cruises > Star/Ship Atlantic

Star/Ship Atlantic, Bahamas, December 31, 1992 - January 4, 1993

Allyn's note: This review was written over 10 years after the cruise so details are fuzzy.

At some point during the Summer or Fall of 1992, Allyn's father called to invite us (Allyn and then-girlfriend Teri) on a "family reunion" cruise over New Year's. It seems Allyn's grandmother would be paying for about 10 members of the immediate family to all go on this cruise to promote family bonding.

The group consisted of Allyn's father and step-mother, grandmother, great aunt (grandmother's sister), aunt and uncle, sister and brother, plus Allyn and Teri.

We knew nothing about cruises or the Caribbean at that time. The closest to the Caribbean we had been was Disney World in Orlando.

The details of the cruise were sketchy, we didn't know what cruise line or ship where we were sailing on, where we were going, or the exact dates of the cruise until almost the last minute. I'm not sure we even saw a cruise brochure before arriving in Florida. I think we might have been told the cruise was on the Big Red Boat.

"Big Red Boat" was a term used to refer to all of the Premier Cruise Lines' ships because of their characteristic bright red hull paint. At the time, Premier had an exclusive contract with Disney so that Disney characters would appear on their ships. This was long before the Disney Cruise Line existed.

This was also before the World Wide Web had sprung into being. Today, I'm sure we simply would have been given the web site address and we could have found out all about the cruise, researched the ports, etc..

We arrived in Florida a couple of days before the cruise and stayed in a hotel near the Orlando airport. Allyn's father rented a 10-passenger van and we had to make several trip to the airport shuttling members of our party that arrived at varying times.

We had one full day before the cruise and we (the younger generation) spent that at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It was the most crowded time of the year (between Christmas and New Year's) and the park was jam-packed.

We met up with the rest of the family for dinner at the Portobello Yacht Club restaurant at Disney's adult night club zone, Pleasure Island. Much to Allyn's dismay, the logistics didn't work out to spend the rest of the evening inside Pleasure Island at the Adventurers Club, a zany interactive comedy venue (highly recommended for a visit).

On cruise embarkation day, a bus picked us up at the hotel for the one hour ride to the port. Arriving at the port was exciting as we saw our "giant" white and red ship for the first time. It looked big to us back then!

The younger generation (including us) had two inside cabins and the older people had outside cabins. We can't remember what we thought of the cabin although we did experience (for the first and last time) the weird inside cabin feeling of not knowing day from night in that artificially lighted world. We decided we would prefer a window in the future. We also weren't used to a cabin stewardess that straightened our mess, at one point we asked her to stop straightening. These things seem so funny years later.

We ate A LOT on this cruise. I don't recall eating breakfast (we are late risers) but I think that every day we ate two lunches, one in the dining room and a second at the buffet. I think we also went to afternoon tea, and after dinner, hit the midnight buffet every night. We thought the food was some of the best we had ever had! Also, our French waiter, Philippe, who told us he hated to wait on French people (too rude), was to this day one of the best waiters we've ever had.

I remember we tried escargot for the first time.

New Year's Eve was a formal night and everyone got dressed up in their faciest duds (sequins, etc.) We went to one of the show lounges and they passed out champagne.

I know the cruise stopped in Nassau but I can't remember if there were any other port stops. We must have overnighted in Nassau.

In Nassau, we took a snorkeling excursion to Salt Cay, which at the time they were calling "Gilligan's Island". I think they call it "Blue Lagoon Island" these days. We enjoyed this excursion very much for the idyllic island experience although the ocean water was a bit cold in December. The water was a bit rough making the snorkeling a bit challenging for us newbies.

I remember walking around the Nassau shopping district one afternoon and one evening we took a cab to the Crystal Palace casino.

While we were docked in Nassau there was another ship at the next dock over that would change the course (ha!) of our future cruising. A beautiful white ship that was so incredible looking it put our ship to shame. The ship was the Nordic Empress and we resolved that we would someday sail on her. Admiring this ship sold us on Royal Caribbean and turned us into Royal Caribbean cruisers.

We waited in the casino to depart the ship. The bus dropped us off at the airport and since our flights left much later in the day we rented a car and drove over to Downtown Disney and did some shopping.

The saddest part is that Allyn's grandmother did not consider the family reunion cruise a success. Ironically, we were all having so much fun she didn't get to see us enough!

But after this cruise we were hooked. Confirmed cruisers.

Copyright © 1992-1993 Teri & Allyn Fratkin, All Rights Reserved.