COME ABOARD WITH THE NIXONS
Everyone loves to go on vacation and so did the Scott Nixon family, as shown here in this week’s feature film. The Scott Nixon Family boarded the Norwegian Cruise Line’s MS Bergensfjord for a 1960 Easter Cruise to the Caribbean. The MS Bergensfjord was built by the Swan Hunter Yard in Newcastle, Great Britain, in 1956. It operated cruises and crossings until 1971, when she was sold to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and renamed De Grasse. In my research I came across some internet postings of former passengers who stated that they were impressed by the finely polished furnishings, wood-paneled walls and rich Scandinavian carpets. Another passenger had fond memories of skeet shooting on the stern and fabulous meals.
The Nixons took their cruise vacation about the time that the modern cruise ship concept was evolving from the “ocean liner” industry to the “cruising for pleasure” industry, mostly due to competition with the booming airline industry. Eager to reclaim their business, idle ocean liners were retrofitted to function as cruise ships and many more built with this new purpose in mind. Marketing strategies were adopted which included promoting voyages as holiday cruises, not unlike the Nixon’s 1960 Easter Cruise. Other strategies included building pools on the lido deck, booking entertainment, planning on-board daily activities, serving great food and providing comfortable accommodations. Advertising pamphlets touted “Carefree Cruising” with color photos of well-appointed state rooms, lounges, public areas, dining facilities and exciting ports of call. As their investments matured and the money rolled in, new and bigger cruise ships were built.
Then … in 1977 The Love Boat TV show debuted and actually put cruising in the spotlight, especially Princess Cruises. Many of us remember The Love Boat song:
Love, exciting and new
Come aboard – we’re expecting you . . .
(The lyrics of that classic theme song were written by Paul Williams.)
Corny but catchy . . . some folks loved the show . . . some hated it but in the end, “The Love Boat” helped launch a new era of attractive luxury cruising for middle-class consumers.
Today the cruise industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with amazing ships that support a huge array of entertainment, dining options, high-class accommodation, on board services and the list goes on and on. With an influx of exciting new ships, interesting ports of call (most lines have their own private resort), affordable prices, and luxury amenities, I believe cruise vacations are here to stay.
The Cruise Ship Industry Statics
Annual cruise industry revenue for the US economy – $37.85 billion
Number of cruise industry jobs in the US – 314,000
Number of cruise passengers in 2010 – 14,300,000
Number of cruise passengers in 2009 – 13,445,000
Number of cruise passengers in 2008- 13,005,000
Average annual growth rate of the cruise industry since 1980 – 7.4 %
Total number of cruise passengers since 1990 – 154,000,000
Number of cruise passengers that originated in North America – 10,290,000
Number of new cruise ships currently on order – 26
Amount being spent on new ships – $15 billion
Percent of cruises that were in the Caribbean – 37.02 %
Number of North American embarkation ports – 30
Number of embarkation ports around the world – 2,000
These statistics are expected to rise in the upcoming years, which make the future bright for the cruising industry despite its current notable difficulties.
I’m sure the Scott Nixon family had no idea that the cruise industry would grow as quickly and lucrative as it has. Our feature film is a treasure as it gives us a window into what it was like to be a passenger aboard a cruise ship while the industry was beginning to evolve to where it is today.
My husband and I have chosen cruising as our favorite choice of vacation and have taken many through the years. We’ve done the math and have discovered that the same amenities on land are much more expensive than what you would find on a cruise vacation. Booking during non-peak months is another way we keep our cost down. We board a beautiful ship with luxury accommodations, turn off our cell phones, and smile at each other as we sail into the sunset. No one can find my workaholic husband . . . he is all mine for 7 days. We don’t worry about where we will eat for each meal and our hotel travels with us. We enjoy beautiful beaches, take a lot of afternoon naps, take in some interesting shore excursions from time to time, and enjoy each other’s company. It is true that many things have changed in the cruising industry, but some things have not and I hope they never do. The stunning sunsets are the same, the Caribbean waters are still crystal clear and deep blue (captured well on Mr. Nixon’s footage,) the beaches are soothing, and the peace one gets by getting away from your everyday worries for a while is what a vacation is all about.
Blog by Cherrie Redd Brown, April 2013
You can watch the film here: http://mirc.sc.edu/fedora/repository/usc%3A2323