Princess Pioneer Gone Not Forgotten

With the passages of time comes the re-telling of old stories, some of them fascinating. A case in point is the story of Stanley McDonald, who died a few days ago at 94. If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship (and it’s safe to assume you have), this is a man who has touched your life.

He was the founder of Princess Cruises. Enter the interesting story. 

In 1960, living in a city soon to host the World’s Fair (Seattle), he chartered a ship in Canada and sailed south with the idea of providing much-needed hotel space for the World’s Fair. He included a cruise from California to British Columbia. That led to the Stanley McDonaldcreation of Princess and the neat story of a cruise line which this year is celebrating its 50th birthday.

But you never sailed on Princess?

Doesn’t matter. By kick-starting the cruise business as he did, it’s not a stretch to say McDonald is responsible for what cruising has become, to mention being at least partly responsible for The Love Boat on TV. But it goes beyond that. After selling Princess Cruises to P&O, he and a partner founded another cruise company called “Sundance Cruises.”

Today, that cruise company is Royal Caribbean.

Along the way, he wrote an autobiography entitled — somewhat immodestly perhaps — The King of Cruise and for the last 34 years of his life, McDonald wasn’t connected to Princess Cruises. Yet he was never forgotten.

Last month, at the launch of 50th anniversary celebrations, his daughter told the Seattle Times that she went to Florida on his behalf and her dad was on the phone from his bed to listen to the naming ceremony of the newest ship, the Regal Princess. She returned home with an anniversary tee-shirt, courtesy of of Gavin MacLeod, who was Captain Stubing in The Love Boat.

When Stanley McDonald died in his sleep, he was wearing the tee-shirt.

- Seattle Times photo

Today at portsandbows.com: A 24-hour pub?

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
4 nights
December 8, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): CocoCayNassau
Inside: $119
Cost per day: $29
www.royalcaribbean.com

 

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