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Malt Shop Music On The Eurodam

News item: There’s a theme cruise on Holland America’s Eurodam next year called the Malt Shop Memories Cruise.

On our first date, which must be close to 100 years ago, we went to a malt shop…okay, it was called The Chocolate Shop…same thing. But how many of us remember malt shops? Jukeboxes and sodas and counter service and banana cream pie…

It’s probably appropriate the cruise is on a Holland America ship, for demographic reasons. Given the diminishing number of people who know what a malt shop is (or was), it’s definitely appropriate that the cruise is sooner as opposed to later.

Neil SedakaBen E. KingNot just because of the audience's age, either.

One of the scheduled performers on the Eurodam is Neil Sedaka (left). He’s 75. Plus Chubby Checker, who’s 73. Also Sonny Turner (75), one of the lead singers for one of the groups claiming to be The Platters. And Bobby Rydell (72), Little Anthony (73), Lou Christie (71), Frankie Avalon (74), Ben E. King (76, right), Darlene Love (“He’s A Rebel”), who’s old enough (76) to have Toni Braxton play her in a bio pic now in production for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

We’ve seen some of these “old-time” acts in a variety of venues (and, yes, on PBS). We enjoyed Little Anthony and The Imperials at a street show when he was a mere child of 67. Frankie Valli at 70 wowed us at a Las Vegas hotel. As recently as this week, Darlene Love was preparing for her 29th appearance on Letterman and cutting a new album to be released in time for her tour next year!

The cruise is set for November 1, 2015. It’s a 7-day trip from Fort Lauderdale (return) to Eurodamthe southern Caribbean with stops in the Bahamas, Aruba and Curacao. Details can be found at maltshopmemories.com.

For the most part, performing is like riding a bicycle for these “old folks.” They always know how. Maybe the wheels are a little slower, and the notes not quite as high, but who better to play “them” than the originals?

In another time, they would have been playing lawn bowling, not cruise ships. They’d be thrilled to shoot their age on the golf course but most of them are too busy still performing…for music lovers who remember malt shops.

Tomorrow: Some entertainers we've enjoyed on cruise ships

Today at portsandbows.com: What's happened to Caribbean cruises

Norwegian Jewel
7 nights
January 17, 2015
Houston (return): CozumelBelizeRoatan
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38

Cruising Notes from the Boats

The right price………………..$349
January 14, 2011:
7 nights    
Costa Atlantica
Miami return
Balconies just $549, Suite for $999
iCruise.com or 1-800-427-8473
* * *
In the latest issue of her monthly magazine, O, TV super star Oprah Winfrey named her favorite things, and one of them — first identified on her show — is Allure of the Seas. Tomorrow, it’s expected a full load of 6,000 or so passengers will feel the same way on the Royal Caribbean mega ship’s inaugural voyage.

Seven members from Oprah’s TV audience were given a 7-day cruise for two on the Allure. Tomorrow’s trip leaves Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. (EDT) and makes three stops — Labadee (Royal’s private island in Haiti), Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. When it goes west, Oasis of the Seas goes east. The ships alternate this itineraries every week, always from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (Oasis) and Sunday (Allure).

That means today is the last time the two will be in port together. Their combined presence is already having an impact on what other lines do, initially at least in the summer, a slower time for Caribbean cruises. Norwegian sends its Epic to Europe for the summer, and joins Princess, Celebrity and Holland America as lines with no ships anywhere in Florida next summer.
* * *

It was probably just a matter of time until cruising became a subject for Undercover Boss, the popular CBS reality show that sends an executive to work undercover in his or her company to find out what life at the bottom is really like. The cruise executive was Kevin Sheehan, the No. 1 guy at Norwegian Cruise Lines, and the show is due “in the next few weeks.”

Sheehan went undercover on two NCL ships, the Epic and the Pride of America, which sails around the Hawaiian Islands. Without giving anything away prior to the show’s airing, Sheehan simply says: “It was an eye-opening experience.”

Undercover Boss airs at 9 p.m. on Sundays.
* * *
Strangest thing we saw during our 4-hour visit on the Allure in Fort Lauderdale, between its two-day promotional cruises: a woman walking into a bar in her bathrobe.
* * *
Some of the nicest people you meet work on cruise ships, and it’s not always because they’re taught to smile and say hello to the customers. When you hear what a group of Carnival employees did, you’ll know what we mean…

After Hurricane Tomas ripped through St. Lucia last month, there was a need for emergency supplies. A group of employees from the Carnival Miracle — which stops in St. Lucia — delivered clothing, mattresses and other much-needed items on behalf of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 15 member cruise lines.
* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

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