Memories, a Photograph and Dick Irvin

One of the nice people in the world is Dick Irvin, Jr., who was a long-time encyclopedic broadcaster and author specializing in pro hockey, which he didn't play but which his father coached (read: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks).

While we are fortunate to be his friends, the reason you're reading about Dick Irvin here is because he happens to be an avid cruiser.

A Cunard cruiser.

Yesterday, after a 16-day journey from New Yorkhe stepped off the Queen Victoria in San Francisco, where the middle sister of the Cunard fleet  — older than Elizabeth, younger than Mary 2 — was the scene of an historic event. On the bridge of the Queen Victoria, a once-illegal photograph was presented to Captain Inger Olsen, one of the few female cruise ship captains in the world.

The photo was of the cruise line's original Queen Elizabeth, the occasion was the old ship's only visit to the West Coast and it was "once illegal" because photographs of ships in ports were prohibited during World War II. The photo was presented to the Cunard captain by the California Heritage Council, to commemorate the Queen Elizabeth's critical carriage of 8,000 American troops bound for Australia.

This was at the height of the Pacific conflict, barely four months after Pearl Harbor, and the American/Australian troops were able to halt enemy advances and play a key role in ending the war. The Elizabeth, along with the Queen Mary 1, transported thousands of American troops during the war, once prompting Winston Churchill to credit Cunard with ending the conflict a year early.

Now, we can't be sure that Dick Irvin witnessed the historic event — his father, Dick Sr., fought in World War I — yesterday or not, but he'll undoubtedly know all about it. And be armed with more fascinating trivia about the ships and the war than anyone could imagine.

That's just one of many reasons why he's so special.

Carnival Miracle
8 nights
April 29, 2013
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Seattle
Inside: $609
Cost per day: $76


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