Posted April 20th, 2017, 07:24 AM
I suppose there's (at least) two different ways to look at this.
There are the 'occasion' memories. For me these would include Vistafjord's final voyage, Caronia and QE2 in New York together, QM2's maiden arrival into New York, QE2's 40th anniversary, Queen Victoria's Maiden voyage, QM2's 10th anniversary amoungst many others.
There's also the small 'moment' memories. Walking into the restaurant on the first day and the maitre 'd, a man we'd never met before, knowing exactly who we are.
Going into a lounge on the first night, after a three year absence, and the steward just appears with 'our usual'.
Getting to the front of the line at the welcome party and the hostess doesn't need to ask our names, and the captain doesn't need to wait for us to be introduced.
Bypassing the line and going in the back door to the welcome party. Sitting with another couple who had done the same, he had just finished telling us that he was sure if the captain really wanted to shake his hand he would come and find him when I saw his jaw drop. I felt a pair of hands on my shoulders and a voice behind me says, "So. You thought I wouldn't see you sneaking in. Trying to avoid me are you?" This has happened twice, with two different captains, so now we wait in line. It's less embarassing that way.
Having been at the Captain's Table on our first crossing (in the days when that was your table for the whole voyage) we turned up at the restaurant on the first night of our second crossing to be greeted at the door with, "Good evening. We have your usual table for you."
The trip where we had more than our fair share of birthdays, anniversaries and one couple on their honeymoon so almost every night we had a cake and the waiters singing at the table. We discovered that the waiter also had a birthday. On the appropriate night when he returned from the galley with the desserts he found the table decorated with balloons and streamers and a cake that had all been hidden under the table. We sat him down and all sang Happy Birthday to him. (Revenge is sweet.)
There's always the waiters that you remember, and who remember you. Twice we've had waiters become fathers during our cruise and seeing their joy, not just at the time, but when you ask about 'the baby' ten or fifteen years later.
We've watched a deck steward and a bus-boy both climb the ladder to maitre 'd. One of the cruise staff, and two dancers all rise to cruise director. Junior, and senior, officers promoted all the way to captain.
But an elderly friend has the best memory. A fire in the early hours of the morning had us all heading for our muster stations (on the open decks in those days). After several flights of stairs she had to sit down to catch her breath but she was picked up and carried the rest of the way by a six-foot tall, blond, Swedish barman, wearing nothing but his boxer shorts. The highlight of her cruising life!