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anne13

Remember the Italian Line Raphaello and Michaelangelo?

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Back in the 60's, my family and I (a youngster at the time) were fortunate enough to sail transatlantic from NYC to Italy (Raphaello) and back (Michaelangelo).

 

I celebrated my 7th birthday on the ship. Those were the days of cruising! The Italian food was fantastic and the activites for kids were great! I remember the children's playroom. There was an actual registered nurse as well as crew staff to help the children. One ship even had a childsize merry-go-round on board! The food and service was something I have yet to experience in cruises today.

 

Anyone out there who cruised on the Italian line back in the 60's? Have you found anything comparable to that today?

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Back in the 60's, my family and I (a youngster at the time) were fortunate enough to sail transatlantic from NYC to Italy (Raphaello) and back (Michaelangelo).

 

I celebrated my 7th birthday on the ship. Those were the days of cruising! The Italian food was fantastic and the activites for kids were great! I remember the children's playroom. There was an actual registered nurse as well as crew staff to help the children. One ship even had a childsize merry-go-round on board! The food and service was something I have yet to experience in cruises today.

 

Anyone out there who cruised on the Italian line back in the 60's? Have you found anything comparable to that today?

 

Anne,

DH worked on the Italian Lines from '68 til '75. He's since been on cruises as a passanger and has yet to find the kind of service he use to provide on the Italian lines.

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Anne... my parents cruised on Raphaello on her next to last cruise. They loved that ship and although cruised on other ships, they could never measure up to Raphaello and her wonderful crew. It was a terrible shame what happened to these ships and that Italian Line allowed it to happen. From what I understand at one time Home Lines wanted to buy the ships but Italian Lines did not for some reason want this. In the end the ships were sold at a very low price to Iran!

 

Here's an interesting link for you:

 

http://www.michelangelo-raffaello.com/english_site/en/en.htm

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Michaelangelo was my first cruise back in 1973 leaving from NYC to San Juan, St. Thomas, Martinique, and Aruba. I think it was a 10 or 12 day cruise and remember at dinner each night the pan man would make our fetticini alfredo tableside also cherries jubilee and crepes. That does not happen nowadays. Jill:cool:

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Yes, and fondly. A couple of trans-Atlantics on each, and a few cruises, but of the Italian line, my favorite was still the DaVinci.

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I sailed on the Michelangelo in 1974 (I was 9), and I remember enjoying myself so much that I told my parents that when I grew up I was DEFINITELY going to go on a cruise again. The waiters spoiled me and my 2 brothers at meals--for example, once they discovered that we liked the little Italian pastries (similar to petit fours), they would bring them after every dinner without our asking. They showed us how to "properly" twirl the spaghetti using a spoon, had our milk waiting for us when we arrived at the table--they were wonderful! We did a week (maybe 8-day--don't exactly remember) cruise from NY to the Caribbean (St. Thomas and Curacao--I'd love to go back to Curacao, though it might be quite different now!). I remember my mom saying that she and my dad were going to go by themselves (it was for an AIA convention), but when they found out they could add all 3 of us kids for some ridiculously low price like $200 or $300 (total, not each), they decided to take us with them.

 

When my husband and I started cruising (in 2001 for a belated honeymoon), I did some research because I was curious as to what had happened to the Michelangelo--I was saddened to find out that the ship had been sold to Iran, though I certainly didn't expect it to be still sailing almost 30 years after I'd been on that ship. She was tiny compared to today's ships, but through my nine-year-old eyes, I thought she was beautiful!

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Oops, as you can see from my signature, I meant I sailed in 1973. Don't want to age myself more than I already am! :o

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My first cruise was on the Raphaello back on Easter in 1973. Still have memories of going to bed seeing clear blue water and coming back into New York and seeing dead fish swimming outside my window.

 

That's when the term "reality" really hit.

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Back in the 60's, my family and I (a youngster at the time) were fortunate enough to sail transatlantic from NYC to Italy (Raphaello) and back (Michaelangelo).

 

I celebrated my 7th birthday on the ship. Those were the days of cruising! The Italian food was fantastic and the activites for kids were great! I remember the children's playroom. There was an actual registered nurse as well as crew staff to help the children. One ship even had a childsize merry-go-round on board! The food and service was something I have yet to experience in cruises today.

 

Anyone out there who cruised on the Italian line back in the 60's? Have you found anything comparable to that today?

Yes, my husband and I were on The Michelangelo, at least 37 years ago, or 38 years ago..We had wooden showers, never thought about the mold, or fungi...We loved Streamers, our parents and children were allowed to visit our stateroom, no bigger than a closet...(that was before we had to worry

about security..Tobyhilda

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As a child (from 1964-1976) I was fortunate to sail on many of the Italian Line ships when we went to visit our relatives in Italy. The thing I remember most about the Michelangelo and Raffaello were the pools with the slides, and the strong winds crossing the Atlantic. My mother was constantly chasing us to put sweaters on.

 

However my favourite ship was the Cristoforo Colombo - it sailed directly from Trieste, near my grandmother's home (as opposed to Genoa). The Colombo had a children's dinoing room - the walls were decorated with scenes from Pinocchio, and to this day, I will never forget my brother getting sick at lunch while we passed through the straits of Gibraltar.

 

In my recent cruising history, i have yet to find anything even close to the service levels of the Italian Line. I am sure that it does exist on the high-end ships such as Crystal, Silversea, etc. This past summer I returned to Italy (sadly by plane) after an absence of seven years. Upon returning home I booked a winter cruise on the MSC Opera, hoping to experience some of the Italian flavour of this past summer. I am hoping that this cruise will bring back some of the Italian Line memories of thirty years ago. Will keep you posted.... Cheers RD

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As a child (from 1964-1976) I was fortunate to sail on many of the Italian Line ships when we went to visit our relatives in Italy. The thing I remember most about the Michelangelo and Raffaello were the pools with the slides, and the strong winds crossing the Atlantic. My mother was constantly chasing us to put sweaters on.

 

However my favourite ship was the Cristoforo Colombo - it sailed directly from Trieste, near my grandmother's home (as opposed to Genoa). The Colombo had a children's dinoing room - the walls were decorated with scenes from Pinocchio, and to this day, I will never forget my brother getting sick at lunch while we passed through the straits of Gibraltar.

 

In my recent cruising history, i have yet to find anything even close to the service levels of the Italian Line. I am sure that it does exist on the high-end ships such as Crystal, Silversea, etc. This past summer I returned to Italy (sadly by plane) after an absence of seven years. Upon returning home I booked a winter cruise on the MSC Opera, hoping to experience some of the Italian flavour of this past summer. I am hoping that this cruise will bring back some of the Italian Line memories of thirty years ago. Will keep you posted.... Cheers RD

 

I too loved teh Italian Line/ old Costa & Lauro Lines. I sailed MSC Opera last February - they spirit onboard was as close to the old Home & Italian Lines I've experienced since Sitmar. I had an Italian waiter...yumm on the service. You can't go back but at certain moments I found myself laughing & enjoying times a I had years ago! - i hope teh same for you.

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Rotterdam

 

I am hoping that my waiter et al are Italian. I have heard that a lot of the dining room waiters have been replace by other nationalities. Not that there is anything wrong with that - i am just craving that Italian influence...

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My parents sailed on the Italian Lines in 1968, and I have pictures of that cruise. With the lifestyle of today, I am afraid that there will never be that style of cruise again. The days of women wearing formal gowns and fur stoles every night to dinner are gone.

As to service, the closest I have found so far is Radisson Cruise Line. Yes, most of the wait staff is Filipino, and the cabin staff is varied European (no Italian overall), but they treat you royally. The ships are larger (except the Navigator) but the passenger space ratio and crew to passenger ratio make the ships feel much more personal than size would normally dictate. They normally have only 1 formal night on 7=10 day cruises, but most other nights are at least 'informal', ie. dresser than shirts and slax.

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When I was a little girl, my grandparents sailed on the Michelangelo and I was fortunate enough to see them off on board. I remember the cabin being very tiny. Lots of people walking throughout the ship. In one of the main lounges, I remember looking around mesmorized...it was wonderful. When I strolled the deck with my family, I knew I didn't want to get off. My memories are so vivid for that long ago, but I was definitely smitten. I remember saying to my sister that day, "Maybe someday if I am very very lucky, I'll get to go on a cruise" Sadly, I never sailed on the Italian line, but later was able to enjoy cruises on Costa and SITMAR. By the way, that was the historic day, so I was told later by the son of an Italian Line executive, that the Michelangelo and Raphaelo were in port together....berthed right next to each other.

Maybe someday, a cruise executive will see these postings and bring back some of the style and service we once loved and now long for...

Cindra

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My family sailed on Raffaello in the Summer of 1968 from NYC to Naples. My first cruise at 19. Must admit, while I still greatly enjoy the cruise experience of today, that first trip on Raffaello set a standard which I have not found equalled since.

Bill

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I took my second cruise on the Raffaello in 1973 to the Caribbean. Beautiful ship! We hit a storm off Hatteras and I have a shot of waves breaking over the bow. Really rough ride.

I can still remember the green formica walls and green linoleum in the cabin, all trimmed with chrome. Spent a lot of time getting lost wandering thru that maze of companionways below decks trying to find my cabin. Today's ships can't compare with the feeling of a true liner!

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Wow! You all tore at my heart strings! Memories...........so very, very special. In May 1955 I sailed transatlantic from NYC to Naples on the Christoforo Columbo and on August 31, 1955 we left Genoa on the Andrea Doria for NYC to return home. I was a just 14 yo and my brother 11 yo. Our parents booked First Class and believe me nothing ever in my life has topped the experience on these two outstanding ocean liners. Those days are so gone...........and it is so sad.............It was a different era and I feel so privledged and grateful for the experience and memories.

I have been hooked on ships and cruising all my life and have enjoyed many cruises since but no ship in this day and age will ever compare to the ambiance, service, food etc. etc. of those grand Queens of the Sea. I have not made a transatantic crossing since 1955 and guess that one of the Queens would come close to what I remember with the Italian Lines ships especially if booked First Class whatever they call it now.

Anyone here old enough............lol........to remember the Andrea Doria and Christoforo Columbo? When the Andrea Doria met her disaster we sat together as a family and cried and cried watching the news on our little TV. My parents received calls from many friends that they met on board and all shared in the grief and saddness of the horrific accident. I will never, ever forget that night and the news reports etc.

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This does bring back memories. My first transatlantic crossing was in 1963, I was 6 years old on the Leonardo Da Vinci, to visit our family in Italy. We did several other crossings on the Michaelangelo and Da Vinci, but that first crossing will always be magical to me. I remember the dining room, the movie theater, and the childrens playroom so well. But most of all I remember our family in Italy waving to us all as we stood on deck with streamers.

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Romauibe

 

Reading your post, I couldn't help but remember the last night we sailed home from Trieste in 1972 on the Colombo with our relatives waving us off as well. Generally we came home via Genova - but that summer we took the long way home. The Colombo may be gone, but the maritime station is still there, and every time I go back, I can't help but remember as the ship backed out of what is literally the centre of the city. thanks for the memory...

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Watched the Costa Marina as it sailed from Trieste today - it was exciting - just like the good old days..

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This is so interesting that I found a site like this. My father is an Italian immigrant who sailed to America on the Andrea Doria in 1955. He went back to Italy on Michaelangelo and came back on Raphaello. He has vivid memories of those two, but not the Andrea Doria simply because he was five years old at the time! He and I will be sailing on QM2 in the fall. I can't wait to experience a transatlantic voyage like my father did so many times.

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My first ship experience was sailing to Italy on the Doria in 1956. I was 6. I think we were on last eastbound sailing. I know we were supposed to come home on her end of Aug, but were put on the Columbo. Growing up (being 1st generation we went back frequently) I sailed on the Columbo, DaVinci, Michelangleo and Raffaello transAtlantic and few cruises on the latter 3 a few times. It was those first few transAtlantic sailings that got me hooked on cruising. If and when these ships weren't available for a cruising, Home Lines sure felt like you were on a "Italian Line" ship.

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I was only 7 years old when the Andrea Doria sank off Nantuket...and I will never forget it. Years later my wife and I were able to sail on the Leonardo DaVinci in 1976...WOW!!! We still use that cruise as a yard stick to all other cruises...nothing like it and...probably never again. Everything was fantastic and we had more fun than anyone ever deserves to have in their lifetime.

 

Last year we were on STAR PRINCESS and had the pleasure of meeting Dianne and Aldo Barbieri...HI DIANNE AND ALDO!!!...Diane has posted above (Scaaty). I am an ocean liner historian and it was a great pleasure to sit and talk to Aldo about all his experiences on the Michaelangelo and Raffaello. I remember seeing the Michaelangelo in NY harbor in 1965. She was brand new and I saw her from a very unique vantage point. I was onboard the (old) QUEEN ELIZABETH and we were preparing to sail that morning. I was high enough up to get a real good look at the Michaelangelo...she was brand new and she litterally sparkled in the sun...and that image is still as clear in my mind today as it was 41 years ago.

 

The Italian Lines is sorely missed and will never be replaced by any line today...however...many thanks to Rick Sasso and his management team at MSC North America for trying to bring back that great Italian ambiance onboard the new ships of MSC. They are our only hope and we wish them God speed...and BONA FORTUNA!!!:D

 

ROSS BLOUIN

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Hey, Ross, nice to see your post...

 

I grew up sailing to and from Europe, as my mother hated to fly...we sailed on the France several times, and then Mom wanted to try to come back from Italy, so we sailed on the Christophoro Columbo in 1972, traveling Westbound. I remember the cocktail lounge up high and forward, and remember loving that you would alternatly see all sky or all ocean out the side windows as the ship rocked back and forth. The next year, we sailed on the Rafaello both to and from Europe, and it is one of my favorite cruising memories. My mother took a cruise on the Rafaello to Barbados in the Spring of '75, only to find out that when the ship finnished that cruise, it was taking its last crossing. She immediately booked us on the last crossing of the Michaelangelo late that Spring, and we were fortunate enough to sail on that final crossing (dining next to the Duchess of Windsor, no less!) The streamers, and the tugs, and the flotilla of boats escorting us out of NY harbor were amazing. We met a family sailing to Europe with all of their things on board, as they were moving to Mallorca. We stayed in touch, and the following year, flew over, took a Mediterannean cruise on the Leonardo DaVinci before moving into a small apartment in Palma de Mallorca near our friends. Those trips on the Italian Line were some of the happiest times of my youth, and, sadly, no, I have not often seen the elegance, the service, the warmth of the crew and the wonderful food together since. The grill rooms on the QE2 have come the closest, but even there, it's not the same as with the wonderful Italian staff...

 

Ahhhh...thanks for inspiring another trip dowm memory lane...

 

Andrew

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HI ANDREW!!!

 

I knew that you had a deep appreciation for the "Old Guard"...those who were fortunate enough to have crossed in the twilight of the Transatlantic Era. Most newbie cruisers, who get hooked on cruising, do not realize where all those fine traditions of service came from. Most do not realize that you could not go to Europe in the 50's and early 60's unless you took a ship...it was, indeed, THE ONLY WAY TO CROSS...LOL.

 

You are right...we do see glimpses of the past...the OLYMPIC DINING ROOM on the Celebrity MILLENIUM...the GRILLS on the QUEENS...the NORMANDIE DINING ROOM on the Celebrity SUMMIT. The French created "L'atmosphere Transatlantique" when the French ships sailed. The Italians created "La Dolce Vida" and these experiences will never be recaptured. The crews of the ships you mentioned were highly trained and highly skilled and then finely tuned. Aldo Barbieri told me that the Italian Line would send him back to their school in Italy just to tune him up...lol. We have been so fortunate to have had a taste and to have experienced this. What great memories...Thanks Andrew.:)

 

Ross

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