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anne13

Remember the Italian Line Raphaello and Michaelangelo?

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We Were At A Bon Voyage Party On The Leondardo Di Vinci 1965 When My Dad Left For Italy. No Such Thing Today. It Was So Exciting To Hear The Horns Blow. And All Guests Had To Leave The Ship. Standing At The Pier In Nyc Waving Good Bye To Dad, Just Like An Old Movie.

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I too am an Italian Line '"refugee". Some of my and other people's memories are posted on another thread on this site [thread=480683]Click Me![/thread]

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We were indeed fortunate to have sailed on these wonderful ships. I was very small in 1965 when I sailed from NYC to Italy to meet my grandparents for the first time. I remember the brisk winds on deck ( my favorite head scarf was lost somewhere on the crossing) and the tiny cabin my mother and I shared. We had bunk beds and a bathroom the size of an airplane's; inside cabin, so no window. I had forgotten the color, until ctguy001 mentioned it. My second trip back to the old country was in 1969. We flew PanAm one way (the plane was so empty, the stewardess put the armrests up on a row of seats so I could sleep) and took the boat back. I remember making friends with other little kids--we would run all over the ship. Bingo night was lots of fun--one of my little friends and I split a card and won a jackpot. I remember having to walk up to the front of the ballroom to collect our prize and everyone clapping. I have not cruised since, although I'm anticipating a HAL Eastern Mediterranean next summer.

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I not only had the good fortune of having sailed on the Michelangelo, Rafaello, Leonardo da Vinci, Cristofero Colombo and Guglielmo Marconi, but my father worked for the Italian Line as Manager of First Class. Therefore, we traveled in First Class for free. Though I was young (sailed from ages 5-11) I have fantastic memories of traveling with the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Dustin Hoffman, Alfred Hichcock to name a few.

 

When one of the ships was in port in New York, my father would often bring my sister and I to the ship since he had to work. We would walk the ship for a couple of hours and then meet up with my father to have lunch, served by the ship.

 

I remember how sorry I was to hear that those ships were being removed from service and really upset to learn that the Michelangelo and Rafaello were sold to Iran. What a gross error in judgment by the Italian government. Then at an Italian Line reunion attended by my family years later, I learned the fate of my two favorite ships. One scrapped and the other sunk by Iraqi bombing. What a tragic and undeserved end for two beautiful vessels. Regardless, they will always be a source of great and vivid memories for me and my brother and sister.

 

Happy sailings!

NYCruzr

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NYCruzer,

 

I am curious. Do you recall what responsibilities your father had as Manager of First Class?

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Well, I was quite young at the time and don't know many details of what he did, but just to avoid a misunderstanding, he did not work on the ship. He worked at the Italian Line offices in Manhattan.

 

Natually, he managed a staff that was responsible for bookings and such. I do believe that one of his biggest responsibilities (if not THE biggest) was deciding how much to oversell the ship by. Apparently, that was a normal practice because there were always a certain number of cancellations expected and they wanted as many cabins sold as possible.

 

Hope that answered your question.

 

NYCruzr

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NYCruzr,

 

Thank you for your reply. I had not thought about the possibility that he was involved in the reservations process. I thought maybe be was somehow connected with the service for First Class passengers.

 

One of my travel regrets is that I was not able to sail aboard an Italian Line vessel. I have sailed on Home, Sitmar, and Princess and enjoyed the Italian ambience that they provide (Princess less so than the other two, IMO). I know I would have enjoyed the Italian Line!

 

Thanks again for your answer.

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You're welcome, any time. It is too bad that though you have been on many cruises you did miss traveling at least once on an Italian Line ship. I do feel privileged to have done so.

 

Happy cruising!

NYCruzr

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My first cruise was on the Raffaello from NYC to Naples. It was a fourteen day trip and we made many stops. I was 8 years old and do not remember it too much. I remember the port visits more than I remembered the cruise.

 

I do remember that the ship workers were on strike before we left NYC and also back on strike as soon as we hit Naples. We traveled Cabin Class and had to dress for dinner. One funny thing that did happen to me involved the time change. My parents purchased me a watch before we set sail and every morning when I got up the watch was an hour slow. I could never figure it out. My dad just told me that my biorhythms were playing havoc with the watch and it would most likely fix itself. Not once did he tell me that the ship was setting the clocks ahead each night as we traveled east.

 

However I do remember the ships in the seventies. I lived in Lerici on the West Coast of Italy just to the south of La Spezia and saw the Michaelangelo and the Raffaello when they were brought into the harbor and saw them every day until I left. Very sad sight.

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The Raphaello was my very first cruise. I was a teenager and sailed from NY. I was hooked!

 

The crew was the best! The costume parties, the arts and crafts, the planter's punch!

 

We had one of the cheapest cabins on the ship, but we didn't care, we were only in there to change clothes. We rarely slept!

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I don't think I was even a teenager when my aunt started making crossings on these great Italian liners. I remember going to the pier with my parents for her bon voyage party. I loved walking around these beautiful ships. I knew then that some day I was going to cruise. Unfortunately there are no longer any great ships.

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My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends cruised on the Michaelangelo in 1970/71. They went to Italy, Spain and Portugal for 3-4 weeks. My DH put all of their 'home movies' on a VHS tape with Italian music. The footage isn't great, but I love seeing it.

Such different days of cruising... No one even thought of asking if they could wear jeans back then! ;)

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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

Hi Cindra, I had practically the same experience as you describe here. In 1965 my Grandparents sailed to Italy (their first trip back since they both came to America in the early 1920's). I remember going on board the Michaelangelo for their Bon Voyage. I was 8 at the time and my cousins and I ran all over that ship and fell in love with the children's play rooms and the pool area. I remember that it was a beautiful clear summer's day and the ship seemed to sparkle and glisten in the sunlight - an absolutely beautiful sight! When it was time for us to leave, my cousins and I were so upset. We wanted to stay on that beautiful ship and go to Italy with Grandma and Grandpa! Their return trip was on the Raffaelo.

When I was in my 20's I took my first cruise on the Home Lines Atlantic. Italian crew, and it was absolutely wonderful and like you said, sadly, nothing today can really compare.

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Just published in Italy: Michelangelo e Raffaello: La fine di un 'epoca by Maurizio Eliseo (Hoepli Press)...

 

If you are going to Italy, it would definitely be worth picking up this book. If it is anything like Eliseo's Andrea Doria book it will be amazing!!!!! Of course it is written in Italian, but it has lots of pics. I just orderd it from IBS.it - I have used them before, and found they have the most reasonable shipping too. Can't wait to get this book!

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I just wanted to add if anyone sailed on the Michealangelo (yes, I have the correct spelling now) in April 1968, as I am looking for any photos that anyone would like to share.

 

We sailed on her about that time and I know I have pictures somewhere. I'll give a look and see what I can find.

 

We sailed from NYC to Nassau and Bermuda taking our kids on their first cruise. Their grandparents drove us to NY and came aboard for champagne in our tiny inside cabin. I remember dressing for dinner every night, even the kids......really dressing. Mink stoles and the like.

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Just published in Italy: Michelangelo e Raffaello: La fine di un 'epoca by Maurizio Eliseo (Hoepli Press)...

 

If you are going to Italy, it would definitely be worth picking up this book. If it is anything like Eliseo's Andrea Doria book it will be amazing!!!!! Of course it is written in Italian, but it has lots of pics. I just orderd it from IBS.it - I have used them before, and found they have the most reasonable shipping too. Can't wait to get this book!

 

Is an English language version being printed, or is this another one one of those books with both Italian and English text?

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As far as I know, no English language version is being planned. The book is written in Italian only...no English/Italian....it is a spectacular book...mind you I am biased as I read enough Italian to get the general gist of things...the pictures are fantastic. If you are on Facebook..search for Michelangelo e Raffaello..there is a "fan" site and one by the editors ...Hoepli....this will give you an idea of the calibre of this book. Cheers.

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As you can see from my CC name and voyage history, the Raffaello was my ship! I was 21 years old on my first trip to Europe. $150 one way student fare in tourist class. 1st introduction to real Italian food. Coat and tie in all public areas of the ship after 6 PM. Fell for a beautiful Milanese girl. That Raffaello crossing is one of my all time life memories.

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Italian Line is my all time favorite.... still to this day. I miss that ships don't have the flavor of a home country anymore.

 

Sailed on the Michaelangelo Feb 1974, Raffaello Feb 1975 and Leonardo da Vinci March 1976. Such beautiful ships.

I think on all three ships our cruise director was the same man - Ralph Michele - he was so personable and entertaining.

 

Remember their luggage tags??

 

Susan

498927813_italianline.jpg.613f4770d6b434c4d7848d65044523cf.jpg

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The spelling might not be correct, but I will never forget those famous last words echoed thoughout the ship, just prior to sailing...."La nave e inpartenza!"

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