For a few years now each summer I have been a passenger, with friends, on various ferries and cruise ships in the Baltic, Mediterranean or Aegean Seas and we have had a fascinating time. That satisfies the lure of the sea and ships for me, especially in warm weather.
I sometimes think back to the time when man first used a tree to carry him on a river, or made dug-out canoes, or built the first wooden ships to protect our shores here in the UK, and our subsequent shipbuilding heritage of more modern times. Because we live on an island, there has always been a need to trade and thus ships also carried passengers. Nowadays we can travel on cruise ships, passenger ferries and cruise ferries, to visit fascinating destinations. I've enjoyed Color Magic, Funchal, Habib, Birger Jarl, Oceanic, Waverley, Perla, Maxim Gorki, Moby Drea, Queen Elizabeth 2, Saga Lejon, Ancona, and Cesme amongst others, and have met interesting fellow passengers everywhere.
The passengers shown in the Waterline Exhibition pictures are all enjoying themselves in various ways, whether visiting Copenhagen, cruising in Norway, playing deck games, or at a buffet on deck. It was just the same on the Union-Castle Mailships. Passengers were on board to enjoy themselves and they did. The Waterline picture showing a storage area on board Iberia about 1955 with many boxes of a famous brand of tea, and many boxes of a famous breakfast cereal, might make us smile now, but it meant that cruise passengers at the time were happy to find their favourite products provided on board especially for them.
A storeroom containing boxes of TetleyA storeroom containing boxes of Tetley's tea bags and Kellogg's Frosties, onboard 'Iberia' (P87296)
Nowadays I think people are happy to travel on ships with a country of registry that is different to their own - they are likely to meet fellow passengers of another nationality and of course they can enjoy a different cuisine. When one considers that the latest cruise ships can accommodate 5,400 passengers, they have to be superbly designed and built and friends confirm it is an amazing and enjoyable experience to be on board such a vessel. We've come a long way since man built the first coracle...