Malt Shop Memories Cruise
Making Memories on Eurodam
Oct 28-Nov 3, 2012
It's good to be a Baby
Boomer. That's something those of us now known as
Seniors have known all our lives—we grew up at a time of prosperity
and great promise and we were raised by The Greatest Generation.
Wonderful things happened as we grew up… men walked on the moon and
innovation, including computers and the Internet changed the way we
worked and communicated. Movies (Rebel Without A Cause, American
Graffiti) and television shows (Bandstand, Happy Days) were
dedicated to us in our teen years.
And, of course, there was our music, which exploded on the national
scene when Dick Clark began hosting American Bandstand on August 5,
1957. "It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it" became a
teenager’s mantra. It’s still the clarion call for Baby Boomers to
take the floor to dance to the Oldies, But Goodies by Elvis, The
Platters, The Coasters, Dion and the Belmonts, Buddy Holly, Chubby
Checker, and more. The list goes on and on.
Our music was amazing—in fact, it still is. Along with that good
beat that you could dance to, you could understand the words and
many of us remember them fifty-plus years later as we sing along.
What would it be like to turn back time, go to another sock hop, and
enjoy another Prom? Just ask any of the passengers who sailed on
Malt Shop Memories Cruise 2012 aboard Holland America Line’s Eurodam.
Not only were we able to do those things, we attended concerts every
night starring some of the best-loved artists of our day—The
Chiffons, The Platters, Dion, The Tymes, The Drifters, the
incomparable Chubby Checker, Darlene Love, and Kenny Vance, and an
icon of our era, Frankie Avalon.
We have to give a special shout out
to Chubby Checker and Dion, whose shows on the main stage were
simply amazing. Chubby still has all the moves and Dion is a
fantastic musician, singer, and very
funny guy. Sadly, due to medical issues, Bobby Rydell was unable to
sail with us. However, in a meaningful gesture he flew to San Juan
to meet the ship and come aboard to greet fans and supporters until
he had to leave that same evening. He
even made an appearance at the early show to explain that he had
undergone a double organ transplant only four months previously and
then he sang a single song, “Mack the Knife,” in tribute to the late
For the Malt Shop Memories Cruise,
Productions, the the world's leader in full ship charter music
cruises and Time Life, which markets a collection of
Malt Shop Memories CDs, put together a sea-going hang out for
those of us who remember spinning 45s on our turntables and dancing
in our socks.
our pre-cruise package arrived in the mail we found everything
inside we’d need to get ready—luggage tags, information sheets, and
tee-shirts that we were invited to “decorate” to compete in a
contest during the first deck event—the T-Shirt Party where the
music was hot and the drinks were free. There was also an invitation
to join our shipmates at a pre-cruise party at the Westin in Fort
Lauderdale on Friday night.
At the pre-cruise party we learned our ship was diverted to
Jacksonville due to Hurricane Sandy. As a result, instead of
boarding Eurodam at Port Everglades, we boarded coaches to
Jacksonville where we finally embarked hours later than planned. No
problem… for those of us on board early enough, a full evening of
musical events were on tap, including the opening of the “Jungle
Room” and the introduction of Elvis Tribute Artists hosted by Gino Monopoli (one of my personal favorite “Elvi”) and Dwight Icenhower.
While the show on the main stage had to be cancelled that night, it
was rescheduled for later in the week.
As a courtesy for the inconvenience, Holland America hosted open
bars and all drinks were on them for the night. That popular gesture
got everyone warmed up for the T-Shirt Party the next day and the
partying that would continue all week long.
of every Entertainment Cruise Productions music-themed cruise are
activities and the opportunity to interact with the artists. The
Malt Shop Memories Cruise was no exception and the level of
passenger participation was high. A walk down any accommodations
passageway on Eurodam demonstrated that those of us who remember
malt shops, 45s, drive-in movies, and poodle skirts hadn’t lost our
creativity. However, when the creative gene was being distributed,
my mom must have been asleep and I didn’t get one. I gave it a try
with a “Beach Music” theme, but fellow Malt Shop Memories cruisers
have really showed me up. One of them won a much-deserved prize for
the most inventive door decorations.
One of the most popular events was “Remembering
Dick Clark.” Moderated by his friend and radio personality Jerry
Blavat, the discussion panel included Frankie Avalon, Chubby
Checker, Dion, and Darlene Love (pictured here, left to right), all who appeared
on Clark’s iconic television shows. Their stories and remembrances
ranged from hilarious to touching. It was a real inside look into
how those stars’ lives were touched by Dick Clark—and even his wife,
who gave Chubby Checker his name!
We enjoyed ports of call and warm and sunny sea days filled with dance lessons,
discussions hosted by various artists, an Elvis Gospel Hour
featuring Elvis Tribute Artists, a cooking demonstration with
Frankie Avalon, Twisting on Deck, a Hula Hoop Competition, Adult
Malts and cocktail hours hosted by the artists, a Connie Francis
tribute show and Celebrity Bingo with Sheri Winkleman as Marilyn
Monroe, trivia contests, a renewal of vows ceremony for couples, comedy
hours with David Brenner, the Buddy Holly Show with George Trullinger, and Elvis-themed karaoke. There was even a Halloween
Monster Mash deck party on October 31st with a costume contest.
Nightly concerts were the highlights, along with a poolside Back to
the Beach BBQ and the sock hop, as well as “Prom Night” under the
stars. Passengers really got into the theme—poodle skirts and
ponytails were the fashion statements for the sock hop and many
broke out their prom dresses as well. Sadly, I could only wish that
my prom formals from 1960-something still fit.
me among the major Elvis Presley fans onboard—my trio of tabby cats
are Elvis, Priscilla, and Lisa Marie. To celebrate the music of the
50s and 60s—the Malt Shop Era—and the King of Rock ‘n Roll, one of
the most highly competitive groups of Elvis Tribute Artists were
aboard the Malt Shop Memories cruise. Some were invited to
participate to compete in the richest Elvis Tribute Artist Contest
in the World, with a $5,000 grand prize, but the contest was open to
any passenger on board who wished to enter.
To get into the mood, we’ve enjoyed Gino Monopoli’s show in the
Jungle Room (pictured here) and especially his recreation if the
televised ’68 Elvis Comeback Special. Dwight Icenhower, winner of
the 2011 Malt Shop Memories Elvis Tribute Artist Contest has also
taken the stage. So far, we’ve also seen a number of Elvis artists
mingling on board. Yes, they are easy to spot and they are generous
with their time, posing for photos and chatting. Just like the real
King would be if he were on board.
A signature of every sailing hosted by
Entertainment Cruise Productions are pillow gifts and every night we
found such tokens of appreciation as terrific souvenir books,
lanyards, caps, backpacks, mugs, photo frames, and CD collections
alongside the cute towel animals fashioned by our Eurodam stewards.
It was like having a birthday every day!
While our time aboard was enjoyable, it was also informative. Dion
hosted a presentation of “The Winter Dance Party,” a documentary
film made for the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame Archives, and shared his
remembrances of “The Day The Music Died” when Buddy Holly, The Big
Bopper, and Richie Valens were killed. After that horrible plane
crash in February 1959, stories have varied over the years about
what really happened that fateful night. Dion revealed that he won
the coin toss and was to have been on the plane, but gave up his
seat to Richie Valens who was unaccustomed to the frigid Midwestern
winter weather and fell ill on the bus that had no heat. In Dion’s words,
it was the “The Day The Music Exploded” and, thankfully, the music
|George Trullinger as Buddy Holly
and Cruise Diva swap glasses for a fun photo
Mel and I had a great time on the cruise because
we’d been sharing the experience with an entire ship full of
like-minded people. We were a community who’d make similar lifestyle
choices, had a lot in common (in addition to our ages), and were fun
to be around. That’s the beauty of a theme cruise aboard a full-ship
charter. And, of course there was the music and the opportunity to
enjoy the artists we all love.
This wasn’t our first Malt Shop Memories and it
won’t be our last—we are looking forward to the Malt Shop Memories
Cruise in 2013.
Photos © CruiseDiva.com
Entertainment Cruise Productions for more
musical themed cruises and you'll see why so many of their
passengers repeat an ECP event. Then head over to the
Malt Shop Memories
site for hundreds of photos and to book your cabin.
If you missed them, links to Cruise Diva's daily
Getting to the Malt Shop/Hurricane Sandy Cruise
At Home Aboard Eurodam
Malt Shop Memories Cruise, The Hurricane Edition
Malt Shop Memories Cruise, At Sea
Malt Shop Memories Cruise, Elvis Tribute
Malt Shop Memories Cruise, The Difference
Malt Shop Memories Cruise, The Activities
Until Next Year, The Malt Shop Memories Cruise
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