Thursday, September 9, 2010

The "Love Boat"


Almost 20 years ago, The United States Government leased a ship from the Carnival Cruise Lines named the "Cunard Princess." She was a small vessel as far as cruise ships go, only 16,000 tons (modern cruise ships run between 70,000 - 115,000 tons), but she was a stately vessel. She was rich with quality and had the most beautiful lines I've ever seen in a cruise ship. . . not a boxy, unweildy vessel like the cruise ships today (that resemble floating high-rise hotels). . . she was a real ship with majestic lines.

The purpose of this government lease was so that troops serving in the Gulf War could have a place in the Middle East where they could go for the purposes of R & R (Rest and Recuperation). Many a soldier, sailor, airman, and marine, spent their R&R from the Gulf War aboard this stately vessel.

I was appalled recently when the U.S. Government allowed the Carnival Cruise Lines to sell the Cunard Princess to an Italian company, who renamed her as the "Rhapsody."

I know. . . call me a romantic. . . but for me, escaping the burning sands of Saudi Arabia, if even for a few days, and enjoying the fine cuisine and cool cabins of the Cunard Princess were just. . . well. . . incredible.

Thousands of military personnel were well served by this wonderful old ship. As I pause to reflect on the horrors of war and what our military personnel are going through today in Afghanistan and Iraq, I must ask the question, could she not serve this purpose again???

I will not soon forget the peace and tranquility my cabin aboard the Cunard Princess afforded me. . . if even for just a few short days. . . or how important those days were to my mental well-being. . . . I will miss you, old ship.

Dan

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