Hi Dan - I found your message when I was looking up the S.S. Oceanic. My first vacation, was a cruise on her in 1965. My girlfriend and I had booked this trip on the recommendations from a friend of hers who had sailed on her. It was the beginning of a grand love affair with a ship and my love of cruising. As a Canadian, one didn't find too many other Canadians travelling on cruises. Originally, I went on these trips with girlfriends and then once they married, I decided to go by myself, as I knew I would always meet people and to this day, I am still friends with a woman I met in 1968 who was travelling with 2 other girlfriends. I happened to be seated at their table with 7 other people and we became friends on the cruise. I lived in Toronto and she lived in New York. We are still friends today! I visited her many times in New York and we visited two of the other women we met on that same cruise who lived in New York City.
On the 1968 cruise, the other two women were much older than us, but were great company. They loved to talk to people and one day, while up at the pool, I hear Rose calling my name, to come over to her. So, I did and she was speaking with a young man and she said "he's from Canada", like because we were both from there we'd know each other! I asked him, "where in Canada are you from?" he said "Ontario". I said "me too". I asked him where in Ontario and he said he was from a small area, north of Toronto called "York Township" - well, you could have bowled me over - I lived in "York Township"! It turns out that he lived about 2 miles from my house! Now, here we were, in the middle of the caribbean, some 2,000 miles from home and we meet! We kept in touch for a bit upon our return home. It was unbelievable, because back in the 60s, you didn't find many Canadians travelling by ship, yet here we met and turned out to be almost neighbours!
I sailed on the Oceanic until the late 70s and then due to work commitments, I didn't cruise until the mid 80s, when a friend I was working with at a new job, wanted to know if I would go on a cruise with her, after hearing all about my Oceanic days. So, we booked a 3 week cruise out of LA on Paquet's Renaissance. It was a marvellous trip and wet my appetite to cruise again. However, the Oceanic had become the Big Red Boat and I had no urge to go on this Disney cruise, however, my friend from New York who had married, went on a trip with her husband and young son on the "Big Red Boat". She said - it just wasn't the same. The Oceanic and Home Lines were the Officers and the crew, who made the Oceanic a pleasure to sail.
I've been on Celebrity, and Costa and am booked for a transatlantic trip this November on the MSC Poesia. I'm also not a fan of the big cruise ships - I prefer the smaller ones, as you get to meet more people. The Oceanic was a big ship in her day at 39,000 ton. But the ambience was wonderful and the service was extraordinary. As well, back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, going on a cruise was like going on a dream. You dressed up to the "nines" and that was half the fun.
I have signed the petition to hopefully make her 45 year career be as a hotel ship and not scrap. I always remember looking at her when she was anchored off of an island when we would have to tender into and thinking, she is absolutely beautiful - her lines and her beauty far outweighed many other ships.
She will always be my first love and is the reason I love cruising. When I win the big lottery, I'm going to book a World Cruise so I can be at sea for many months.
I sincerely hope that the petition works and that one day, may all who sailed on her, have the opportunity to go back and at least relive the wonderful memories we had when we sailed on her.