A NEW WAY TO TRAVEL IS WELCOMED

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In my lifetime there has been more radical change than during the previous two or three hundred years. For me, the most poignant is the loss of Britain’s Merchant Navy fleets. There must be few still alive who sailed under the colours of Liverpool’s White Star Line founded in 1845. Perhaps the ill-fated RMS Titanic is the shipping company’s best-remembered ocean liner.

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As a young Liverpool sailor (Jack Tar) I served on the last of the great company’s liners, the 27,000 tonnes RMS Britannic. The last liner to bear the colours and flags of the Titanic, Olympic, the Oceanic Class liners; the Teutonic and Majestic . Thank goodness I did so for like Rome and Athens the greatness of the past is unlikely to be repeated.

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Michael Walsh Seaman

When in a winsome mood I imagine a world in which airliners were commonplace before the era of the great ocean liners. Disgruntled by being packed like sardines in a dart-shaped airliner fuselage and thrown like a dart across the skies, passengers think to themselves, surely there must be a better way to travel the world.

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Your wish is my command; ingenious entrepreneurs invent the concept of travel by great ocean liners. Beautiful in appearance, impressive by design, and the last word in self-indulgence, the shipyards of Europe create the state of grace ocean-going liners of international travel.

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Fed up air travelling plebeians are incredulous on first seeing the great ocean liners as they’re launched from the great shipyards of Europe.

Curacao

These unbelievable behemoths are breath-taking in their beauty even before one sets foot on their gangways. As awestruck passengers embark on the super-liners they wander from deck to deck. Then, after finding their cabin that in appearance and facilities reminds one of a top-class hotel suite, they set out to explore this novel form of travel.

Hundreds of passengers, unused to this innovative travel option stroll along spacious boat decks. When needing a little rest they choose a deckchair overlooking the vast ocean whilst a flunky responds to their every wish.

Bremen

Bremen

Fellow passengers pause at any one of the liners swimming pools. Likely, boarding travellers will check out the choice of cinemas, the ballrooms and concert halls, and of course the choice of splendid restaurants, shopping malls, or they will call in at the ship’s bank.

Empress of England

Empress of England

They will pick up a copy of their liner’s newspaper and they will have pointed out to them crew members of the ship’s police force and fire brigade. They may use the clinic or gym or choose to relax in one of the ship’s staterooms.

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When the liner sets sail there will be many a tear in the eye as the Bar is crossed. But, to compensate there will be much to look forward to as the steersman in the ship’s bridge turns the liner’s wheel and sets the compass for New York, Quebec, Cape Town maybe Rio de Janeiro.

Adoni Palm in a creek

Adoni Palm in a creek

It will take eight days to reach the North American ports, a little longer to reach Latin America, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

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Still, with much sunbathing and deck sports to enjoy, restaurants to visit, cinemas to attend and dance halls to enjoy, what a shame the voyages don’t take longer.

I wonder, would anyone wish to return to travel by airliners?  I doubt it or am I simply being nostalgic. ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ (LP Hartley: The Go-Between). Like this story? Share it with a friend. 

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Michael Walsh is the author of Believing of Liverpool, an Amazon published beautifully illustrated book chronicling of thirty sailor dramas and related verse.

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