Travel in the 21st century can be a remarkably trying, degrading and exhausting proposition….approaching the tough, dirty, treacherous journeys of the American pioneers heading west in covered wagons to build a Nation a century and a half ago
Outside of World Wars I and II, travel across the Atlantic Ocean in the 20th century by luxury liner was one of the most elegant, exotic, and relaxing experiences to be had on planet Earth.
During it’s real heyday in the 1950s and early 1960s, one could sail from New York to England (or reverse) in five gloriously leisurely, pampered and, if necessary, gently productive days. All the way to Hamburg, Germany in seven days.
Now, what took a full day to travel 50 years ago, can be done in an hour by jet travel – begging for a glass of water….straight-jacketed into a tiny, hard seat for hours on end….brutalized at every turn.
I suspect, because I’m getting less young now, I’m learning to understand true nostalgia….yearning for the slower-paced, more graceful and dignified, gently pampered, FUN travel of mid-century past. Even as a growing boy in those years, I somehow knew: this was THE way to travel. Nothing else would do!
SS United States (c. 1960)
The magnificent beauty, engineering wizardry, and all-American elegance of the world’s fastest ocean liner, SS United States was a routine method for businessmen, vacationers, and travelers to get to and from Europe/America during her years of ruling the oceans – 1952 to 1969.
Then came the jets….
And most of the grand ocean liners retired….
Speed more popular for travel than comfort and relaxation.
* * * *
My next journey to Europe from the United States will be round-trip aboard today’s last remaining true ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2.
Keep your fast jets….$4 water….and the straitjacket!
I’ll be strolling these decks….
With nary a care in the world for a glorious few days….each way….