Legend to the
57th Year Reunion Cruise Picture
In the front row, from left to right,
the classmates/cruisers are:
Mike Dahl Kathryn (Haller) Pfister
Joan (Adams) Casillas Shirley (Maurer) Stenzel
Margaret (Haller) Neves Dianna Stewart
In the back row, from left to right:
Rosalee (Shifflet) Smith
Arnie Stewart Ken Smith
Howard Hamman Don Segur
Frank Stenzel John Gately
Barbara (Moon) Gately Maxine (Newton) Pryde
Day One -
The Gridley Union High School
Graduation Class of 1959 has only missed one Five-Year reunion
occasion since graduation, but everyone enjoyed the 50th and 55th so
much, both involving a cruise, it was decided that we would do
another cruise for our 57th year. Mostly, it was considered to be
done now, instead of waiting another three years, partially because
more classmates are now retired and without so many scheduled events
in their lives. Frankly, it was also partly because we are sadly
losing some of our members due to age.
We started out our week by having all
16 classmates that were sailing to join Ken and Rosalee Smith at
their home in Pleasanton. They could park their cars behind the
house (off the street and with some security), and after a quick
breakfast snack all 18 boarded two vans at the house and rode into
the pier in San Francisco, reaching the ship by shortly after noon.
Rosalee is making lap quilts, walker caddies, tissue holders, coin
purses, and small handbags for sunglasses, phones, or other
essentials. She made one for each of the ladies that were cruising,
in the school's 'fighting colors' of Blue & Gold.
Embarkation went well. We were into
our cabins on the ship within half an hour of reaching the Cruise
Terminal on Pier 27 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco.
The first night at dinner we celebrate
Frank Stenzel's 75th birthday, as well as his just announced
decision to retire from marketing their Kiwi crops. Grove had
composed a couple of songs and she printed them on little cards for
us to sing. Very clever lady.
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Dolphin Deck - Mini Suite (with
This image was taken from the outside
bulkhead (wall) of a Mini-Suite. There is a sliding door behind me
and outside that door is a balcony that goes about 8 feet to the
rail, and is as wide as this cabin. In the far right corner is the
door into the cabin. Behind the far wall is a closet the full width
of the wall, with a small dressing area in front of it, a set of
covered shelves, and the head (bathroom), which contains a basin, a
medicine chest, full-width mirror, toilet, and a tub and shower with
a clothes drying line.
You can see the bed, made up as a
double bed. It can also be made up as two single beds, and some
cabins offer hanging beds to sleep four people. The beds are stowed
away each morning by the cabin steward and dropped down while you
are out to dinner. A full width mirror is behind the headboard on
the left. Empty luggage slips under the bed(s). Under the desk lamp
is a desk with mirror and drawers, and a built-in hair dryer. There
is a night stand on both sides of the bed with three drawers each.
In the right corner below the TV receiver (that faces the bed) is a
counter with a built-in small refrigerator.
If you book an Inside cabin, there is
a bulkhead where the desk lamp is sitting. There is no window,
sliding door, or balcony. Only the Mini-suite has a tub with
shower... the others all have a shower only. The rest of the cabin
is similar, with some smaller than others.
If you book an Ocean View cabin, it is
the same as the Inside cabin, but it has a large window in the
outside bulkhead. Some may be offered as "Restricted View" as it may
have a life boat or piece of machinery that blocks some of your view
out that window.
If you book a "Balcony" cabin, it is
the same as the Ocean View, but the sliding door is where the desk
lamp is located and the balcony is from four to twelve feet out to
the rail, depending upon the location on the ship.
As you can see, with this being a
Mini-Suite cabin, there is an extra "sitting room" area that
contains the couch you see on the left of the image, plus some extra
shelves on the right. There is a second TV, which seems a bit
excess, but maybe one for the kids and one for the parents? The
couch makes into a bed, but it is only 2/3 of the couch... room for
one adult or two cooperative kids.
There are Full-Suites that basically
sleep up to four, with a separate bedroom from the sitting area.
They also offer a small number of "Handicapped" cabins that have a
skosh more room for a wheelchair, as well as a roll-in shower.
Day Two - At Sea
When a cruise
ship needs to cover a longer distance it will often make a "Sea
Day" out of the day, where they do not dock anywhere at all, all
day long. Ships pay by the hour to be in a berth, so when they
expect to make the next port, they will leisurely roll into a
port at sunrise so the cruisers have the opportunity to be
ashore shopping or off on excursions on land. Because excursions
are often quite late returning to the ship, and the first
seating for dinner can be as early as 1730 (5:30), that leaves
little time to get gussied up for a 'formal' dinner. So on days
that you have a sea day, you can expect them to have formal
dining for dinner hour. For the full treatment, they have hair
salons and spas on board as well. Trips like San Francisco to
Hawai'i, you have five sea-days in a row, but they only have
about three or four 'formal days' in the fifteen-day cruise.
have ship's photographers stationed... mostly in the central
portion of the ship near the spiralled staircases. On Princess
Ships that refer to that area as the Atrium (it is slowly
changing to be called the Piazza). Most cruisers will sit for
photos since they are dressed up all purty and stuff. Some of
the following images were taken our second night, at the dinner
table(s) (we had two next to each other). Some were taken on
formal nights, some on other nights. I included one of Rosalee
and me from the 'formal' sitting that we did. I'm hoping other
cruisers will offer theirs to be included as well. We are also
accepting images taken by other cruisers in our party. Pitchas...
I want lots'a pitchas!
Day Three - Santa
Several of our
party got off in Santa Barbara. Joanie Casillas met with Linda
(Koehler) Hughes for lunch. Linda sent her love to the class.
She and David live in the area. Joanie had a great time ashore.
does not have a dock that the Grand can tie up to, so we need to
anchor in the bay and 'tender' in to their dock. There are
several of the covered lifeboats that are a little larger with
an ample engine so they can be used as 'tenders' or 'water
taxi's' that carry about 160 people or more at a time. For those
interested in 'gadgets' and 'gizzmos', it is interesting to
watch them drop the tenders off the ship and then take them back
onto the ship.
Day Four - Long
Long Live The Queen
Crown Princess, Our
Neighbor In San Diego (4 pictures...
she ain't bent guys)
Day Six -
About half of the group went off the
ship in Ensenada. Mike & Grove, Howard & Florence, Peggy, Joanie,
and Don Segur. Most of the others stayed on the ship. Rosalee and
Ken found a table up on the Lido deck where they 'held court' and as
people came by we had a series of good visits.
One thing Ken & Rosalee enjoy when
cruising is meeting new friends and interesting people. On this trip
they met a gentleman at breakfast that most likely was in some of
the same classes that Ken was in when he went to Cal Poly in
1960-62, studying Architecture. Another gentleman and his wife were
from Livermore, next door to Pleasanton, and he lived at the same
housing complex and was a close fishing buddy to Ray Rychnovsky, a man that did a series of California History lectures on the
Grand Princess when we sailed to Hawai'i in 2013 and friend to our
nephew Ed Myers. The same man is a
brother to the general manager of the hardware store in downtown
We meet people from all over the
globe, some are authors, some are inventors, some are instructors
and professors, and some are war heroes. They all have wonderful
stories. Just learning their life story is amazing in itself. We
learned this trip that our classmates have also done amazing things.
I wish I could spend a day with each one and write about their
The second 'formal' dining was on the
sixth day. I said earlier that 'formal' dining nights usually are on
'at sea' days, but our last evening of a cruise is when we set our
luggage out for handling before we pull into port the next morning.
That makes it tough to change out of your formal wear in time to set
out your luggage. So, they bend their own policy a little and our
second formal evening was the day we were in Ensenada.
The last images of the gallery above
were dinner that night, and those at the other table all came over
to our table and thanked Rosalee and me for our part of the reunion.
They gave us a wonderful card that was created by Groverlee, with a
lovely original verse. They also included cash in the card. Far too
generous, guys. Thank you very much. It really was our pleasure. We
hope that we will get to do it again and again.
Day Seven - At
When we are at sea
for the day, the ship will often offer tours of the facilities. They
are limited due to security and safety concerns as to where they can
take visitors, and the engine room and the bridge are not usually
included. The do offer tours of the theater, galley, and various
other areas. Some of our bunch took in the tour of the galley.
They learned that
the galley on this ship has seven designated sub-galleys to handle
special items. They don't make their creme brulee in the same area
as where they roast the turkeys it seems. One thing is obvious in
the image above: Acres and acres of stainless steel. And you KNOW
that it is clean. Food is very carefully regulated on a floating
city like this. Any outbreak of anything can go through this captive
group like wildfire.
That cake that they
did is just a nice example of the work that the chefs and galley
workers can do. The presentation of their meals is always top
notch, whether it is a formal night or not. Even the buffets take
pains to display their food very nicely.
On this night, they
ran one show twice, and then a third show was at ten pm, and was the
crew talent show. It is always cute, with non-entertainer staff
performing. The images are showing a portion of our group when they
had finished dinner and had watched the second showing of the first
show. We were waiting for the second and final show, so Grove was
performing for us. It is tough to get enough seats for this band of
buddies, so we just kept our seats.
Just before the
crew show started, a young fellow handed out balloons, supposedly to
be used in an act of the show. It was not long before they started
getting blown up. Of course, they did not sit still in our laps. By
then more people were filling the theater. Within a few minutes it
was chaos. Balloons were flying all over the theater. It was quite a
show. I'm not sure who cleaned up the place. Good thing it was the
last show of the cruise and they could start cleaning the ship for
the next cruise that night.
You can see several
views of the theater on the Grand Princess. This is the Princess
Theater, the name given to the theater on most or all of the
Princess fleet. There are many stages or venues on the ship.
Entertainment is important to Princess. This is their largest and
fanciest venue. It is as high as two deck levels. And what can you
do with the 'pointy end' of a ship? It receives the brunt of a rough
sea, so cabins are better a little further back. But a theater is
usually fanned out for the audience anyway, so put the stage forward
and fan out the seats as the ship gets wider.
Rosalee and I did a
tour of this particular Princess theater some years ago on a
previous cruise, and it was very informative. We talked with
performers and technicians. One performer told how his college
friend was performing on Broadway, and when they visited together
the New Yorker told the nautical thespian how his Broadway theater
'home' had installed two new fancy computer controlled lights that
make theater productions really shine. At a quarter million dollars
a piece, there cannot be too many of those hanging overhead. "Does
your little boat have one of those?" he asked. The Princess employee
told him "Yes. We hung a dozen of them on the Grand last year. They
sure are nice lights." LOL
Singers, dancers, musicians, etc. are
hired, trained and rehearsed in California, where they learn the new
acts, and then they are sent to a ship as a group, replacing a
previous group, who take off some family time, then learn new
material, and leave as a group for a different ship. Chefs work the
same way. Even cabin stewards are hired for a 9-month run and then
are given two months off, returning to work on a different ship, or
the same if they have an opening. They all work long hours and work
very hard. The cabin steward is the first person we make friends
with. They can make or break your cruise so quickly.
Day Eight -
Sunday Morning On The Bay
San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena
Thank you Barbara. A beautiful picture
of our precious bay.
We are given a set of luggage tags
the day before disembarkation
that are a particular color and printed with a number. We were
Yellow/08. Looking on our sheet told us that we queue up in the
Explorer's Lounge, deck 7. We need to vacate our cabin by 0800 so
they can start cleaning and preparing for the next bunch coming on
board in just a few hours for the next cruise. Don Pryde set it up
so that all of us were given the same color/number tags so that we
would be called off at the same time. That would allow us to call
the shuttle to arrive when we were coming outside the Cruise
The only slip-up was that Don and
Maxine are so experienced at traveling that they have no luggage...
just a couple of carry-on bags. That saves a lot of hassle. That
means they did not have a luggage tag and they did not have a
'waiting area' assignment. Being Elite level Princess cruisers, they
were invited to wait in other areas of the ship, but they did not
receive the call for "Yellow/08", so they did not leave the ship
when we did.
When we were all outside (without the
Pryde's), I had cell phone numbers and cabin numbers for everyone...
except Don Pryde's, so we could not call them. Mike found their cell
number and so they were contacted and they disembarked.
We then called for our shuttle vans
and they were just minutes away, parked. We piled in and made our
way back to Pleasanton.
We had seven cars in the back of the
house, so I drove them out to the front while the plumbing was
tested multiple times and goodbyes were said.
Thank you all, for a wonderful week.
Let's do it again, soon. Hawai'i in 2019?
Taken by Groverlee Dahl
Grove took this image
with her phone, after we had crossed under the Golden Gate Bridge,
as we were coming into the San Francisco Bay. With the moon high, it
was the clearest view we have ever had of the bridge during a
cruise. It is usually so foggy that you can only see the large
lights on the bridge.
Grove indicated it
looked as if it had
been painted, with the graininess of the image. A beautifully done
image, Grove. Thank you for sharing with us.
I want to thank all of
you that sent in images and letters. They are what makes this
website report what it is. We will always take more if you have any
to share with us. We would love to see them.
Before The Cruise:
Loved ones and friends can be taken
from us in a heartbeat as many of us have
experienced. It may be time to take a break from
the world and enjoy the journey of life....refuse to
let age hold us back nor let our minds grow old. We
should nurture our curiosity, reconnect with old
friends and, meet new people.
If you have had any thoughts about
joining us, on the cruise, please don't
procrastinate. Give yourself the opportunity to know
others better and others to better know you. I can
think of no greater compliment. Looking forward to
seeing you in April.
After The Cruise:
The Carnival Ship to
Catalina and Mexico for the 50th, the Carnival Ship
to Alaska for the 55th, or the Princess Ship down
the California Coast to Mexico for the 57th---all
great ships, BUT the best ship by far has been the
friendSHIPS kindled by past 1959 Bulldog Seniors and
their chosen roommates!
Taking advantage of
Rosalee and Kenny’s magnificent hospitality, we all
Pleasanton. While Ken parked
all our cars in his back yard, we all munched on a
pre-cruise breakfast buffet. We agreed that Rosalee
outdid herself with cookies, pastries, fruit, hot
breakfast sandwiches, juices, and coffee; it could
hardly be labeled the “little snack” that Ken
promised. Besides that, Rosalee had made fabric
treats for the ladies: choice of phone, coin or
passport carriers in Gridley Bulldog Blue and Gold.
The two big vans came
and we all piled in for the ride to the wharf. We
were greeted by beautiful weather in the city and a
pristine Grand Princess.
Before long, we were
taking pictures from the deck, grazing at the buffet
and enjoying the sights, sounds (music and dancing)
on the decks. Excitement and “goosebumps” grew as
we inched out from the pier, and slowly made our way
by Alcatraz, with views of “The City” along the
Embarcadero and out under the
For the first few
days… out to sea and down to
Santa Barbara and
Long Beach, the Pacific
uncharacteristically earned her peaceful name. It
was so smooth we saw not a single whitecap! Folks
enjoyed trolley rides in
and visits to the mission, the lovely courthouse and
pristine beach and marina.
San Diego there were more
city tours. A group of us took in the zoo. We all
made it to our favorites: Michael-- the reptile
house, Ken –the birds, Shirley—the giraffes,
Rosalee—the elephants, Frank—the apes, Grove—the
polar bears, and ALL OF US—The Pandas! The
California Condor and Indian Rhino were also a big
draw. Recently their near extinction has been
turned around, much with the help of the zoo there.
It was a great day in
and like the other coast towns we visited, the
weather couldn’t have been better.
Our taste of
included: a folklorico for the Stewarts, a trip out
to the Blowhole for the Gately’s and margaritas and
pina coladas for some at Papas and Beer… a fitting
remembrance of our time with Ernie at our first
cruise seven years ago. We got an R-rated “treat”
along with our time there (I’m sure Ernie was
shaking his head in disbelief as we were... you’ll
have to hear from the others for that one!... but
Michael took pictures on Peggy’s camera. I’m sure
that won’t be one that she sends to Ken!)
Every night we had
great food and moved around the two side-by-side
tables, visiting with classmates. The menus and
waiters were quite amazing as all cruises seem to
have. I had Creme Brulee every night but one, and
Diana managed to try the Chocolate Chef (Mr. Love’s)
nightly concoction. I don’t know how to spell what
he is, but his desserts were beyond decadent!
Lobster, shrimp, steak and more... OH MY! Believe
me, diets took a big hit!
Whatever you might
like whether it’s great dancing and singing
extravaganzas, art auctions, gambling, swimming,
hot-tubbing, deck walking, reading, sleeping, or
eating, there are always these things to do onboard
AND MORE! Remember you are doing it all with a cabin
steward to do all the cleaning, the chef and staff
to do all the cooking and cleaning, and an orchestra
and entertainment staff that make your stay five
star! You can also manage four to seven days of this
with a price less than that many nights at the
Gridley Inn and the six meals a day at McDonalds.
The classmates meet
every night for dinner and are off on their own
during the day, sometimes finding classmates with
similar interests at the different venues. The only
things missing were more classmates! We all missed
Eva and Nancy who were unable to join us at the last
minute because of a medical emergency. We met for a
prayer for Eva’s surgery on Wednesday and a toast
every night to them and those others who were not
able to make it this time (Sergers, Dins, Hugheses,
We hope for more to join us in the
next reunion and a possible new cruise in years
ahead. We guarantee great food, great
entertainment, and plenty of laughs.
Wow!, what a
great time sharing old pleasures with my
classmates. Meeting with you again, after so many
years, made me realize how much my life has changed
and how much I value the friends that gave me such
good memories. This cruise proved, to me, that it is
good fortune to make friends and a blessing to keep
them! THANKS TO THE FOLKS THAT WORKED SO HARD TO
MAKE THIS REUNION SUCH A
SUCCESS!.................Are you ready for the next
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experiences, etc. to add.