I’m trying to remember how long it’s been exactly but can’t really put a number on it… that means it’s been too long. But this past weekend hubby and I dropped the kids off with my mom and went off on our own. For an adult only weekend. Two nights in a quiet hotel room without the pitter-patter of little feet, okay, so it’s really more of a stomp-stomp… you get the idea, right?
We didn’t go to lounge around on the beach or sit at some hotel pool tiki bar sipping drinks with straws in them (both of which would have been okay). Instead, we decided to soak up some history and take our chance on a 70 year old WWII ship. As some of you probably remember about a month ago we all went on a tour of the S.S. American Victory in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The S.S. American Victory in port
The S.S. American Victory is a fully-functional WWII Victory ship that serves as a floating museum. Twice a year the ship gets taken out into Tampa bay and we were lucky enough to get tickets for the first steam in 3 years.
Ready to steam away!
Hubby was pretty excited as both his grandfathers served on victory/liberty ships in the Merchant Marines during WWII. It was pretty fascinating to watch them ready the ship… the white or black smoke coming out of the smoke stack, the tugboat helping the much more massive ship move away from the dock and the people pulling off the thick lines holding the ship to the dock.
removing the last hold on land
The weather was absolutely, positively perfect… a sunny and breezy Spring day in Florida. We couldn’t have asked for better.
Hubby and I found our own little island of calm and were able to enjoy part of the cruise sitting there, watching the horizon, the sailboats with their crisp, white sails and the sea gulls flying along with us looking for some scraps of food.
our slice of heaven
The Navy send along two of their newest acquisitions and we were able to watch them go through some training maneuvers. Love this view of the down town Tampa skyline.
skyline of Tampa and our Navy companions
Big props need to go out to the Cindy E. The tug boat that stayed close to our side for the 4 hour cruise. The boat and it’s crew helped the American Victory away from the dock, turned us around when we got to the pier in St. Petersburg and made sure the ship was safely tied up again once we got back to port.
our constant companion
Part of the fun of going on this Relive History Cruise was seeing the reenactors dressed in their uniforms and dresses reminiscent of the 40’s. Here is hubby with two of the ladies…
In honor of all the fallen service men and women a small memorial service took place when we got to the pier in St. Petersburg. See this gun? It was actually fired 3 times. One of the other passengers, an older lady told us that 4 years ago during the cruise a burial at sea was performed.
rigged and loaded
Other than the food running out and some disgruntled passengers it was a fantastic experience and for me probably the one and only time to partake in this. Hubby is already making plans to take his dad and our boy on the September cruise. It’s pretty incredible to be able to “relive” history and steam away on a ship like this albeit under much safer conditions than both hubby’s grandpas experienced during their time on one of these.
view from the bow
Here are some more images from our day at sea. I took well over 150 pictures and had quite a time deciding which to share. I hope, you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with us and if you ever find yourself near a museum ship in any port anywhere, I urge you to take a tour, look around and learn some maritime history. It sure is interesting.