Back in the summer of 1980, I was a fresh faced 23 year old ready to take on the world. My whole life was in front of me and I was ready to travel and see more of this great big planet we live on. I was single in my 20’s and wanted to explore and visit exotic locales that I had never been to before, so some single girlfriends and I talked about putting together a cruise. There were 7 of us in all. I’m still in touch with 2 of them, who are longtime friends of mine, but the other 4, we have lost touch with over the years. It would be interesting to see where they are all now in life. We have no idea how our paths in life will take us from journey to journey and all the people we will meet along the way. Looking back to this time in life, it seems many years ago (and it was!) and I had no idea how many different paths I’d end up on. They have all been interesting, to say the least.
My first cruise was a Carnival cruise and we were all so excited as we planned the trip and anticipated seeing so many new places. I had already been to the Bahamas by this time and found that to be such an interesting and beautiful place. I couldn’t wait to see more of the Caribbean. My parents weren’t much on traveling to far away places, so going on a fun adventure with girlfriends was the perfect thing to do in my 20’s.
This was 1980, so you’ll get a kick out of all the hair styles and clothing of the decade to come. These are 2 girls who I’m still friends with, twins Donna and Wanda. Wanda and I met when we were 21 and have been friends ever since, through thick and thin. We were ready to take on the world and felt very cosmopolitan going on our first big international trip!
We flew to Miami and headed to the port, where we boarded this big ship, the Festivale. I’m sure back then it was state of the art and top of the line for Carnival. Oh, how the ships have changed over the years. I can’t wait to experience the Breeze on my upcoming cruise.
This ship looked like a huge floating island, with so many fun possibilities awaiting us. We were not disappointed and loved every minute of our cruise experience.
Waking up to a different port every couple of days was fun and exciting. I remember walking out to the front of the ship to see where we had landed. Our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas. I think this might be in St. Thomas, which was also on our itinerary.
The ship had several pools and we took advantage of sun time, soaking up the rays of the Caribbean. Oh, how young we were! This is me and Donna.
This sign in Nassau was the perfect place to take a picture. I thought our photos back then were so great and just look how all that has changed too. Grainy photos! Now we have beautiful photos at our fingertips just by using our phones.
Strolling the straw market in Nassau, Bahamas. It’s fun to pick up souvenirs while on vacation and bring home something from each port of call.
This view was most definitely St. Thomas.
An amazing view of Magens Bay in St. Thomas. The water is really spectacular there and all over the Caribbean, which makes it a great destination in the middle of Winter. This picture doesn’t do it justice however. I hope to get much better pictures on this upcoming trip to the Southern Caribbean.
I think this was at our stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was a fun place to visit. We did a Flamenco show on our stop there at night.
We also walked around the old town of San Juan and shopped.
Our cruise ship was docked nearby and you can see how massive it was.
Shopping in Old San Juan.
Cruise ships always take pictures of the guests while the cruise is going on and they took plenty of our group of single girls. Of course, we had to buy the pictures! I’m so glad I did now, as their pics are much better than mine.
Caught by the camera at the formal night. I think we have 2 formal nights on our cruise this year, but I’ve heard that they are not quite as formal as they used to be, so I will probably opt for cocktail dresses. Can you spot me in these photos?
Another formal night. Weren’t we all stylish ladies in 1980? The days of big hair and short shorts!
We had such a great time and I remember feeling so sad when we had to leave the ship. They really treated us so nice and we felt like we were the only people who had ever been on the ship. That’s how special we felt. When we had to pack up and leave the ship, of course I realized that another group of people would be taking our place the following week. That was a little disappointing, but it made me aware of just how much I enjoyed cruising. I went on another cruise in 2003 with my niece, Lauren, and this will be my third.
I don’t know why I’ve waited so long in between, but you can bet, this won’t be my last. I think cruises are such a great value for an exotic vacation, allowing you to see and do so much and just the ship experience itself is wonderful. The food, oh the food, I can’t even explain how great that part is. I’ll be reporting back after my cruise on January 16th and let you know all about the new ships of Carnival and how much things have changed. When I think back to 1980, there were no cell phones, no internet and none of the social media we have today. This cruise will be an entirely different experience than the first one I took at 23 and I can’t wait to experience it all again, this time as a middle-aged woman! It can’t get here soon enough! I’ll be leaving today for my cruise!
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.
fun to look at old photos…now, how about some of your Dad!?
Gilda, I have posted pics of both my parents in their young years, would have to find them, but I think it’s one of my dads birthday posts from 3 or 4 years ago.
What a great look back in time! I went on Carnival Cruise lines to the Bahamas in the mid 80’s , unfortunately after more than I can count moves since then I don’t have any pictures. Seeing your photos of Nassau though brought back my own memories, we too were 3 girls on an adventure, we took pictures at that same sign post and the straw market was such a fun experience! I got a kick out of the traffic signs in Nassua that said “Give Way” instead of yield ! And of course the Goombay Punch drinks!
Enjoy your trip!
heidi @ decor & more says
OH MY GOSH! I LOVE that you still have these awesome pics! You were chic even in 1980, Rhoda. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful time… anxious to read all about it!
Enjoyed these pics a lot; I’m feeling all nostalgic. You certainly ‘rocked’ that shorts play suit in 1980 and I promise you, you haven’t changed that much at all!
I hope you have just as much fun on this cruise!
Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says
Hope you have a marvelous time on your cruise! It was so fun to see your pics from your first cruise. I took my first one about the same time and was bitten by the same travel bug!
Love the pics! I miss 80’s hair; I’m 5’4″ and need the extra height!
You are such a cutie pie! We need to see some pictures of you as a little girl because I bet even then you were stylish and knew how to strike a pose!! Except for the BIG hair, you look exactly the same. My friends and I believe we are responsible for the ozone depletion from all the Aquanet we used back then! Hope you have a marvelous weekend, Rhoda
Thank you Roxanne, you are kind. I didn’t have to use much hair spray, but my friends sure did. That Aquanet was popular!
Nothing says the 80’s more than satin pants! I had a satin jumpsuit with a tuxedo jacket #LOVE.
Oh yes! I forgot to mention that my mom made all those outfits for formal nights, including the peach dress. She was sewing up a storm back then & I felt so stylish.
Those were some fun times!
Shelley @ Calypso in the Country says
These photos are SO great! Such fun to look back isn’t it? My first trip to the Caribbean was with two girlfriends as well. It think it was around 1988 and we spent a week in Barbados. Since then, I have traveled back to the Caribbean almost every year except for a couple years when my boys were babies and a few years since then. You just can’t beat the island weather for a vacation…and that beautiful water! Can’t wait to hear about your current trip!
Sherri F. says
Rhoda, this brings back so many fond memories. My best friend from H.S. and I went on the same ship/cruise line to St. Thomas/St. Martin after our first year of college! We felt very grown up as well. I couldn’t help noticing that your formal outfits, as well as shorts and rompers looked like what we wore! I also sported your hairstyle with the “Farah Fawcett” look.
Enjoy your time on this new adventure. Can’t wait to hear all about it.
[email protected] says
I’ve never been on a cruise but think it would be fun. Love your 80’s photos..they brought back some great memories! Looking forward to posts about your upcoming cruise. Have a wonderful time!!
Darby Miller says
Wow, what a flashback! I was one of a small group who cruised on the sister ship – The Carnivale in June, 1978 following our h.s. graduation. My photos showing our hair styles, fashions and experiences are exactly the same. Do you happen to remember that no hair dryers or curlers were allowed to be used in individual staterooms? There were designated rooms on each floor mid-ship with full wall mirrors, great lighting and electrical plug in’s where you would take your ‘appliances’ and fix your hair there…Fun times indeed.
Hi, Darby, I do not remember that part. I’ll have to ask my friend if she does. Oh the changes!
Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos says
Ah, 1980! Love your hair and outfits! LOL How fun! I took my first cruise in 2001 to the Bahamas.
I went by myself on a Bahamas cruise in the 80’s. I met the Captain, fell in love and sailed into the sunset with him! 30 years later we are still together. You never know what adventure awaits!
Deb Young says
Just returned from my first cruise on Sunday! We were on the Carnival Sensation. We really enjoyed it and cannot wait to go again.
Kim R says
I’m looking forward to seeing your pics from the current cruise. These pictures were so fun! I also had a mom that sewed so many of my clothes when I was in my 20’s. Weren’t we blessed?!
I was honored to be asked by my young daughter to accompany she and 2 of her friends on a Carnival cruise during spring break of their freshman year in college. It was a wonderful time and a great memory! We sailed out of Jacksonville to Key West and Nassua. Although the weather wasn’t great we had a great time. It is the best way to enjoy the Carribean.
I hate to be negative but patsy seems a little snarky. If this were my blog I think I would delete her comments.
Thanks Kim, I just did!
I love this post. First let me say, your hair was ON POINT. It looked amazing. Second, I know exactly what you meant about not wanting to leave. We went on a cruise for a honeymoon and it was so wonderful. Everyone was so nice. I would do it again in a second.
If you sailed in May 1980 or later, I would have been a new employee on the TSS Festivale, a fresh-faced 22-year old from Virginia working in the gift shop! A year later, I transferred into the casino department. My cruise adventure lasted 7 years on 5 ships in the Carnival fleet…mostly great memories, absolutely no regrets! It was an excellent way to continue my education, working with people from all around the world! Thanks for sharing your memoirs, loved the pictures!