During the mid-80s, Michael L. Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series The Love Boat.
- He wrote many of the two-hour special featuring great stars of the past including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc.
- The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people.
- The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today.
- It was a ten-year info commercial reaching the planet. Much of it was over-the-top fantasy, but it has to be one of the greatest selling tools or all time.
- Without Love Boat, there would be no Carnival Corp or the endless large cruise lines. P&O Lines (owner of Princess Cruises until Carnival bought it) said: “Love Boat” brought in over a billion dollars in business. Love Boat was the ultimate realization of a TV show turned into a brand name.
- The Love Boat drama was in stark contrast to Michael’s personal experience with ships and cruise liners.
Michael has sailed on over 55 ships and liners
- During the late 1950s and 1970s, Michael sailed on over 30 ships and liners with his parents, aunt, and grandmother.
- He had been a passenger aboard ships operated by the Grace Lines, Cunard Lines, Holland America Lines, US Lines, American President Lines, Matson Lines, Pacific Far East Lines, Delta Lines, Moore-McCormick Lines, Swedish America Lines, Home Lines, Canadian Pacific Lines, Italian Lines, American Export Lines, P&O Lines, Orient Lines, Italian Lines, French Line, etc.
- He sailed on some of the great liners and passenger ships including the Kungsholm, President Hoover, Empress of Canada, America, Lurline, Medea, Mauritania, Homeric, Mariposa, Monterey, Matsonia, President Wilson, Dentledyke, Del Sud, Santa Rosa, Oriana, Prince George, Royal Viking Sky, etc.
- He experienced P&O Line’s Canberra going Around-the-Pacific in the late 60s, as a graduation experience, and the next time he heard about this ship she was doing troop duty during the Falkland War.
- He sailed with his aunt on the Saturnia – the pre-war Italian Line ship… this was one of the first to have individual balconies or verandas for their first class staterooms. Grace Line’s new Santa Rosa had verandas – Liz Taylor sailed in these large suites during the 1960s.
- His last cruise voyage, before 2000, was aboard Carras Line’s Daphne sailing to Havana, Cuba in 1978 from New Orleans, the second year for Carras sailing to Cuba. Carras pulled out because of political problems and a bomb threat. There have been no passenger ship services between the USA and Cuba since.
By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three-day cruises to the Bahamas. You couldn’t travel trans-Atlantic except by the QE 2 (only in the summer), and there were no trans-Pacific voyages. There were no First, Cabin or Tourist Classes. No horseracing or skeet shooting or playing the ship’s pool. Vanished. Just one big class. Just Vegas afloat.
- The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Grace’s high interest in cruise and social history.
- Starting with his first ocean voyage when he was eight years old.
- Drawing on his knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he can produce a very successful website. Cruising the Past captures the moments in the time when passengers “crossed the pond” in style and “getting there was half the fun”!
- The website is visited by thousands of people daily who search for a glimpse of the past and researching social history.
- He has lectured and consults extensively on the social history of travel.