Starry, starry nights at sea

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT - LOUISE GOLDS­BURY

If a lo­cal cruise were made into a movie, which Aus­tralian ac­tors would be cast? Cap­tain Bryan Brown, Jack Thomp­son or Rus­sell Crowe — sorry, too hard to choose so let’s make them all of­fi­cers. Hugh Jack­man would be the ul­ti­mate cruise di­rec­tor, and Eric Bana could go back to his days as a co­me­dian on the main stage.

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Cur­tis Stone, if he can act, would be a nat­u­ral as he al­ready has a few restau­rants at sea. The restau­rant maitre d’ al­ways seems to be Ital­ian, so Vince Colosimo is our best bet. Bar man­ager Mel Gib­son, per­haps. Oh wait, we need Bryan Brown mak­ing cock­tails in­stead of steer­ing the ship.

The pi­ano man has to be Ge­of­frey Rush, repris­ing his role in Shine. Ni­cole Kid­man can re­vive her Moulin Rouge! days, ac­com­pa­nied by Paul Mer­cu­rio, Adam Gar­cia, and Kylie and Dan­nii Minogue. Guy Pearce, Hugo Weav­ing and Ter­ence Stamp would have to do Priscilla, Queen of the Ocean. The Hemsworth broth­ers as pool boys, please. Day spa man­ager Cate Blanchett and her flaw­less skin.

In re­al­ity, very few Aus­tralians work on big cruise ships. At least the pas­sen­gers would le­git­i­mately be lo­cals. Pic­ture this girls’ get­away group: Toni Col­lette, Rachel Grif­fiths, Rebel Wil­son, Ruby Rose, Isla Fisher, Mar­got Rob­bie, Magda Szuban­ski and a cou­ple of cougars pool­side, Gina Ri­ley and Jane Turner. They run into a bunch of boys on a bucks’ week­end, led by Sam Wor- thing­ton and Joel Edger­ton, and an­noy Plat­inum-level cou­ple Jacki Weaver and Paul Ho­gan.

There was an Aus­tralian-Amer­i­can su­per­nat­u­ral hor­ror, Ghost Ship (2002), shot in Queens­land and Canada. Spoiler alert: it opens with crew killing pas­sen­gers in a grue­some dance­floor mas­sacre. Few other re­cent films would en­tice any­one to take a cruise. Let’s face it, no­body gets over Ti­tanic. One has to delve back through the decades for any­thing in­spir­ing.

In the 1950s clas­sic, An Af­fair to Re­mem­ber, Cary Grant and Deb­o­rah Kerr fall in love on SS Con­sti­tu­tion. (Lit­tle known fact: Grant met his third real-life wife on the orig­i­nal Queen Mary.) Gen­tle­men Pre­fer Blondes also takes place on a ship, pair­ing Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Jane Rus­sell as singers sail­ing to France. Doris Day, Gin­ger Rogers and Fred As­taire per­formed in cheery cruise movies such as Ro­mance on the High Seas and Shall We Dance?. Carry on Cruis­ing, set on a Bri­tish P&O ves­sel, had a tagline about a “lux­ury laugh­ter cruise”.

Come­dies made a come­back in the 1990s when Out to Sea saw Jack Lem­mon and Wal­ter Matthau pos­ing as dance in­struc­tors on Hol­land Amer­ica’s Wes­ter­dam dur­ing a real-life cruise. In Boat Trip, a travel agent gets re­venge on two cus­tomers, Cuba Good­ing Jr and Ho­ra­tio Sanz, by book­ing the straight mates on a gay cruise.

The premise of Speed 2 is al­most funny. Af­ter sav­ing a bus full of peo­ple in Speed, San­dra Bul­lock heads to the Caribbean to chill out, only to en­counter creepy crew mem­ber Willem Dafoe who tries to col­lide Se­abourn Leg­end (now named Star Leg­end) with an oil tanker.

There hasn’t been much in the genre since 2011 when Adam San­dler played both leads in Jack and Jill while aboard one of the big­gest prod­uct place­ments in history, the world’s largest me­ga­liner at the time, Al­lure of the Seas. Re­leased the same year, Alvin and the Chip­munks: Chip­wrecked, set on Car­ni­val Dream, is prob­a­bly a bet­ter op­tion to watch with the kids. That is, un­til my “Aussies Afloat” ex­trav­a­ganza comes out.

Louise Golds­bury is the edi­tor of cruise­critic.com.au.

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe in Gen­tle­men Pre­fer Blondes

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