I had a nice chat this week with the O's official cruise director Ken Nigro, who's in Florida getting ready to lead a group of 200 true blue Orioles fans on the 8th annual Orioles Caribbean Cruise. Nigro and his charges will board the Regal Princess in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 8 for a weeklong cruise to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.
This is the largest group they've ever had and I would guess that has something to do with the celebrities who'll be sailing with them. Imagine dining with O's players Brady Anderson, Mike Devereaux and Paul Carey; O's hitting coach Greg Biagini; Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson; O's assistant general manager Doug Melvin, and former O's Boog Powell and Pat Dobson.
This cruise attracts a lot of repeaters like 87-year-old Lois Butler and her 84-year-old sister Cass Williams on their 6th cruise; 75-year-old Helen Briers and her 73-year-old sister Ruth Style, who are on their 5th; and John and Betty Brannon, Stew and Lillian Warnken and Gay Wise, who have never missed a cruise.
Also returning this year is Mary DiPaula, a marketing secretary at Towson Town Center who was voted Cruiser of the Year last year. I'm told that she missed only one Orioles home game last year! And the lovebirds from last year's cruise are returning. Val and Sam Gaugler got married while the ship was in St. Thomas last year, so they decided to return to the scene of the crime.
Nigro, when he's not busy rounding up people for this cruise, runs the Orioles Baseball Fantasy Camp in Sarasota, Fla.
Tomorrow, amid the turn-of-the-century splendor of the New York's Plaza Hotel, 30 debutantes from across the United States and Europe will be introduced at the 73rd Debutante Assembly and New Year's Ball.
At the head of the receiving line will be Mrs. Robert Stith Williams Jr., who says the assembly is a continuation of a tradition established by her mother, Mrs. Thomas Edgar. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are also the general chairs of the Ball des Rosenkavaliers, which is held in late June at the Palais Schwarzenberg in Vienna, Austria. They also publish the National Debutante Register.
There seems to be only one young lady from Maryland, Karen Lynn Jenne, daughter of Mrs. Arthur Kirk Jenne of Westminster, vTC making her bow. However, the names of Jerome Lord, Mrs. G. Clay Hollister, Mrs. John F. Lucey and Mrs. David Badger appear on a list of subscribers as being from Maryland. Plus Mrs. F. Roland Kearns of Baltimore and Encino, Calif., is regional chairman of the sponsoring committee.
Lester Lanin will provide continuous music, however I'm told that the highlight of the evening is certain to be when the debs and their fathers dance the Viennese Waltz.
If you'd like to hear firsthand from Gloria Gault Geary, how she hiked 100 miles on the Appalachian Trail or how parachuted from a perfectly good airplane or rode her bike ride from South Carolina to New York, then mark Jan. 5 on your calendar. She'll be here to share those and many other exciting adventures with those attending the Exchange Club of Baltimore's luncheon at the Engineering Society's Garrett and Jacobs Mansion. Tickets are $15 for non-members of the Club. Call (410) 332-5378 or (410) 252-3332 for reservations.