After a week on the 80s Cruise, I’m not sure anything seems as strange as it typically does. On Pop Icon night, for example, there were seven Madonnas lined up in a row, all from different stages of her career. There were two Chers from the “Turn Back Time” video, one with her own tag-along-sailor, both wearing nude-colored bodysuits under strategically-placed-lace costumes. There were four people dressed as turtles with disabilities of varying degrees, one blind, one on a cane, and two whose afflictions I’ve now forgotten – the Not-So-Teenaged-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles. There were Freddy Kreugers accompanying Joan Jetts and a Top Gun Maverick cruising around having his picture made with everyone (he looked like the real deal and dressed as Maverick for two dress-up nights and as Clark Kent for a third). There were numerous Princes running around in signature purple garb, some with inflatable guitars, some more authentic looking than the rest.

There was the real-life Sebastian Back from glam-rock group Skid Row on stage in his own show crooning Air Supply, Journey, and Mr. Mister songs, talking about how much he loved sitting in his cabin watching old videos on REAL MTV. In his Behind the Music interview, he talked about getting teary-eyed watching Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie. Then came the final show on the final night when Air Supply asked him to join them on-stage to sing “All Out of Love” with them, after meeting them earlier in the day and telling them how much their music had meant to him as a kid delivering newspapers, listening to a transistor radio taped to his bike – which, in my opinion, was the best seven minutes of the entire cruise and worth every penny we paid for that experience alone.

Probably the most unusual sight this year, however, was the Mrs. Ropers. I’d never heard of a Mrs. Roper Romp, so I didn’t pay much attention to it when I saw it in the daily schedule. Approximately two dozen women and men donned red wigs and muumuus descended on the Promenade on Night One in celebration of an unsung heroine, some dragging along their very own human Stanleys (all carrying toilet plungers), and a few carrying cardboard-cutouts of Mr. Roper’s face. The effect was superb. I loved seeing such a fabulous figured heralded in any way, as she was someone most of us adored growing up, someone who championed the underdog and had a playful nature, teasing and quirkily admonishing her narrow-minded-not-with-the-times-husband, who was the landlord on Three’s Company. They were everywhere you turned that night. Tall Mrs. Ropers. Short Mrs. Ropers. Skinny Mrs. Ropers. Not-so-skinny Mrs. Ropers. Bearded Mrs. Ropers. Every imaginable style of muumuu. It was an instant classic and made my heart so happy. It was not what I ever expected to see—certainly not en masse—but it was simultaneously full of humor and magic, how one image (duplicated that many times), could take you right back to a specific place in time and make you feel all the good things you’d felt as a kid.