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Mark Doiron of Madison is the official on the far left in this photo.
Mark Doiron of Madison is the official on the far left in this photo.
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Growing up back in the late 1970’s and 1980’s I enjoyed watching the weekly TV Show called the “Love Boat”. I wanted to experience first-hand the fun activities the cruise director, aka Love Boat Cruise Director Julie McCoy, had in store on the cruise. I always dreamed of going on a cruise.

Madison Resident, George Ellmore, has lived my dream by going on 84 cruises dating back to 1981. George living in the Alexandria, VA area was on a sidewalk “hawking” pedestrians to come into his restaurant. Manny Molina, a cruise director, from Commodore Cruise Lines walked into his restaurant and George’s vacation plans for the last 33 years changed.

Living in Virginia, George took cruises along the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, up the East Coast to New York and Bermuda. Cruise Lines operating in the Caribbean, such as Carnival opened up places in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. It is the Caribbean that George loves to vacation.

George moved with his Wife, Rose, to Mississippi because of her job transfer with L-3 Communications/Vertex Aerospace. George was hired as a Director of Neighborhood Services for the City of Madison which involves code enforcements. Prior to their marriage in 2001, Rose had never been on a cruise but now is his cruise companion for life.

Living in Mississippi made it even easier for George to go cruising because all he has to do is drive to New Orleans, park and climb aboard. Every island in the Caribbean has seen George, more than once. Over time George has enjoyed staying on board because as he says “you cannot beat the food and atmosphere even though I love the island food experiences.” George has enjoyed numerous dinners with the Captains of the ships aka Love Boat Captain Merrill Stubing at the captain’s table. I can only imagine the conversations that went on between a cruise captain and a veteran cruise vacationer.

Back in the early 1980’s 7 day cruises were around $200 and up. Today, George must have a balcony suite and he only goes on 7 day cruises which could range from $2500 and up during the months of March and April. Prices are much higher around holiday times.

Being on that many cruises I had to ask “did you ever get sick and have to see a doctor aka Love Boat Doctor Adam Bricker? George replied, “…never been sick.”

Recently George had 7 friends join him on the new beautiful Carnival SUNSHINE Ship out of New Orleans this past March. They were spoiled.

George’s love for the water even extends to our Ross Barnett Reservoir where he is actively involved with the Jackson Yacht Club serving many years as a volunteer supporting numerous sailboat regattas. He also serves as Czar of the weekly “Beer Can” races.

My dream of going on a cruise has come true and everything about what I saw on those Love Boat episodes were true even the talks I had with the boat’s bartender aka Love Boat Bartender Isaac Washington were too real.

Mark Doiron is a Madison County businessman.

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