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In Memory of Stormin’ Norm, Everyone’s Favorite Cruiser

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Bear with me, this one’s going to be a bit of bit robust. In spite of everything, how do you say goodbye to somebody you spoke to only about each week? Somebody with whom you bonded over with the factor you like most?

How do you say goodbye to a man like Stormin’ Norm?

The Man. The Fantasy. The Hats.

After I’m engaged on new episodes of Cruise Radio, my greatest pet peeve is alerts going off whereas we’re recording.  Our information correspondent, Sherry Laskin, can let you know simply how loopy this makes me, as I’ve taken her to activity at any time when certainly one of our periods is interrupted as a result of she forgot to mute her alerts.

If there’s a draw back to disconnecting from the world, it’s that generally, you wind up lacking an essential alert.

That was the case earlier this week when, having gone radio silent for a number of hours, I checked out my notifications and browse the phrases, “Unhappy in regards to the lack of Norman.”

My coronary heart sank, as a result of with out studying one other phrase, with out checking one other of the numerous messages which adopted, I knew precisely who “Norm” was and what this textual content meant. His actual title was Norman Freedman, however all the time glided by the moniker Stormin’ Norm or Norm.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve had the unimaginable pleasure of assembly 1000’s of Cruise Radio listeners. Fact be informed, I’m not essentially the most outgoing particular person and, the truth is, I’m kinda shy and reserved.

Norm and I onboard Carnival Horizon in 2018.

Generally, nevertheless, you’ll meet somebody with whom you simply click on with. With them, you go from stranger to pal in what looks like a heartbeat. They’re so outgoing, so personable and magnetic, that others are drawn to them like moths to a flame. That was undoubtedly the case with Norm.

Even if you happen to assume you didn’t know Norm, there’s a superb probability you crossed paths with him. You in all probability noticed him throughout a crowded bar, protruding like a sore thumb due to the loopy hats he all the time wore.

I’ve quite a lot of pictures of sail-away events or occasions held in atriums the place Norm and certainly one of his hats photobombed. Or him and Diamond Di within the conga line of a deck occasion.

You may all the time discover Norm by his hat of the day.

Inevitably, somebody these pics would ignore the atrium or the sundown or the dancing cruise director and say, “You sailed with Stormin’ Norm?”

Again in February of 2013, a pal and I made a decision to leap on the Carnival Future’s final crusing earlier than she was morphed into the Carnival Sunshine. It was throughout that crusing I first met Norman Freedman, higher identified to most cruisers as Stormin Norm or simply “the man with the humorous hat.”

I couldn’t know then that Norm would turn out to be a recurring character within the story of my life. 9 months later, I used to be doing a solo transatlantic crusing and there he was. Norm and his accomplice Dianne had been form sufficient to ask me to tag alongside on a few their excursions. It was throughout this journey that I actually obtained to know him.

After that, we wound up on numerous cruises collectively, and I used to be fortunate sufficient that he sometimes agreed to come back on Cruise Radio to speak about a few of his adventures.

What Made Him Such a Particular Individual

The tour group Norm led alongside the Mediterranean coast in 2013.

Though we’d cross paths on numerous ships — together with a slew of Carnival ships — it all the time appeared as if the Carnival Sunshine had a particular place in his coronary heart.

A Port Canaveral terminal employee remembers an event that proved his devotion to the ship. “He was getting off a five-night Sunshine cruise a number of years in the past, and he informed me he’d be again for the eight-night,” they shared. “Certain sufficient, after clearing customs, he boarded Sunshine once more!”

Provided that Sunshine has lengthy been certainly one of my favorites as nicely, it was yet one more factor we bonded over. And we did a number of unforgettable excursions collectively, together with an unimaginable tour in Malaga, Spain.

Comic Lance, me, Norm, Diane, and Ray in Malaga, Spain.

That specific crusing changed into a digital Who’s Who of cruisers, as we frolicked with comic Lance Montalto and frequent sailers Diane, Ray, Kevin, Stephen, Gary, Marcia, and Miss Paulette.

To say that Norm beloved cruising could be an enormous understatement, however the information he fortunately shared prolonged far past the ships on which we sailed. The man had details about each side of cruising — from shipyards to ports, crew member gossip to company intrigue — there wasn’t a subject he couldn’t focus on.

It’s protected to say Cruise Radio broke quite a lot of tales due to ideas we acquired from Norm. And naturally, it is smart that he would know the whole lot there was to know in regards to the business.

Why? As a result of Norm talked to completely everybody he got here into contact with. Crew members beloved him, cruisers wished to rub elbows with him.

If you happen to had been strolling alongside the promenade with Norm by your facet, it was like attending a film premiere with the movie’s star. Folks always stopped, wanting to speak to Norm, perhaps seize a selfie, and he was all the time pleased to oblige.

I’ll always remember the final time I noticed Norm, he held up his finger and stated, “Life is brief, simply take the cruise.”

Stormin’ Norman might not be with us, however he’ll lengthy be remembered by everybody whose paths he crossed. Even those that solely knew him as “that man with the loopy hats.”

Function photograph used with written permission from Diane Hoffman.

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