As a young kid I remember the excitement of driving to New York in the 1960s to see my parents’ friends and their kids off on an ocean voyage.

Everyone was dressed up and they had a bon voyage party onboard, in their cabins, complete with champagne and balloons and lots of good cheer.

The days of such send-offs have long passed, due in part to security regulations. Until now.

In a nostalgic return to tradition, Princess Cruises is reviving the bon voyage party with a new program that allows passengers to invite friends and/or family onboard for embarkation day—for a fee and with an advance reservation.

Called the "Bon Voyage Experience," the program is a new twist on the celebration of my youth. Passengers can invite guests to join them onboard for a four-course dining room lunch with wine, an organized ship tour and a souvenir photo.

The cost of the program is $39 per person, which can be applied to a future cruise (the marketing folks at the cruise line are not unaware this is a great opportunity to get people interested in cruising).

The tour is about four hours in total, and all takes place before the ship sets sail, and will be limited to about 50 guests per embarkation day.

The Bon Voyage Experience debuts in March in the ports of Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, and then will roll out in New York and Seattle in May, and San Francisco in June.

“Long-time cruisers will recall the fun of the bon voyage send-off with their family and friends, and we’re excited to re-introduce a new, modern version of this experience,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Guest blogger Fran Golden is a cruise expert and regular contributor to