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I still find myself in disbelief that we are actually in this situation. Are we all dreaming? Since every nightmare is in fact a dream, please wake me up.
It seems like yesterday that 2020 was shaping up to be the best year in the history of the cruise industry. There were new ships, new itineraries, and new onboard features to make a great product even greater — not to mention new opportunities for me to expose my 14-year-old twin boys to experiences that would enhance their learning curve as they head toward adulthood.
Fast forward to now — aka “the new normal” — and we are collectively struggling to make sense of it all while arguing about wearing masks on Facebook.
But let me ask a fundamental question. Is it worth it? Should we care enough to salvage our industry? Or should we just let it wilt on the vine while all of us look for a new career path? Is travel dead?
I would argue that travel is the most powerful of antidotes for what ails our society, and it is the most powerful way to bridge the gap of cultural differences.
But let me ask a fundamental question. Is it worth it? Should we care enough to salvage our industry? Is travel dead?
I smile when I reminisce about 2019 and the experiences I was able to enjoy with my family, including cruises to Japan, French Polynesia and the Caribbean. (Yes, my boys are incredibly spoiled. As am I.)
Our Japan trip was spent with our good friends from Ensemble Travel. My boys sat patiently through business dinners, but they learned to look people in the eye and engage in conversation. They tried new food that they didn’t think existed (I love Japan just for that alone), tried sake at a local brewery, visited the Udo Shrine on the waterfront in Miyazaki, and walked the grounds of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial — perhaps the most powerful experience of their young lives.
French Polynesia was — as always — heaven on earth, with perfect water and incredibly friendly locals. We rented a car in Huahine, where I proved I could still drive a stick shift, got lost despite there only being one main road around the island, and then stumbled across the most beautiful beach we had ever seen. In Bora Bora, we swam with lemon sharks bigger than me and lived to talk about it at dinner — where my boys devoured yet another plate of escargot.
Our Caribbean cruise was a trip with my sister and her expanding family. We spent Christmas in Belize and created countless memories, including an encounter with a sloth that soon became our favorite animal on planet Earth.
I look at those experiences as a master class in becoming a tolerant, inquisitive, appreciative adult.
In a parallel universe, 2020 was meant to include a trip to Austria; a June visit to Connecticut for my sister’s wedding (no. 3, but who’s counting?); a reunion with college buddies; and a 17-day cruise-tour to Alaska that would allow us to visit all five of the lodges owned and operated by Princess. And that was just during the first eight months of the year.
But alas, none of that took place and now we have the itch — the burning desire to get out there and see the world. More than ever, we appreciate the opportunities we have had to see this magnificent planet, and I know we are not alone. Humans are social beings and we all share a passion that will never disappear: the motivation to leave the comforts of home behind and lose yourself in a new place.
I cannot wait to get lost on that next journey. To watch my boys — and myself — evolve before our very eyes. To me, that is what life is all about. And as we navigate through perilous waters with an uncertain outcome, we should all take comfort in the most basic of human needs. Food. Shelter. Love. And travel.
The DetailsCunard Linewww.cunard.com