Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you, your family, and friends have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

I know that I have plenty of things to be thankful for, including my health, family, and friends and the ability to share my love of cruising with all of you. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to explore new worlds with family and friends again this year.

The highlight of the year was our cruise to the Galapagos aboard Celebrity Xpedition where we got to see the magnificent widlife and scenery of the Archipelago. Highlights included Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants, Frigate Birds, Galapagos Penguins, Sea Lions, Galapagos Turtles, Land and Marine Iguanas, and Sally Light-foot Crabs.

What a wonderful world that has been created for us to explore. As I started to write this article, I couldn’t help but think about the innovative and brave explorers who ventured into the unknown seas in search of a New World. Without those first ship-builders, captains, and crews, who passed their knowledge down from generation to generation, I suspect I wouldn’t be writing to you about our recent voyages.

Our cruise to Bermuda was another highlight of this year. We sailed from New York to Kings Wharf, Bermuda where we docked for two days. This is a small country which can be explored by public transportation including bus and ferry. Once again, you can't help but think about the early explorers, especially when visiting the Dockyards or Fort Hamilton.

I can only imagine what it would be like sailing the open seas without knowing where you were going or what you would find when you arrived at your destination. I am thankful to those explorers that made it possible for us to journey to far away places.

Another highlight of this year was a pre-inaugural cruise that I took on Celebrity Solstice, their newest and most magnificent ship yet. Those early pilgrims sailed the oceans in ships that were made of wood, not steel like those of today. They had no engines to speed them along, but instead had to rely on the wind to guide them to their unknown destinations.

The Solstice, complete with all the latest navigation technology, makes the job of the Captain quite easy. The early explorers had their sextants and crude charts which might have been enhanced by information from previous voyages.

I’ve been on several Trans-Atlantic cruises over the years. Usually there are about 7 sea days as the ship crosses the Atlantic from the last port of call (depending on the itinerary). Contrast that with the 65 days it took for the Pilgrims to sail from Plymouth, England to the New World. I’ve often sat on my balcony, during one of those sea days, and let my mind wander. Once again, I’d find myself thinking back to those first voyagers and what they must have been thinking as all they saw was water around them. They put their trust in their captain to get them safely to their destination. Today, modern technology, along with the skills of the captain and crew, get passengers to their destinations in very comfortable accommodations.

The final highlight from this year was an Inside Passage Cruise to Alaska. I've not processed our pictures from there yet, but when I do, this will be another cruise I'll share with you. Imagine the explorers sailing into the unknown waters of Alaska with icebergs surrounding their ship. Today, modern technology keeps the vessel safe as it gently pushes the icebergs away as we journey closer to the glacier that lies ahead.

Those of you, who have been sailing in the past, join me in thanking those early voyagers whose knowledge helped form this transportation industry which we perhaps take for granted. I wish you all good health, so that you will be able to continue to travel around the world exploring new sights.

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