For me, the two most interesting aspects of these inaugurals have been the atmosphere onboard and the novel entertainment on ALLURE. Regarding the former, it is hard to describe something as amorphous as an atmosphere, but every cruise has a clear mood and everyone onboard feels it even if we can’t articulate it.
On ALLURE, we are all feeling that we are part something special and the camaraderie that such a feeling generates is contagious. For example, we have asked many of our best travel partners to join us over the Thanksgiving holidays and instead of feeling imposed upon, these travel partners are actually thanking us for inviting them during this important holiday. The attitude seems to be one of wonder rather than mere research. And the contagion spreads to the crew. I am always in awe of the crew, but there is a tangible buzz here aboard ALLURE which lifts all our spirits. There is also a quiet confidence which makes everything seem so smooth and effortless. In the end, the ship helps create a special atmosphere and the atmosphere helps elevate a special ship.
And the entertainment compliments everything else. In our press releases, it always seems to be a dry listing of individual items; a lot of items, but a dry list nevertheless. I am not denigrating our press releases. (And I should also congratulate both the PR department and our PR agency, Weber Shandwick for doing an amazing job attracting, organizing and facilitating 525 journalists from 56 countries. It is truly impressive seeing what a complex task that is and how well they have orchestrated it.) But a press release is necessarily dry and inevitably focuses on making as long a list as possible. Long lists always seem to be the most interesting and they always seem to attract the greatest interest. But the lists don’t do the reality justice.
Each of these new entertainment features would be noteworthy in their own right. If a new ship put on a Broadway performance of the caliber of our CHICAGO; if any new ship produced an aquatics show like our Oceanaria; if any ship (new or old) announced a partnership with Dreamworks; if ; if; if; then travel writers would be enthralled. But ALLURE has introduced all that and more. I watched Blue Planet last night. After all the talk, all the rehearsals and all the technical issues, the show exceeded everyone’s expectations. The costumes were amazing; the staging was inspired; the singing and dancing mesmerizing. No one aspect stood out, but the cohesive whole was thrilling. Like the ship, the sheer scale of the alternatives and their very diversity produced a wondrous effect.
So, I am going back to my grandchildren (and incidentally their parents) and celebrating with them this great holiday. I have much to be grateful for and this inaugural is just one of them.