That Was The Year That Was Industry innovations keep the industry more than buoyant
by Vanessa Lee
My new dog Charlie on Labour Day.
With Jann Arden on Avalon Tranquility II
Wine tasting onboard the Uniworld River Royale.
On the Windstar Wind Surf off Stromboli
Following is both my business and personal review of the
year that will shortly exit - stage left.
When one thinks about the months behind you and what has been achieved or
accomplished, where you have been, what you’ve enjoyed
and all the vagaries of life, all the good,
the bad and certainly the sad, it makes one pause for reflection.
along with me and I will give you some insight into the news that permeated my
thinking, the trials and tribulations, the top of the mountain moments and all
that happened to send 2015 into the annals of time.
personal perspective this has been a year full of too much heart impacting loss than most in recent times. I lost my ex-husband Daryl McWilliams, a
man many knew and who had a long and impressive industry career. He was one of
the people who gave me my start in the Canadian travel industry, introducing me
to cruising when Paramount represented Royal Caribbean, Chandris and Cunard
back in 1981.
great gal pal Heather Qually died far too soon from the disease we are
constantly fighting. Her passing has been a huge loss for many.
And I also lost my beloved Golden Retriever Buchan in
August. I also mourned the passing of a relationship – different of course but
nevertheless something one has to come to terms with and shed tears over.
But, of course there
were also many happy moments, and perhaps
while not quite enough to assuage all the loss, they were important and
meaningful and I was thankful for them. I rescued a
5 yr. old Golden Retriever named Charlie and brought him back to my home
from Thunder Bay – truly a “travels with Charlie” moment and he has
uplifted my heart every day since. Check out
www.goldenrescue.com - a great
charity in need of support from all you dog lovers. And on a personal note I
have jumped back into the love “ring of fire” and found someone who may just
give me the best times of my life – stay tuned on that one!
And then there was all the news from the industry as well as various trips and cruises. One thing I
found out is that I have finally spent more than one year out of the last 15
staying in Starwood Hotels – just Starwood, never mind the rest. Yikes! It’s
odd when you think about one whole year of your life staying in a hotel room of
one brand. But that’s what we do and frankly that’s what I love.
I only put
about 51,000 miles on Air Canada this year – not sure why it wasn’t so busy but I did write a column back in January
of ’15 about the 70% solution and saying “NO” more often. And I guess that worked to some
degree. Less travel or perhaps more relevant travel occurred. But I am still going to work on
achieving my million miles with AC so
I too can receive a miniature metal plane!
I sailed on
only 6 ships this year but, they were all
remarkable and memorable experiences. I was fortunate enough to be invited on
Avalon Tranquility II with her delightful
, Canadian icon Jann Arden. That woman is a gem and of
course a huge talent as well. And I just
bought her 1
st Christmas album,
go buy it - it’s fab.
Avalon I drove myself across France from Basel to Bordeaux (that was an
adventure in itself!) and happily boarded another great river line – Uniworld –
for my 1
st foray into the
Bordeaux wine region. Another fantastic trip which I also
wrote about back in April
me on one of my favourite brands, Windstar Cruises on a 10 night cruise round-trip from Rome visiting many
Italian ports, 3 on the island of Sicily and
2 in Malta. This Sicilian Splendours
itinerary on my adored
Wind Surf is
one of the best I have sailed. Sailing past
the volcanic isle of Stromboli as smoke burped from her peak was really a
marvellous memory. And I adored Malta – my 90
country at last.
I took my 1st Ponant cruise on Le Boreal
in September on a short repo cruise from YVR to SFO. Great ship – fun times and
all-inclusive with fab food. Check out
were the impacts from industry news this year? Well
the opening of Cuba for sure and the rampant rush to sail to and around Cuba.
MSC made a big foray from a European
base and will
Opera sailing there soon.
And, now they have announced that the
Armonia will also sail Cuba next year. I think fathom, from Carnival Corp is an interesting new
entry but frankly, the jury may still be out
I like that
st female captain at sea is
on Celebrity Cruises and her story is an impressive one of hard work,
determination and tenacity. All traits I applaud.
There was a
lot of new ship buzz with high end cruise lines sharing news about the
fantastic new builds coming our way. Literally every 5/6 star line is bringing new tonnage on – Regent, Seabourn,
Silversea and of course ALL the amazing news from Crystal. That brand has been
very busy – a new river cruise line from them with their
Crystal Mozart debuting next year,
private jets, 3 new ocean going ships, polar-ice vessels for expeditions and
residences to boot. Well done Edie to accomplish
all of this – very impressive!
being appointed President of Norwegian – and
about time too. Who doesn’t love Andy Stuart who has guided this brand for many
a year in a sales and marketing capacity and who is the best choice going
Viking Ocean and the Viking Star – to rave reviews. Concerns
about too many river ships being built, China, China and China – SO interesting
to see how many ships are heading over there. The Carnival revolutionary ship
orders of next-gen vessels and green cruising. Virgin’s entry into the cruise
market – coming in 2020 but done with the usual Branson razzmatazz. And Royal’s
VOOM – fastest Wi-Fi at sea. All the major lines (literally) ordering new
and more ships that will keep the industry more than buoyant through the next
decade – so many innovations we have yet to think of but that they are already well ahead of.
biggest question of all – are we in World War III – how will this impact us and
please God don’t let the Americans vote in Trump. 2016 will unveil this
and no doubt much more.
So I wish
you all a wonderful Festive Season and the
happiest of New Years, however you may choose to celebrate, and truly let us all hope for Peace on Earth.