Cruising Takes A Stand Against Hatred & Division

By Bruce Parkinson

Arnold Donald

Travel is the perfect antidote to prejudice and discrimination. Meeting diverse peoples is the most powerful way to learn we’re all the same under the skin.

This writer will never forget the taxi driver in Luxor, Egypt who spent 8 hours trying to solve my botched travel arrangements by visiting every river ship on the waterfront until he found the one I was scheduled to board. He didn’t want my money for his efforts – he did it for the simple pleasure of helping someone out.

But travel isn’t immune to political events – far from it in fact – and this week’s madness south of the border has touched the industry.

One example comes in the form of Carnival Corp. leader Arnold Donald, who applauded his fellow CEOs who stepped down from Donald Trump’s business advisory groups in the wake of the horrors of Charlottesville and the President’s bewildering response.

"You have to applaud anyone who stands up against expressions of hatred and divisiveness," Donald said in a video interview on BNN. He went on to describe his youth in a segregated south with separate water fountains and bathrooms for people of colour.

“Society was constantly telling me I couldn’t and I was less than, but luckily I was surrounded by parents and family and others in the community who supported me and so many people before them who made sacrifices so I could have the opportunities I’ve had.”

Donald, and others like HAL President Orlando Ashford, are examples of the progress America has made to evolve from its painful past, progress now threatened by an irresponsible administration.

In another related incident this week, Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled a November booking for the conference of Canadian far-right group Rebel Media. (Yes, we have the ‘alt-right in the head’ types up here too). Some will claim this to be an infringement of free speech, but I believe most Canadians won’t shed a tear. Personally, I get seasick at the very thought of sharing a ship with ‘Rebel Commander’ Ezra Levant. 

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