Let me introduce myself: As Vice President of the Cruise Center, as well as being Scooter's husband, I've been very, VERY far in the background of the day to day operations of running our travel business. Mostly, my job is to carry the bags when we go on trips. I'm in an enviable position - receiving the benefits of my professional status in the travel industry, including professional credentials and all the travel perks that come with that, while at the same time avoiding the challenges of day-to-day operations that occupy Scooter's time and attention. The benefits over the years have filled my memory bank to overflowing of so many trips with family and friends to destinations all over the world on sea, land, and rivers.
Personally, travel has given me a deeper sense of the marvels of human creativity, the wonderment of the awe-inspiring majesty of natural beauty, the differences and commonalities of cultures, a deeper appreciation of our country and its uniqueness and my own resources of adaptability and curiosity to learn. For me, getting away has become an enriching way of life with my favorite traveling companion and I feel blessed beyond measure. When it comes to travel for me, there's nothing but upside.
But for Scooter there has been both - the upside and the downside. Travel for her is not a vacation - it's a business. Others, besides myself, take the vacation - you who have been her clients and customers over the years. In serving you she has confronted and overcome challenges beyond her control to continue to serve the traveling public: wars, recessions, terrorism, sick ships, erupting volcanoes and now COVID-19.
It's no secret that the travel industry has taken a big hit from our current coronavirus pandemic. And as a result, none of us are going farther away from home than our backyard or around the block, but unfortunately, we in the travel business cannot monetize those outings. So the future does not look promising, but as the Bible says: "This too shall pass." We share that hope and believe that once again we'll hit the road, book the trip, pack our bags and be on our way to a new adventure.
In planning for that eventuality, Scooter and I have been talking about the first trip we'll take when the world is up and running again and we get the green light to mix and mingle. We've enjoyed so many destinations all over the world on big ships and land tours, riverboats and bus groups, but I must admit that our preference now is for river cruises on smaller boats with fewer passengers, quick access to points of interest, no rough seas and ease of getting on and off. And the riverboat companies offer many opportunities which we have enjoyed on the Rhine, Danube, the Saône, the Seine, the Rhône, the Mekong, and even here in the states on a Mississippi River steamboat cruise. So where have we selected as a destination and itinerary?
One of our favorite countries in Europe, for many reasons, is Spain. Both Scooter and I have been there several times with each other and on our own. On one of our trips together, we entered the country through Portugal by way of Lisbon, Porto and then on to Salamanca by train. So for this upcoming trip, we want to enjoy both countries on the Douro River on an AMA Waterways vessel for a thirteen-night cruise and land tour with 3 nights in both Madrid and Lisbon to explore the many sites of these interesting cities. Our scheduled departure will be in the spring of 2021 in either April or May.
My question is: would you be interested in going with us? Without any commitment of any kind, if you are interested let Scooter know by phone, email or text. This will give us some idea of what the desire is for international travel among our former clients post coronavirus shutdowns.
I don't know about you, but after being cooped up for so long, sitting in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca on a warm spring evening surrounded by Spanish couples and families with children enjoying conviviality and a glass of sangria with entremeses and tapas with guitars playing in the background sounds awfully appealing to me. I'm ready to leave tomorrow! But, it'll have to wait till next spring. Let Scooter know if you're interested and we'll get you further information for your consideration.
V.P. (in name only)
The Cruise Center, Inc.
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Scooter Tessari, MCC, owns The Cruise Center, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and operates the website Tasteful Journeys devoted to enrichment vacations with a culinary accent and featuring cruises, tours, and custom designed vacation packages.