the Art of the Cruise
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”
I was first introduced to the “Art of the Cruise” as a teenager when I had the opportunity to join my parents for a week-long cruise in the Caribbean. Several years later, I sailed on another 7-day cruise with my parents and their friends. Unfortunately, on both occasions, motion sickness cast its unwelcome curse, and I spent 2 days in my cabin bed enjoying the horizontal view. The beginning and end of the cruises were fun and engaging, while the middle segue was humbling.
Fast forward 20 years later, and I had the opportunity to join Starboard Cruise Services to lead a talented Team empowered to provide best-in-class retail experiences onboard cruise ships. This was a fascinating next step in a 19-year career within LVMH Group. Starboard is based in Miami while operating across 10 different Cruise lines with ships sailing continuously around the world. The opportunity to be a part of an organization with thousands of team members across 26 diverse nationalities with 80 ships circling the globe, was intriguing.
I fell in love with retail at the start of my career and continue to feed this passion through continual growth. I have led a diverse blend of unique businesses across varied cultures with multiple layers of complexity and context. The opportunity at Starboard was another avenue to fuel this passion for growth. The scale of opportunity across Retail Operations, Merchandising, Marketing, Store Design, was amplified by the fact that ships constantly moved and changed geographies. This meant not only the neighborhood changed every 6 months, but the diversity of our guests and team as well. This was going to be a unique lesson in complexity and art.
I called my parents to share the exciting news which was followed by several moments of reverberating laughter. Did I really think a role where I would frequently sail on cruise ships was a good idea? To which I responded, yes, I thought it was an excellent idea. An opportunity to quench my thirst for a complex challenge with the added benefit of overcoming a lifelong obstacle. Or, worst case scenario, I would increase supply in my fashionable scopolamine patch. On a positive note, after three years, this unfortunate disturbance did subside and I persevered through many cruises and outgrew it. I was very pleased to share this news with my family.
The “Art of the Cruise” is a passion that continues to grow globally around the world. It is an affordable way to embrace a variety of cultural experiences and you can tailor the offer based on how you want to experience it. If you are adventurous and prefer a plethora of entertaining activities with Instagrammable “firsts”, we have a recommended Cruise line for you. If you prefer a serene experience with exclusive educational opportunities and personalized itineraries, we have this too. The importance of offering “experiences not things” and experiences based on how individuals choose to have them, will continue to impact all aspects of our daily lives.
It’s a privilege to be surrounded by a community of like-minded happy individuals. This was one of the first discoveries I had when I joined the Starboard Team. Everyone onboard a cruise ship is happy. Celebrating an engagement, wedding, anniversary, birthday, or families and friends relishing the opportunity to simply spend time together. I consider myself to be a positive person, however, being surrounded with up to 6000 additional happy people 24/7 on a ship is a life changing experience. You imagine a positively engaged community back home, and extending the boundary into every-day life.
Travel opens up our world: We embrace new cultures, hear diverse dialects, taste and smell exotic fare; It’s an experience that envelopes all of our senses. It is these discoveries that expand our contextual horizon and fuel our imagination. We become comfortable being uncomfortable and broaden our perspective. We become more understanding of our cultural differences and appreciative of our unexpected similarities. As we all evolve from our travel experiences we can one day imagine a world without borders.