Every week during the past year I’ve looked forward to reading the latest travel adventures on Princess Cruises’ blog “50 Essential Experiences.” Sadly, the year was up this week, but the final post is most appropriately entitled “The Ocean.” Written by Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Rai Caluori, the story shares his top place, one that is close to the hearts of many of us. In his story, he describes how he “ran away to sea” and discovered his passion for the ocean.
Caluori writes: “I leaned against the railing and watched as Pacific Princess glided away from picturesque Acapulco Bay. It was evening and the vastness of the horizon, the inky night sky and endless sapphire waters made me think, this must be what eternity looks like. Just imagine how I felt. At last, I had found my home and my calling.” His words give me chills.
Princess Cruises didn't merely create a blog because it was the thing to do. Theirs had a purpose and the goal was to create an ultimate travel bucket list compiled of personal stories told by Princess’ own destination experts and they invited readers to participate as well. Each week the blog featured a “Reader Essential Experience.” I'm extremely proud that my experience The Hidden Value of Travel: Amsterdam, The Netherlands was chosen by Princess to share in the early weeks. In fact it was almost an entire year ago in October 2010.
“Twelve months ago we set out to create not just a list of places, but instead a collection of experiences that we hoped would inspire others,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “We think the resulting list is remarkable not only for its scope of destinations, but also for the insights our authors shared about their lifelong memories. The amazing array of 50 stories touch 36 countries on six continents, and we’re so grateful to our employees who contributed them.”
Since it debuted in October 2010, the popular 50 Essential Experiences blog has received more than 2.6 million page views and more than 5,000 reader comments, making it one of the most popular blogs in the industry. The authors included a wide assortment of Princess employees from the president and CEO, and the commodore of the Princess fleet; to cruise directors and hotel general managers working onboard; to shoreside employees in areas including itinerary planning, hotel operations, shore excursions and sales. Travelers can now download a copy of the full list to use as inspiration for their own travel bucket planning.
In a special bit of serendipity that caps their year-long collection of inspiring travel stories, Princess has received a 2011 Gold Magellan Award from Travel Weekly magazine for its “50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List.” The award recognized their blog for its high standard of excellence within the travel industry.
Once again, we applaud Princess with not only a good read, but a valuable travel tool. We haven’t gotten word of their plans for the future, but hope to see their blog continue on the journey they began fifty weeks ago.