In a lovely e-mail sent to Cruise Critic, Joyce Adamidis, author of the captivating tell-all cruise tome "If I were not upon the sea (under the captain's table)", writes of life onboard Celebrity's Millennium in the wake of the tragic events in South Asia. The writer, who also happens to be the wife of the ship's captain, and who has lived on cruise ships for more than 30 years, offers us a touching and heartwarming behind-the-scenes look at life on Millennium as it is sailing the Caribbean.
Here's her letter:
"During this horrible experience that Asia is dealing with many people on board are devastated. I'm on the Millennium for the holidays and the news when received was heart wrenching.
"Immediately all our crew were advised and asked if family lived near or around any of the affected areas. Very fortunately, we haven't any crew that was directly involved with losing family. However, efforts immediately began to collect funds in order to be part of getting relief to those in dire need.
"Immediately our ship (and other Celebrity ships) set up on board a voluntary fund to be collected from both crew and guests that is given at the Guest Relations Desk. The entire proceeds will go directly to the most needed places.
"Our crew has been in prayer every day in hopes to find answers to what will help these people. We asked for silence on New Year's Day to pay our highest respects to those innocent victims who have to face an unimaginable ordeal. And for help in trying to foster some kind of comfort from, or understanding of, this disaster, which has literally impacted the entire world.
"There are stories of crew members on other ships that are trying to deal with the losses they are slowly learning about and we send our prayers and support to them. With the number of crew we have on board just our vessel alone, we are amazed, surprised and fortunate they were not personally impacted by this disaster.
"It does bring to mind that not just from this disastrous series of tragedies but in general, too, that crew members every day deal with some sort of news from home that makes them wish to be there, with their loved ones.
"This includes; death, flooding, fires, accidents and financial situations. In addition there are other occasions that they miss, for joyful reasons -- a birth, a baptism, an anniversary, a wedding and so much more. Even a good report card from one of their kids brings a personal ache not to be celebrating in person at home with them.
"Through all this, they continue to work on board giving the guests the best treatment. They supply a smile to the guest's holiday without passengers ever having a clue what might be developing or felt behind that smile. That's an amazing feat."
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Tsunami Impact: Report from Onboard Celebrity's Millennium
January 5, 2005