Monday, June 22, 2009

The Sojourn of the Seabourn Odyssey Pre-Inaugural Cruise - Part 2

Today is the big day! In about 4 hours I will be boarding the Seabourn Odyssey for the first time. But before that…
Last night we had a little walk around the Ca’Sagredo Hotel and the magnificent artwork and frescos that make this hotel very special. And then we came upon a noisy reception for a number of travel agents who are also going to be on the ship.

We then had drinks while sitting on the banks of the Grand Canal, chatting away, talking about Seabourn, life and basically whatever came to mind…and the group of travel agents came out, en masse, to take a water taxi somewhere for some other event.

Later, my wife and I took a short stroll to a wonderful, small, local restaurant called Vecia Cavana. While the locals normally dine there, last evening was the Italy vs. Brazil football match so much of Venice was in front of the television. (BTW, Italy lost 3-0.) Our meal was fantastic (I had smoked goose followed by a cuddle fish ink spaghetti with an excellent Barbara wine) as we sat out on the street and watched Venetian life go by. Children running away from their parents. A priest walking by. Families of three generations sitting down for dinner. It was a most enjoyable evening.

We were up early this morning, due to my wife’s jetlag, and we have “supervised” the stocking of the Rialto Market which is directly across from the hotel. Boats coming and going, crate after crate of fresh vegetables and fruits being offloaded. And the memory of that incredibly fresh and very peppery arugula that accompanied my smoked goose last evening.
And then it hit me: We don’t travel as travel agents, but rather as travelers. I never would have wanted to be a part of that cocktail reception or the group dinner that they most certainly were enjoying. Yes, they were enjoying themselves…but they were enjoying themselves in Venice; not enjoying Venice. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being critical; only obervational. There are different ways to travel and I just do it differently from most travel agents.  For me it is more about the "travel" and less about the "agent".

So as we board the Seabourn Odyssey later today, I will be part of a group that will be enjoying the ship, the cocktail parties and, of course, everything Seabourn. But I will still be a bit different: I will be looking at the Seabourn Odyssey as a destination to be enjoyed; not just enjoying myself on the Seabourn Odyssey.