Keeping in Touch With Cruise Friends During the Pandemic

Human nature is fascinating. If your cruise a lot, you discover it’s a small world. I’ve been fascinated on Cunard’s world cruises, there are people who take the same trip every year! They know each other in the context of the ship they sail. You might not be spending three or four months at sea each year, but you’ve made friends. How do you keep the connections alive when you are stuck on land because no ships are sailing?

  1. E-mails. That’s the obvious way. We have our file of “Cunard Friends” on Outlook. Every second Sunday we send each an e-mail detailing life in our part of the world. They return the favor. We send about 20 messages.
  2. Zoom calls. It’s part of your life too. These started as Zoom cocktails, but my clothing started getting tight. This Thursday is a good example: 1:00 PM is friends in Birmingham, England; 4:00 PM is Stratford Upon Avon; 8:30 PM is Beijing. Each call lasts about an hour, every week.
  3. Send a letter. Letter writing might seem like it’s out of style, but they have staying power. If you aren’t a writer, buy and send greeting cards. This should get a response. You are being thoughtful.
  4. Send gifts. One UK friend who we met on the Queen Mary 2 lives in a perfectly located studio apartment in London. It’s still a studio. Lockdowns are tiresome. The moment their lockdown ended in the Spring, we took her out for cocktails. Well, sort of. There’s a great restaurant at the base of her building. Charge card in hand, I called the restaurant, booked a table for her and a friend, paid a certain amount on our credit card and told them when they were going out for drinks. They were thrilled.
  5. Christmas cards. Even if you don’t send holiday cards, this is the year to start. Your Christmas letter will be like no other! Send your cruise friends cards this December. Mail them early if they live overseas. You should get some back in return.
  6. Birthday flowers. They aren’t as expensive as you might imagine. Find a florist in their town, call up and buy a bouquet to be delivered to their home. Interflora is a service that can do this online. Even during the height of the lockdown, they were making deliveries in London. They left the flowers on the doorstep, then called to alert them.
  7. Invite them over. This is for cruise friends who live within driving distance. While following the pandemic protocols, suggest meeting at an outdoor restaurant midway between your homes. You can catch up about past trips and plan your next one.
  8. Share photos. You’ve got great pictures of these friends. Why not share them? Everyone loves good pictures of themselves. Emphasis on the words “good pictures.”

Don’t get upset if you write and don’t hear back. Some people take awhile to get caught up.

Cover photo: Queen Victoria, flowers arrived, credit Bryce Sanders

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