We’ve Always Sailed Beyond Borders — And Why That Matters Today
A year ago, if you’d told me that encouraging people to travel the world was a “political statement,” I’d have been speechless. Exploring the world, encountering cultures, befriending people from other places — to me, that’s learning and growing. That’s life, that’s common sense. That’s the very best part of the business we’re in.
But what a year.
I’ll be thinking about that tonight, when my company debuts a new ad campaign, “Sail Beyond Borders,” after the Presidential debate. The ad shows you the beautiful world out there, and invites you aboard a Celebrity cruise to see it. Because that’s what travel ads do, right?
But the ads also address two topics that a year ago would have been utterly non-controversial: we don’t believe in building walls between people, and we don’t believe fear should hold anyone back from experiencing the world.
Political statements? I guess they are now. Even though they represent a view that I — and many others in the travel industry — have held for decades. We don’t divide, we connect; we don’t enclose, we expand. And the logic and the humanity of that approach is apparent to all of us at Celebrity Cruises every single day, because it enriches the lives of every single person involved in our business.
For starters, we employ men and women from more than 50 countries around the world. Every single Celebrity ship is an amazing world in miniature, as people from dozens of cultures come together as strangers and emerge as a unified team. I can tell you success stories featuring any nationality, race, culture, religion, ethnicity, gender or preference you can think of — and find those stories on every deck of every ship. I can introduce you to colleagues with up-from-nowhere stories of initiative and drive that have led to successful careers, happy families — and proud journeys to US citizenship.
And who are my colleagues interacting with? People from every country you can think of — the guests on our ships. And where are we taking them? Across every ocean, to ports on every continent.
The pure joy of making those connections has been part of my life since I was a girl in the port town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, being taught by my mom that there was a big world on the other side of that ocean, filled with all kinds of people that I ought to get to know.
I’ve spent my whole life thinking that way. Even earlier this year, when our annual President’s Cruise had just taken me and a ship full of our guests to the site of the Berlin Wall, I would have thought the issue of walls and division was a settled one. Standing up for diversity, fighting stereotypes and trying to make connections has been Celebrity’s philosophy for as long as we’ve set sail.
In this very unusual year, we chose to put those statements in our ads. Because we don’t believe that walls do anything but divide. And we do believe that you shouldn’t fear what is different — you should go see it. You shouldn’t draw back from those who are different — you should go meet them.
These are statements we’ve always believed. And we’ve never minded saying them out loud.
So we’re joining the conversation. You should, too.