March 19, 2020
Dear Friends and Valued Clients,
We hope you are safe and sound and following protocol to ride out the situation we are all facing at present.
The group that just finished the Mexican Riviera cruise had a very different experience in a positive way than what we are hearing in the news. It is important for me to pass on the information with intent to put what we experienced into practical use for all of you as we walk through this unknown and powerless territory.
Our group of 67 almost to a person wanted to stay onboard the Norwegian Joy. There were several reasons for this. The obvious one was the sense of community that developed from the recovery experiences within the group. The experiences were supported by the extraordinary measures the ship took to keep the vessels hygiene and cleanliness at incredibly high levels.
What we experienced is worthy of consideration in our own homes and for those of you who are in management positions or own businesses. The model used by Norwegian is worth putting into daily practice. Before boarding, all passengers had their temperatures taken and passports were examined to be sure that persons attempting to board the cruise had not traveled to countries known to have dangerous outbreaks. In all common areas staff members made 24/7 trips around the ship wiping down all railings, door handles and stairway banisters with disinfectant. Tables were wiped down promptly in public areas after use, and food in the buffets was served by employees wearing protective gloves. Norwegian ships had no indication of Corona Virus symptoms since the first reports of the illness and authorities came onboard upon our return to the Port of Los Angeles to be sure that there were no guests or staff that had symptoms. What would it be like if we had this type of screening, protocol and disinfecting practices at stores, gas stations, treatment centers, hospitals, etc.?
At In This Life, we are looking at our future just like everyone. We are suspending all planned group tours until June 1. This includes the Annual Greece Tour. We are assisting people who shop individual, family vacations and groups within this time frame in filing claims and/or changes in their plans to later dates as mandated by airlines, cruise lines and other travel providers.
Of course, we are following the AA World Services web site www.aa.org to keep up to date on the International Convention. As of today, the convention is still scheduled to proceed as planned. Those of you who have services through In This Life will be kept appraised of changes associated with the convention and policies regarding refunds should the convention be cancelled.
As far as our future groups, we are planning to begin again with our scheduled events, the Alaska cruise with Annie Lamott and Neal Allen on September 7, the Vancouver to Hawaii cruise on September 14, our Sober Safari departing for So. Africa in late October and our New Zealand/Australia in March 2021.
It is likely that prices will be extremely favorable for travel in the future as all travel providers will need to encourage travelers to come and enjoy their services. This was our experience with the outbreaks of SARS, MERS, and the Avian flu. As always, we offer price protection and will pass on the best value-added amenities associated with your travel experiences with us.
Currently we are working on the newly reduced rates for the New Zealand/Australia sailing. There are options within these rates that offer choices for base rates with no amenities or higher rates that include perks. We intend to re-price your bookings to one of the new choices offered. There will also be an option to keep the booking as it now stands for those of you booked on the generous shipboard credit promotion.
In compliance with our San Luis Obispo County mandate we are "staying in place" until we are cleared. Therefore, I will be working very limited hours in the office and remotely from home along with staff. Please allow a little extra time for return of phone calls.
Please be safe and stay connected with friends, family and program people. Replace isolation with integration. Make your prayers bigger and do the same with your higher power. And as always, travel to the grocery store-doctor-program meetings-any gatherings safely and TravelSober.