The Third Armenian Relief Society (ARS) International Cruise took place from June 30 to July 14 with over 210 voyagers on board, including ARS members and other Armenian and non-Armenian supporters.
The cruise dropped anchor at various European ports, beginning with London, where the local ARS chapter organized a tour of the city and a special reception. There, voyagers and members of the local Armenian community had the chance to mingle, renewing or establishing new friendships.
The cruise set sail from the British port of Southampton, visiting the French coast of Provence, then Italy, including Florence and Rome, and sailing on to Corsica’s port city of Ajaccio and Seville in Spain. The cruise reached its summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where special tour buses took everyone to popular and historic sites of the city, followed by a visit to the Gulbenkian Foundation’s Museum. There, the visitors were welcomed by the assistant curator of the museum’s Armenian section. After being shown a brief documentary film on the life and works of Kalousd Gulbenkian, the cruise visitors toured the museum, accompanied by the curator, who not only answered all their questions as they viewed the exhibits, but expressed his appreciation for the keen interest shown by the ARS and its membership in the activities of the foundation and its programs.
After Lisbon, and a visit to the city of Vigo, the ship returned and anchored in Southampton. From there, the voyagers of the Third ARS International Cruise returned to their respective homes, carrying with them precious memories of unforgettable days spent in good company, at sea and ashore.
While at sea, the participants enjoyed four Armenian dances and banquets, enlivened by the music of Arthur Apgarian and his Band. In addition to the ARS Day celebration, as a cultural event, the participants had the opportunity to view a screening of Bared Maronian’s film, “Orphans of the Genocide.”
Many statements and e-mails of appreciation for the cruise keep arriving at the ARS Central Office. “We had a wonderful time on this cruise and most certainly we’ll take part in the next one,” stated one participant.
“Special thanks to those who organized our visit to the Gulbenkian Museum, bringing our enjoyment to its culmination,” said another.
“Everything was beautifully organized. This was my first time on an ARS Cruise; most assuredly it won’t be my last one,” said one.
“When is the next one?” asked another. “Please notify me as soon as it is planned.”
“We are grateful to all those who participated in our Third ARS Cruise,” stated former ARS Central Executive Board member and organizer of ARS Cruises, Shakeh Basmajian. “They combined the enjoyable with the beneficial by participating in this ARS program, knowing full well that the proceeds will be applied to the humanitarian projects of our Society. In the crisis situation of our communities, the ARS has a dire need of every penny to assist our compatriots in various regions in their immediate basic needs for survival.”
Over the coming months, the ARS will advertise the details of the Fourth ARS International Cruise. Look for them in upcoming articles.