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HAL Cruise Was Good for Mental, Physical Health

Sue Khoury sent us this note and photos from her recent cruise aboard Zuiderdam.

Dear Captain Turner and Zuiderdam Crew,

Please allow me to express our gratitude to you for the most wonderful vacation my Jim and I have ever had together. Our 10-day (24 Oct-3 Nov) cruise/adventure into the Panama Canal and to the lovely islands to its west was more than just a lifelong dream: it was the first time we have actually relaxed while away from work. Prior to our trip, we had both suffered the effects of chronic medical disorders, and while we didn’t realize it then, our symptoms were primarily triggered by work-related stress.

While we appreciate that HAL now offers cell service on board, my Blackberry was smart enough to recognize that it was out of range of its contracted service area. It shut off its own “radio” function, and we decided it was indeed smarter than we, so we locked both of them in our stateroom safe for the duration of the trip. Lo and behold, the next day we realized we felt GOOD … for the first time in many long months. That was the best gift we could ever have been given. “Teach a man to fish …” it is said, and it’s true: we have maintained our state of relaxation now that we’ve been back at work for two weeks!

We simply think back to the mornings we enjoyed early breakfasts on our verandah while you expertly guided us into port, or the delectable late-evening dinners followed by amazingly professional entertainment, or the enjoyably busy days spent learning new cultures, traditions and wonderfully warm people, and voilá, our breathing and pulse slows, our blood pressure drops, and the pain dissipates. More importantly, we enjoy each other more. This sort of reaction has turned us into HAL ambassadors extraordinaire!

Like another HABlog contributor, we visited the Emberá village of Purù , where we delighted in learning about that friendly, happy, colourful tribe. The first photo is of the village elder, whose deep, warm eyes were entrancing. He played a flute-like instrument, the only “melody” in the otherwise percussive ensemble. It was sweetly haunting. And while we have scores of pictures of playful, mindful, thoughtful children, I also favor this one of a lone young woman wistfully walking slowly by herself as the rest of her clan bid us farewell at the riverside. Surely, she’s in love, and the object of her affection had to have been close by, observing her elegant moment of reverie …

So, again: thank you, and may the fair winds always fill your sails!

Sue Khoury
Harvest, Alabama

An elder from the Emberá village of Purù.

An elder from the Emberá village of Purù.

A young village woman walking alone as her clan bids Zuiderdam farewell.

A young village woman walking alone as her clan bids Zuiderdam farewell.

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