Cruising for conflict

For those of us fortunate enough to afford it, holiday making is one of life’s great pleasures. However exploring the different countries of the world can try the patience of even the most saintly of people.

Navigating the planet poses an obvious hazard depending on where you embark. For example I’m currently on a cruise liner travelling the various countries around the Aegean Sea.

The first question posed by my friends and family when they learned of where I’d be travelling was- “are you mad?” The second: “Are you sure?” You see, our cruise ship’s itinerary has us docking in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

With all of the current conflict in the region- both economic and humanitarian- I gave thought as to whether I had a death wish. Or at the very least a desire to have my peace of mind thoroughly shattered.

This made me think of the various world conflict situations and how they might influence those of us interested I travelling our big planet.

I talked to several people on board the Thompson Cruise ship, “The Spirit.” Vanessa Wilson, who works for Aberdeen Council as a Trading Standards Officer, said the she wasn’t deterred by any of the reported conflict areas the ship would be visiting. She said:

“I’ve never been bothered by the reports. I wouldn’t let that affect me. The only one that made me pause was Jerusalem, but even then I still wanted to go.”

Thomson Cruise removed their two day stay in Ashdod, Israel, from the itinerary after mounting concerns over the current mass shootings in the nearby Jerusalem Thompson’s reported that other cruise liners have also opted to remove Ashdod from their port lists, despite it still being declared a green safety zone.

The travel agency also released a statement to their passengers saying the company evaluated the likelihood of conflict and did not believe it pertinent to incur unnecessary risk. Conversationally, you may often hear the phrase, “Ah, yes, but there is conflict everywhere.”

Such an attitude is reflected on board. Ann, 56, and Lynn Collins, 68, both from Yorkshire, travel on cruise ships several times a year.

“You’ll never want to go back to another way of holiday-ing. As for the trouble they’ve got going on in Greece and Israel I value my adventures more than I value all the fear peddling you hear in the news these days.”

Lynn supports this view, putting her faith in the travel company. She said:

“Thompson’s takes good care of its passengers. I’m not going to stop living my life because of fights in other countries.”

Regardless of the reported conflicts and the migrant crisis, many people that I have come into contact with believe that putting our lives on hold out of fear is a disservice to these countries. Phil Smith, 52 from Portsmouth, said:

“I think the best way to help out with countries that are struggling is to visit, spend money and encourage other people to do the same.

“I don’t want to sit in my ivory tower telling Greece how to sort their money, I’ll spend what I want there and I’ll enjoy doing it, too.”

Regardless of you where you stand on these issues, it’s interesting to see that fear only goes so far. The biggest drive for those of us able to enjoy travelling is to enjoy the adventures and experiences as they come. The travel market will certainly survive and thrive in ebbs and flows, as it has always done.


By Corri Allan



Picture credit-Craig Hatfield

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