Only 4 cabins left for September British Isles cruise

Mary and I arrived in Israel last night. For the next 11 days we’ll serve on the leadership team for Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living trip. What a joy and privilege. We love to travel.

In September, I’m hosting a 16-day odyssey to the British Isles. Aboard the 5-star Regal Princess ship, we’ll circumnavigate the United Kingdom, visiting England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and also Paris. It’s limited to 40 guests; only four cabins remain.

Here’s the brochure. If interested please email me soon ([email protected]).

I’ll close with four reasons I’m a huge advocate of cruising.

Cruising is a win-win scenario

I like situations in which everyone wins. The opposite is a zero-sum situation in which someone must lose for someone else to win (ex. football, chess). Cruising is a win-win scenario between the company and the customer. When I’m on a cruise ship I often think, “How in the world are they providing this level of luxury service for the price I paid? Free meals and drinks, nightly entertainment, luxury environment, transportation to incredible places.” But the cruise company is making money or they wouldn’t be in business, and I’m a more than satisfied customer. We’re both delighted.

Cruising is the best value in traveling

Recently, I was on a 14-day cruise that ended in Rome. We stayed an extra two days in Rome. As soon we stepped off the boat we were no longer in the all-inclusive bubble that cruises offer. Our taxi from the port to the center of Rome was $140, lunch was $60, dinner was $100, our hotel costs $300 per night. The two days on land costs 1/3 of what our entire 14 day cruise cost.

Cruising is convenient

The ship transfers you from one port of call to the next—during the night—which saves time and money We went to sleep in Palma Mallorca, Spain and woke up in Toulon, France. The next morning we were in Florence, Italy. It would have taken days to travel from one country to another via ground transportation, but when cruising, the ship travels while you sleep. On the fall trip to the British Isles we’ll visit London, Portland, St. Peter Port, Cork, Belfast, Glasgow, Invergordon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Paris without ever having to fly or drive from one destination to another.

Another convenience is not having to move between different hotels, constantly packing and repacking. On the fall trip you’ll unpack your suitcase the first day on the ship and not bother with it again for twelve days. 

Cruising is a microcosm of how life should work

Cruise ships are the best run organizations on the planet. 

      1. Everything is on time—if the ship is scheduled to dock at 7:10 a.m., at 7:10 a.m. you’ll feel a gentle bump when the ship contacts the pier. If dinner starts at 6:30, the doors open at 6:28 and you’re seated by 6:30.
      2. All employees are efficient and effective, work with a good attitude, and enjoy what they do. 
      3. Every aspect of the ship is well organized: meals, shops, shore excursions, communication…it runs like a Swiss watch.
      4. The ship is immaculate. Each cabin is cleaned two times a day and common areas are constantly cleaned. 
      5. Safety is prioritized. Processes are in place that keep you safe and secure. 

I hope you’ll join me in September. (BTW, currently, there are no Covid restrictions for travel.)





When you make a mistake, if you admit it and make full restitution, your relationship with the other party can be better than it was before the incident

At the end of the 2022 Travel with Friends trip, we were scheduled to fly Iberia Airlines from Rome to Madrid, change planes and fly from Madrid to Dallas. Iberia’s plane leaving Rome was an hour and a half late so we missed our connection which was the only daily flight that would get us to Dallas. 

We were disappointed, frustrated, and tired. I thought of creating a don’ website. But, Iberia’s staff was apologetic, empathetic, and worked hard to get all 25 of us good seats on the next day’s flight. 

They were obliged to provide housing for the layover. I was expecting a simple Motel 6-type hotel, but they put us in a lovely four-star hotel, gave us vouchers for a nice dinner and breakfast, and paid for our transfers from the airport to the hotel. Our thinking went from “ugh, we missed our flight” to “wow, we get to spend the night in Madrid.”

Because of Iberia’s good response to the bad situation, that they had created, I thought more highly of them after the incident than I had before. I thought of starting an  website.

This principle also works in human relationships. When you offend someone, sincerely apologize, make restitution, and try not to do it again, and the relationship may become stronger than it was before.

Life is complicated, and humans and organizations make mistakes. That’s inevitable and even acceptable. How we handle our mistakes makes all the difference.

When was the last time you made a mistake that adversely affected other people? How did you handle the situation? Did your response improve the relationship? 

Slow down and notice the staggering beauty that surrounds you

Plus, a must-read article – How Do You Serve A Friend in Despair?

In a banal setting and at an inconvenient time, would people pause to observe transcendent beauty?

This is the question The Washington Post sought to answer when it commissioned Joshua Bell, one of the foremost violin players of our generation, to play in a Washington subway station during morning rush hour.

Dressed in a nondescript manner—jeans, T-shirt, and baseball cap—Bell opened up his case, took out his violin – called the Gibson ex Huberman, handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari—and began to play magnificent music. He started with “Chaconne” from Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor. Some have called it the greatest piece of music ever written; others consider it one of the greatest achievements in history. 

For 45 minutes one of the greatest living musicians, playing one of the greatest instruments ever made, played some of the greatest music ever written. 

Did anyone stop to listen? It was all videotaped.

Eleven hundred people walked by; seven stopped to listen; 27 threw money into the open case for a total of $32. The night before, Bell had sold out Boston’s Symphony Hall where the cheapest seat goes for $100. He regularly earns $1,000 per minute for concerts.

Know this: We are always surrounded by transcendent beauty. We just don’t notice it. We’re too busy and distracted.

On a regular basis, have a Leonardo da Vinci Moment. Da Vinci, the great Renaissance artist, encouraged people to pause during the day and absorb the moment through all five senses: What do you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste? Don’t think about the past or the future; enjoy the now. After you’ve taken deeply of the moment add to the experience by reciting several things for which you are grateful: the joy of being alive, friendships, beauty, a cup of coffee.

If we don’t slow down and “hear the music” our lives will become tedious, mundane, and monotonous. But if we take time for these moments (and they don’t take a lot of time), they will accumulate and deeply benefit our lives.

A must-read article by David Brooks – How Do You Serve A Friend in Despair?  Most of us know of a family member or friend who suffers from major depression. I do. And I’ve always struggled with how to help them. In this article, published February 12, 2023 in the New York Times, David Brooks presents the most succinct, insightful reflections I’ve ever seen on this topic. 


Don’t worry about low-probability events (or, don’t worry at all)

My eight-year-old grandson worries about being struck by lightning. I try to assuage his fear by sharing facts and expounding on probability theory:

      • According to the CDC, roughly 40 million lightning bolts touch down in the country every year—with the odds of being struck less than 1 in a million.
      • Less than 250 people are injured by lightning every year, according to the National Weather Service. And only about 10% of those people actually die as a result.
      • Among those who are hit, about 90% survive the ordeal, the CDC says. In the U.S. there were only 444 deaths from lightning strikes from 2006 through 2021.

But facts don’t seem to assuage his fears. When someone is emotionally torqued, logic and reasoning usually don’t often bring relief, at least not initially. 

I’m confident that Benjamin will grow out of this fear. 

But as adults, it’s helpful if we can self-regulate our fears by considering probability.

For instance, some people are afraid of flying, though statistics confirm that a person’s chances of dying while in a car are much higher. A Harvard University study found that the odds of a plane crashing are 1 in 1.2 million. Even more reassuring, the chances of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. Compare that with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that 38,824 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2020 (0.012%).

But what about causes of injury and death that are statistically probable? For instance 1 in 6 people die of heart disease (16.67%). Well, we still don’t need to worry because worrying doesn’t help. But we can take steps to lessen the probability of being impacted. That’s why I have a cardiac exam twice a year and take Corvedilol for cardio-myopia. I should adopt a more heart-healthy diet (notice I wrote I should, not I have; that’s a topic for another post).

So don’t worry about low-probability events or high-probability events. Philippians 4:6 teaches us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” So let’s do that.