25 December 2019

A family visits the places of its past

TUI Cruises: How travel also makes very personal and emotional wishes come true

Fulfilling people’s wishes is certainly one of the noblest human activities – not just during the Christmas season. For people like Anja Silvia Kaiser, fulfilling wishes is part of her work. Anja, a resident of Nuremberg, is an excursion expert aboard TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 2. Every day, she strives to “create unforgettable moments” for the guests. Sometimes, however, creating such moments requires extraordinary commitment – as was the case on a recent cruise to Sicily.

Sicily already fascinated Goethe. “Without Sicily, Italy creates no image in the soul”, he romanticized in his report “Italian Journey”. “Here is the key to everything”, he wrote. The large Mediterranean island boasts a beautiful landscape, Mediterranean climate and a long, eventful history, during which Greeks and Romans as well as Normans and Arabs left their architectural testimonies. For a guest travelling aboard Mein Schiff 2, however, Sicily was far more than merely an attractive travel destination. “The passenger, a lady in her late 40s, took a Mediterranean cruise with her husband,” recalls Anja Silvia Kaiser. During the voyage, the couple had already booked several shore excursions through the excursion expert – and the closer the ship came to Sicily, the more it became apparent that the passenger wanted to book a very special arrangement. Many years ago, the German lady had lived in Sicily and had been married to a local, the father of her son. “At a previous excursion to Salerno, I had accompanied a group including the couple,” says Kaiser. “The lady told me how much she would want to show her new husband the places of her past, and that she would really love her son to join them as well.“

At very short notice and with the support of a local excursion agency, an entirely individual trip into the passenger’s past was organised. Her son actually flew to Catania for a day. The family jointly visited the church where he had been baptised and many other places evoking many memories for both mother and son. “Everything had been planned down to the last detail”, says Kaiser. “Before the day in Sicily, the couple were totally excited. Our female passenger in particular was getting more and more emotional as we were approaching that day. However, after that day, the couple were simply very happy and grateful. I believe they actually were the happiest couple I ever met during my entire voyage aboard Mein Schiff 2!“