WATERTOWN, Mass—Encouraged by the success of the Mediterranean Cruise which took place two years ago, the ARS Central Executive Board organized a second European cruise — this time to the Baltic countries — coinciding with the ARS Centenary.
The August 22 to Sept. 3 Cruise, set sail from Amsterdam on board the “Celebrity Constellation” with 360 participants consisting of ARS members and supporters from twenty different countries, present and past members of the Executive Board, accompanied by their spouses. The cruise ship excelled in size and luxurious accommodations.
The first port of visit was Waremunde, Germany, from where visits to Berlin and Rostock were made possible, thanks to the tours organized by the cruise ship.
The next scheduled stop was Stockholm, capital of Sweden, where the voyagers were met by local ARS members who had prepared a special welcoming program consisting of visits to local landmarks – such as the royal palace – as well as a luncheon, attended by the local parson, Father Daniel and noted community leaders.
After Stockholm, the cruise ship anchored at Helsinki, capital of Finland, to sail the next day to St. Petersburg, Russia, the high point of the scheduled cruise.
The group spent two days in this grand capital city built by Peter the Great, enjoying, among other things, a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” in the city’s ballet theatre.
The next stop was Estonia’s capital Tallinn, followed by the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, and return to Amsterdam, from where the participants of this memorable cruise returned to their countries.
To emphasize the Armenian aspect of the cruise, the ARS had organized a celebration of the Centennial, Armenian style festivities and parties, as well as an evening of Armenian songs. Also, in a gathering of ARS members on board from various countries, were discussed the concluding Centennial functions in Armenia and Artsakh.
The Centennial was celebrated on board with appropriate pomp and circumstance. The opening remarks at this function were delivered by Central Executive Board member Shakeh Basmajian, a film about the ARS was presented, followed by the message of the ARS Central Executive by Mayda Melkonian, one of its officers. The festivity continued with personal impressions shared with the audience by a young woman who had recently climbed to the summit of Mt. Ararat, while some of the voyagers participated in the artistic program on the piano, delivering recitations and monologues. Talented singer, Suzan Margarian of Armenia enchanted the audience with her songs. In high spirits, spontaneous donations were made to the ARS Centennial Fund during the banquet/dance as the 100th Anniversary cake was being cut.
“On the occasion of the unprecedented success of the second ARS Cruise,” stated Shakeh Basmajian, the ARS Central Executive Board member responsible for the Cruise, “first and foremost, I wish to thank all ARS members and executives, whose efforts made possible the participation of people from twenty different countries; I also thank all participants who merged the pleasurable with the productive. The income from this cruise will help the ARS in its endeavors across the Diaspora and the Homeland,” concluded Mrs. Basmajian, promising to get together at the next ARS Cruise.