in twelve of CLUB 44's fifteen cruise-tours,"
Sherrill and I are highly qualified to comment on
the globetrotting meanderings of this unique
Cornell class activity . . . We joined this
happy group on its second outing - the cruise-tour
to Alaska - and haven’t regretted a moment ever
since . . Yes, the two of us have one regret: we missed
taking the first boatride . . Here’s the how
and why of CLUB 44, the
class’ travel arm:
1991, Dotty and Art Kesten were invited by some Ft.
Worth friends to join them on a Cunard Princess cruise
of the Western Mediterranean - Morocco, the Canary
Islands, Gibraltar, etc. - and viewed a Cunard cruise
brochure provided by their local travel agent . .
had been to Morocco and southern Spain some years
before and begged off taking that particular voyage
with a group of their military friends. They were
intrigued, however, by an Eastern
Mediterranean Cunard cruise that was described
in the same Cunard brochure, one that cruised from
Venice to Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and the Greek Islands.
inquiry, the Kestens learned that if they could form
a minimum 10-member group, each group member would
be offered a substantial pre-cruise discount (25%)
in addition to the customary Cunard "early enrollment
bonus" of $500 per person. This reduced the member’s
total tab of the cruise package - with its then
free round-trip air option - to a most attractive
total cost, and Dotty and Art decided to take action
by creating "CLUB 44."
of our Cornell Class of '44 at the time, Dotty arbitrarily
added the "Classic Mediterranean
Cruise" as a 1991 Class of 1944 activity
(a non-Reunion year), and many of our classmates shortly
thereafter expressed their interest in joining our
newly-formed Class of ’44 tour group on its
initial May, 1991 cruise. . .
did his thing in 1991 and when our armed forces encountered
him in the Gulf, the U.S. contracted with Cunard to
lease the Princess vessel on which we were to sail
for six-months as a "Rest & Recreation Vessel"
for our in-country troops.
had to cancel our first CLUB 44 cruise, but gave each
of us a $ 1,000 "credit" against a future
Cunard cruise, and all of us then waited until 1992
for the cruise line to re-schedule the Princess in
the Eastern Mediterranean once again. By May, ’92,
most of the original "sign-ups" were still
interested; many because the $1,000 cancellation "credit"
would further reduce their travel costs.
a bit more promotion on Art’s part on the obvious
advantages of joining a qualifying group of classmates,
CLUB 44 wound up with an initial
tour group of 36 individuals . . The three
dozen turned out to be a very compatible and congenial
travel group - the "chemistry" was just
fine - and all wound up having a great time globetrotting
at a remarkably low cost! . .
Mediterranean behind us, the way had been set for
our future assemblies on the high seas and in many
far off places, and some 11 years later almost
700 of us did see a good part of this world,
globetrotting with CLUB 44 . . Many who enjoyed the
camaraderie of the outings brought along their non-Cornell
friends; others brought their children; still others
brought their significant others . .
. . That’s for sure! . . Almost a third of those
who have traveled with CLUB 44 have taken part in
three or more of the CLUB’s 15 cruise-tours,
a very solid indication
of the good times they have obviously enjoyed in traveling
in each other’s company.