THE WEEKLY STANDARD cruise aboard Holland America's ms Veendam arrived in lovely Bermuda Tuesday, after a stirring departure Sunday from New York. We sailed the Hudson, passing first Ground Zero, and then the Statue of Liberty—reminders, in very different ways, of the power of the American experiment. Our fearless editor spoke for many when he noted the setting was a spectacular beginning to the cruise—a week filled with intellectual musings, election prognostications, and, of course, good cheer.
Some STANDARD staffers have yet to see many of the sights Bermuda has to offer, though. Late nights at the ship's various bars mean a number of writers and editors (especially, the more senior editors!) spent most of the day recovering in their cabins—one reportedly didn't even manage to go ashore! But it's hard to retire early when you're eagerly chatting with cruisers over cocktails into the morning hours.
We younger staffers didn't get much sympathy from our colleagues, though. We're told that on the early STANDARD cruises, the boss and other inspirational figures, like Andrew Ferguson and Claudia Anderson, could have stayed the night drinking and talking with cruisers—and still gotten up in the morning to give rousing addresses. The younger generation, we’re told, just doesn’t measure up.
We’re hearing reports of one staffer briefly managing to get off the boat, but spending her time relaxing in a friendly book shop rather than taking in the pastel colors of Hamilton, Bermuda's capital. Others had better stories to share over dinner. A woman traveling with her mother and sister explained that the trio took a cab around the city to explore thrift shops, a particular interest of the mother. The younger woman decided to have some fun at these stores instead of standing around bored. She waited near the till and paid for the purchases of almost everyone who came through those stores that day. The cashier, now and then, would see someone approach and tell the cruiser to walk away: She wanted to make sure the offerings went to those who really needed them.
This generous baby boomer reported to the table that she doesn't give a lot to charities. Most organizations can't help but have some overhead. She prefers to donate directly to those in need, people she meets or hears about in her own community. She does make a few exceptions, though: Wounded Warriors, for example, because itt's the type of organization that emphasizes direct and personalized help—the kind the woman offers wherever she goes.
Her stories reminds us of THE WEEKLY STANDARD staffers who have spent some time with like-minded organizations and the wounded warriors they assist: Stephen Hayes took a six-day bike ride with Ride 2 Recovery, and Matt Labash went fly-fishing with Warriors and Quiet Waters.
But Hayes and Labash, even after those trips, wouldn’t have to waste a day sleeping in after an exhausting evening at the bar.