Setting Sail ‘Armenian-Style’

Highlights from the 2019 Armenian Heritage Cruise

More than 1200 Armenians punched their tickets onboard this year’s Armenian Heritage Cruise (AHC).

Sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA), Armenian Heritage Cruise XXII sailed from Miami, Florida for a week-long voyage late last month. The trip was a welcomed relief from the shivering cold and snow that gripped the northern states. Ports of Call included Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Armenians came from all over the world: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, Uruguay, Sweden, Switzerland and of course, the United States. Each guest received an AHC tote bag as a gift from the ACAA and Travel Group International. For seven days, everyone found themselves listening to entertaining Armenian music, eating quality food, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones aboard a mega ship on the “Hye Seas.”

This year, we were honored to have on board Archbishop Khoren Toghramadjian, Prelate of Cypress, who performed Divine Liturgy every morning. For those guests who needed a little help on the dance floor, Margo Kaftajian taught traditional Armenian dances including the shourch bar, tamzara and haleh. Guests participated in backgammon and belote tournaments under the direction of Antranik Boudakian. A well-stocked AHC bookstore was open each day supplying all kinds of unique Armenian merchandise. There was also a special table set up for the Armenian Heritage Tour 2019 in Armenia and Karabakh on September 19-October 3 with Maro Assadourian, the ACAA liaison. Once the sun set and the stars came out, the fun didn’t stop. Harout Pamboukjian, Kevork Artinian and Khatchig Jingirian delivered non-stop entertainment. Comedian Vahe Berberian had the audience roaring with laughter!

The days at sea were spent attending cultural presentations or relaxing poolside under the tropical sun.

On the second day at sea, there was an Armenian Boardwalk Street Party with Khatchig Jingirian and an all-star Kef Band. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, compliments of AHC and Travel Group. There was also a prize for the best Armenian tri-color ensemble.

For the second time, AHC hosted a Continuing Medical Education (CME) Seminar for health care professionals and dentists. Registrants were able to attend specific medical classes to obtain ongoing accreditation under the auspices of Columbia University. The lectures were conducted by renowned authorities in health care who have made a major contribution to improving education and increasing the standards of health care in Armenia. The program featured Dr. Samuel S. Badalian MD, Dr. John P. Bilezikian MD and Dr. Lawrence V. Najarian MD.

There were also lectures and programs about relevant Armenian topics including:

  • “The Cosmic Ray Division in Armenia, Scientific Excellence on a Global Scale,” Anahid Yeremian
  • “Armenian Genealogy: Tracing Your Armenian Family Roots,” George Aghjayan
  • “Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide,” Dr. Taner Akcam
  • “Bloodless,” a documentary film about the 2018 peaceful revolution of Armenia; and “Titanic Love,” a documentary film about the Armenian survivors aboard the Titanic—Bared Maronian
  • “Armenians in Greece and the Mediterranean,” His Eminence Archbishop Khoren Toghramadjian from Cypress

This year’s Armenian Business Networking Program featured Valot Atakhanian, one of the founders of DAV Cigars, who led a presentation about the boutique cigar business and the challenges of licensing, importing and developing the business of a US corporation whose primary operations are based in the Dominican Republic.

Homenetmen and the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) both sponsored programs where members and friends from all over the world were invited. The Knights and Daughters of Vartan were also on board and highlighted their recent Veratats Hayrenik Mission III trip to Armenia in September 2018. There was also a presentation by Avak Sbarabed Dr. Gary Zamanigian and Avak Dirouhi Diana Tookmanian.

The Armenian Heritage Cruise is the only event in the world that brings Armenians together for a week of cultural, educational, religious and social experiences. The AHC welcomes all Armenian charitable organizations, providing activities on a national and international level for the betterment of the Armenian nation and people worldwide. The Armenian Heritage Cruise has become a respected and prestigious program working under the guidance of the Armenian Cultural Association of America, Inc., a registered US 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Through funding provided by the AHC, the organization supports Armenian research, cultural events and provides primary assistance to Armenian language news media.

The AHC is involved in many endeavors and works within this mission to assist and help the Armenian people in the Diaspora and the Armenian Republic. From all over the United States, dedicated individuals have volunteered to work on this event.

Every region of the United States, Canada, South America and Europe is represented. There is no other event in the world that brings together Armenians for seven full days of fellowship and camaraderie. We look forward to seeing you next year; we set sail for one week from Miami on January 12. Come enjoy fantastic programs and entertainment featuring comedian Kev Orkian from London, Sarina Cross, and Nersik and Arabo Ispiryan. For reservations and information about Armenian Heritage Cruise XXIII, contact Travel Group International at 866-447-0750.

PASSENGER FEEDBACK:

“This is the fourth time I am taking the Armenian Heritage Cruise and I have always had a fabulous time. Everywhere I turned they were speaking Armenian…it felt like I was in Armenia. The lectures were informative and the entertainment was phenomenal. I will definitely go again in the future”.

Lily Sarkissian
Mahwah, NJ

“For my birthday this year I planned a mother and daughter trip, to spend quality time with my mother as we now live in different cities. We decided to sail through the Caribbean with “Allure of the Seas” and the Armenian Heritage Cruise. We can honestly say this trip exceeded our expectations. This has truly been a heartwarming experience, as we encountered and reconnected with familiar faces, as well as built new friendships with Armenians from all over the world, leaving us with a lifetime of beautiful memories”.

Tina Tumberian
San Diego, CA

“This is my 16th time cruising with the Armenian Heritage Cruise and friends from Australia, Los Angeles, Boston and Canada. Hope to see everyone next year on Armenian Heritage Cruise 23”.

Avedis and Seta Najarian
Boston, MA

“We had a fabulous time on the beautiful Allure of the Seas. The Armenian Beach Party in Mexico was fun. The Armenian Heritage Cruise is an awesome way to reconnect with friends from all over the world. Love all the singers; however Harout Pamboukjian was the highlight of the cruise this year. There are so many things to do aboard the ship with all the activities. We are looking forward to next year’s cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas”.

Silva Demirjian
Northville, MI

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Barbara Haroutunian

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