Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the eagerly awaited Armenian Heritage Cruise (AHC) set sail on January 14 from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on the Celebrity Reflection.
A diverse group of Armenians hailing from various parts of the world embarked on the seven-day adventure. The journey took them to the stunning destinations of the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico and finally, the enchanting island of Bimini, Bahamas.
Once the sun set and the stars came out, AHC chairman Steve Mesrobian extended a warm welcome to the guests, expressing pleasure in seeing Armenians come together for the milestone trip. Committee members Margo Kaftajian and Maria Tavitian outlined the activities planned for the duration of the journey.
The entertainment kicked off with performances by Kevork Artinian and Hooshere, who sang the Armenian national anthem, followed by Harout Bedrossian, Antic and DJ Hye Class, creating an impressive lineup. Guests danced throughout the night, enjoying the festivities.
This year, AHC was honored to have on board the Prelate of Canada Archbishop Papken Charian, who conducted the morning services.
While at sea, guests either attended numerous cultural presentations or lounged poolside, soaking in the gorgeous tropical weather. They engaged in a variety of Armenian activities, took advantage of the ship’s amenities, or simply indulged in relaxation.
Emmy award nominee Ani Hovannisian served as one of the cultural speakers, presenting her film “The Hidden Map,” after which she engaged with guests in a question and answer session. Director of the ARF Archives George Aghjayan offered his cultural presentation on family roots and advancements in Armenian genealogy, which led to another vibrant discussion. Finally, longtime member Angele Manoogian provided a comprehensive review of the humanitarian work the Armenian Relief Society accomplished throughout the year.
AHC committee member Kaftajian provided guidance with dance floor techniques for guests requiring some help with the right steps. Meanwhile, tavloo and bellots tournaments took place while the ship was sailing.
Mid-week, the committee unveiled the Armenian Heritage Cruise events for next year. Mesrobian outlined the itinerary and dates for the 2025 cruise, followed by details about the 2025 resort trip to Cancun.
“We’re excited to introduce this extraordinary double event roster for AHC 2025,” remarked AHC committee member Mary Andonian. “Our goal has always been to cultivate a feeling of togetherness and pride among the Armenian community, and these two occasions will offer an ideal opportunity for us to unite, engage and forge enduring bonds.”
The week concluded with a delightful outdoor entertainment session featuring all the performers under the starlit sky, followed by a heartfelt farewell party.