I arrived in Genoa on Friday for my fifth and final daily meal — an appetizer of early plane rides followed by a main course of relentless business appointments topped off with 100 to 150 emails for dessert. First we had lunch with an impressive delegation of local dignitaries including the Governor of the region (Liguria). Genoa is the company headquarters of our competitor Costa Cruises but Costa stopped using Genoa as a homeport for its ships, moving down the coast to Savona. It was nostalgic to be back here nearly 15 years after we were here doing due diligence on possibly buying Costa. Anyway, without Costa using their own “home” port, the local community is very interested in us building up our business here. I was curious to know about their view of their embattled Prime Minister Berlusconi and enjoyed the discussion.
Later in the day I found out to my great surprise that I was going to do a cover photo shoot for an Italian magazine named Gentleman. Oh no. It didn’t help when they showed me a photo of one of their team in the ridiculous pose they wanted me to assume for the cover photo – in shirt and tie sitting on a marine rope spool with an absurd oversized rain hat, an ersatz captain’s jacket draped over one shoulder and holding a sort of fishing pole like Poseidon’s trident. The photographer told me to smile like a sea wolf. Is there even such a thing as a sea wolf? Lupo di mare. I wouldn’t want to see that on a menu. The scene was so surreal that even having a black eye for the shoot made it barely more insane. Instead of America’s Next Top Model it was Italy’s Most Recent Boxing Failure Goes Fishing. Actually, my Italian colleagues are such lovely people that I survived this ordeal. And I’ll probably survive for a lot longer if the photographer loses the film.
Thank you to our country directors Robin, Roar, Belen, Tom and Lina and their teams for a week of true maximum impact notwithstanding the maximum impact to my face and ear just before the trip started. In the last 90 days I’ve visited our nine company offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. In every one of these places we have wonderful people who exude dedication to growing our business in their markets.