I'm not a cruise fan.
In my experience ... The food is mediocre. Entertainment isn't memorable. And their sustainability efforts are disappointing. (admittedly I have only been on base-level cruises)
Nevertheless, every year our company heads south to board a ship headed to somewhere tropical. I've joked recently that once you join King of Pops full-time you'll spend more than 1% of your time on a cruise.
Each year we weigh the pros and cons of our annual nautical tradition. We accomplish exactly zero work, and when we get back nearly all attendees have a cruise hangover, regardless of their lifestyle choices.
Still, for me and my brother, it's an absolute no-brainer.
That's because the cruise has very little to do with the cruise itself. It's about the people. And as long as the majority of our folks want to go out of their way to spend time together not talking about work, we will do everything we can to make sure the $400 - $600 per person is available to make it happen.
I don't have kids yet, but when I see someone in their early 20s going out of their way to make a newer team member feel included my heart swells with pride.
When at 1:00 A.M. I see 20-ish co-workers in the back of the dining area laughing and playing a card game, I know it'll help us work better together in the middle of the summer when everything seems to be going wrong.
When a group from a different part of the company raucously cheer on their fellow worker who is struggling to get through a song on the Karaoke stage, just to make them feel loved, I know that their next encounter will be much warmer.
Our cruise tradition has been in place for eight years, and during that time we've taken hundreds of people with us. Each time when I walk off the boat (usually with a headache), I always feel closer to the company as a whole.
I love what we stand for and what we offer to our community, but there is nothing more fulfilling than providing a place that people can thrive, be appreciated and seen for exactly who they are.