We returned yesterday from Stampin’ Up!’s first-ever global incentive trip! I better quickly explain—it doesn’t mean we traveled the world, it means that all our incentive trip earners from around the world gathered together in one place to enjoy the same trip together.
And it was awesome! We took a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas (the biggest ship we’ve ever cruised on—it was huge!) and loved every minute of it. The weather was fabulous, and the people were even fabulous-er! (I know that’s not really a word. . . )
We had fun exploring the ship—there was something new to discover around every corner. The ship’s Central Park actually felt like you were walking through a park, and the Promenade Deck felt like walking through a small town. There were tons of places to eat, with lots of choices.
The entertainment was some of the best we’d ever seen as well; everything we saw was polished and professional and well done, and there were plenty of shows to choose from.
And the ship was only the beginning. As I mentioned, the people were definitely the highlight for me. We had almost 275 demonstrators earn and take the trip, with each of them bringing at least one guest. Many demonstrators brought more, so we had lots of families. All together, counting demonstrators and family and friends and staff, we had almost 800 people onboard, so pretty much wherever we went, there was a friendly face to visit with.
And that was definitely one of my favorite parts of this trip. Sterling and I didn’t take any excursions. Instead we settled down in places where we could talk with as many demonstrators as possible most of the time we were poolside.
We did disembark in Haiti and had lots of fun watching several demonstrators and guests enjoy the zipline excursion; we were in a convenient location where we also got to visit with many of those demonstrators as well.
I think visiting was one of the things everyone enjoyed. It was awesome to see demonstrators from North America and South Pacific and Europe all together in one place, sharing their enthusiasm for stamping. I watched people share ideas and tell stories and learn from each other, and it was so exciting to see that happen! Being together was definitely a different experience (especially for our demonstrators from South Pacific and Europe—their incentive trips are much smaller), but I think it was a great experience!
I also really enjoyed watching everyone come together for our service project—a walkathon around the ship’s track one morning. The track was crowded with orange T-shirts, and there was a great feeling of camaraderie as we worked together to raise money for Mission of Hope, an organization that builds houses in Haiti for displaced families. All together, everyone who walked raised more than $10,000, and that money was matched, so we donated more than $20,000, which is enough to build three houses! Woohoo!
We also gathered donations from Stampin’ Up! employees and demonstrators prior to the cruise. I didn’t get to see the final pile of boxes of supplies, but I talked to the representatives from Mission of Hope, and they were so touched and grateful—I love that we include service projects as part of these incentive trips!
All in all, I’d say it was one of the best incentive trips yet! And as I talked with others, I think most would agree. It seemed more relaxing than normal (maybe because we had an extra day at sea) with so much to do and see and eat—just a wonderful experience. It’s always fun to spend a little time with our children as well; we missed Jason and Sage and Shanna and Jared, who couldn't make it!
As the cruise ended, many demonstrators mentioned that they hoped to have another global incentive trip soon. I honestly don’t know what’s been planned past next year, but I know I enjoyed it too. So while I can’t make any promises, I can certainly make recommendations. . . .
Thanks to all who earned the cruise, and special thanks to all who made it happen! Our Special Events staff is truly outstanding—they never cease to amaze me. I am blessed and humbled to work alongside amazing demonstrators and amazing Stampin’ Up! employees! Thanks again!