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New resort openings and cruise ship introductions unfailingly result in unexpected reactions from participating travel writers and broadcasters.

One of my most memorable emanated from the pre-Castro era inaugural of Havana’s Capri Hotel and Casino from the buttoned-down mind of Horace Sutton, arguably the most widely syndicated travel writer of the time.

Sutton’s lead: “Today I joined in the opening of Havana’s newest luxury resort-casino—the Capri. It was a race. A race to determine who would be plastered first: the hotel or the guests.”

While the remainder of his column was largely complimentary, it did accurately comment on a scenario hardly unique in new resort or cruise ship inaugurals with painters and other workmen completing finishing touches with guests as their audience.

Most seasoned travel journalists take such events in stride but, on occasion it takes considerable hand-holding by the property’s media representative to urge them not to let the negatives dominate the subsequent coverage.

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