The cruise was organized by Vantage Deluxe World Travel, a Boston-based company.
In December, 114 survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, first responders and family members went on vacation together in France. The all-expenses-paid “Boston’s Heroes” cruise through French wine country helped continue the healing that started in the hours and weeks after the blasts, but it also created a sense of camaraderie and the chance to talk openly about what happened in Boston that day and some of the things that had been haunting them for months.
The cruise was organized by Vantage Deluxe World Travel, a Boston-based company owned by a man named Hank Lewis. Several months before the bombings, Lewis hosted Carlos Arredondo on a Vantage cruise for wounded American soldiers and the families of the fallen. On the day of the marathon, Arredondo was one one of the first responders on the scene in Boston, helping carrying victims to waiting ambulances amid the mayhem on Boylston Street. When Lewis and his wife, Tricia, saw him on television following the attacks, they wanted to do something. They felt a responsibility to the survivors, and especially their friend. From there, they set about making plan for the Boston Heroes cruise.
The cruise experience is chronicled in an article written by Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman, the Boston journalists who have written a book called “Boston Strong.” The soon-to-be-released book about the marathon bombings has also been optioned for a film.