I think that some of the very best ideas the cruise lines ever come up with are the various programs they implement to assist in disaster-stricken or economically disadvantaged areas. While I love to read about a fantastic new itinerary or a noteworthy upgrade, nothing impacts me more than to see where these company’s hearts truly lie.
I blogged earlier this year about MSC’s partnership with UNICEF to help out in Brazil, (this is a wonderful program, if you haven’t read about it yet); and was equally pleased to see Crystal Cruises’ series of volunteerism options in their fall 2011 cruise line up.
Crystal’s “You Care, We Care” shore excursions (first introduced in January 2011) are a hands-on opportunity for guests (and the ship’s crew!) to help out in a variety of “in-need” settings, while experiencing a perspective on the region they might otherwise never get. Crystal is already well known for its high standards, and their principles are evident even here; the options they provide are carefully researched and prepared in advance, free to the traveler, and are designed to lend a hand to worthy causes all over the world.
This fall, Crystal has chosen to aid four organizations on five east coast Crystal Symphony voyages- take note of the cruise dates, and read on for Crystal’s basic overview:
- Cradles to Crayons (9/16 and 10/8—Boston): Prepare vital winter items for homeless/low-income children, from schoolbags to warm coats and shoes.
- Romero House (9/30—St. John, New Brunswick): Provide kitchen aid for a housing community that assists less-fortunate locals and resettling refugees.
- Feed Nova Scotia (10/20—Halifax): Help food bank preparation/distribution.
- Donkey Sanctuary at the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society (10/31—Antigua): Feed, clean, or walk the shelter’s stray donkeys, dogs and cats.
It seems that Crystal has taken care to provide options have a wide appeal for a variety of people; their volunteer projects this year have ranged from garden revitalization, to building restoration, to bonding with young burn victims at a rehabilitation center in Peru. In South Africa, they’ve worked at an underprivileged children’s village and in Sri Lanka, they’ve partnered with a charitable organization, and a water related building project.
I’ve mentioned the excursions that Crystal has going for September and October here, since that’s what’s on the immediate horizon, but it should be noted that every Crystal cruise in 2011 offers these “You Care, We Care” excursions. Be sure to check out what your itinerary has to offer as a volunteer excursion if you’re traveling on the line this year.