Cruise companies do a lot of good through their philanthropic programs

This is the time of year when most of us give some serious thought to doing good. We try to help others as best we can either through donations or actions.

The cruise lines also do a lot of good through their various philanthropic programs. My good friend, cruise writer Marcia Levin, compiled the following list of what various member lines of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Foundation (FCCA), do to help others:

• As one of South Florida’s largest employers, Carnival Cruise Lines believes being a member of a community means giving something back. As such, the company and its employees have supported a variety of charitable, philanthropic and arts-related organizations, primarily in the state of Florida, since Carnival’s inception in 1972.

This support is made through both the Carnival Foundation, which coordinates the company’s philanthropic efforts, as well as its volunteer service group, the “Friends Uniting Neighbors (F.U.N.) Team,” comprised of employees who work with local charities.

In the past five years alone, Carnival and its employees have contributed more than $30 million to many of South Florida’s leading charities, including the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Diabetes Research Institute, the Wellness Community, and the March of Dimes. Carnival also supports numerous organizations that benefit children, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Miami Children’s Museum, Safe Space, Florida Literacy Coalition, and the Children’s Home Society; and cultural organizations such as the New World Symphony, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Miami Art Museum, Miami Children’s Museum and many more.

• Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s top three charities are the United Way, Make-A-Wish of America and City Year. For all three of these organizations they provide in-kind resources: their employees volunteer, assisting the charity in various capacities; the company uses its ships for fundraising events, hosting Wish Children in a Wishes at Sea program; and it donates cruises on all three brands (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara) for charitable partners to auction.

• For the past 42 years, Norwegian Cruise Lines has been committed to delivering dream vacations and creating memories of a lifetime. NCL supports local charities through cruise donation programs. The company donates more than 100 cruises a year to organizations that have a broad, community-wide appeal in the areas of health and welfare, children’s issues, arts and culture and civic programs.

NCL also works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When a Make-a-Wish child chooses a cruise as their wish, NCL aids the Foundation in booking the family’s cruise and trying to make it an unforgettable experience. For example, one child loved to cook so the line set up a special opportunity for the child to assist an executive chef. The wish family then got to enjoy the special meal they prepared.

• The cast and crew of Disney Cruise Line support many charitable organizations that nurture the lives of children and enrich their environment. Outreach programs help children in the port communities Disney Cruise Line visits, as well as in Central Florida.

Crew members volunteer with children in Nassau and St. Thomas as a part of the Reading Together program. Volunteers have donated books, computers, school supplies and holiday gifts to children in the ports of call. The crew has also given their time cleaning up beaches and making very special visits to deserving children.

Other activities include participation in the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Add-A-Dollar program onboard both ships, as well as in Disney’s Environmentality Challenge, which encourages youth in the Cayman Islands to take an active part in protecting the environment.

Holland America Line has raised more than $1 million in less than two years through On Deck for the Cure. The company also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in cash sponsorships, reduced rate cruise donations and in-kind shipboard events to a broad range of charitable organizations internationally, nationally and in key ports. Through company-sponsored events, members of the Holland America Line family are involved with non-financial community programs such as Toys for Tots, the Union Gospel Mission, United Way, New Beginnings, Puget Sound Blood Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Lung Association, Ronald McDonald House and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In addition, Holland America Line’s innovative Ship to Shelter program – the first of its kind – collects shipboard items such as toiletries, cookware, dishes, televisions and mattresses and donates them to local charities. By partnering with local non-profit organizations such as relief agencies, missions and shelters, items that would otherwise be thrown away are shared with those in need.

Costa supports a series of initiatives and research projects by means of donations and in-kind, particularly for the sick and for people with disabilities. In 2006, €220,000 was set aside for these projects, excluding the value of the cruises offered as prizes and the cost of the events hosted on board.

Charitable work carried out during the year includes  work in the field of health and scientific research such as teen drug use, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, local charities in Genoa and a variety of Italian social and cultural programs. Costa also supports the Komen for a Cure foundation on a national level and Amigos for Kids in South Florida.

Costa supports the World Wildlife Foundation for the protection of three of the most endangered marine ecoregions in the world including areas of the Mediterranean Sea, the Greater Antilles and Northeastern Brazil.

• Charities MSC Cruises has contributed to this year include the International Golden Compass Award Dinner-Seafarer’s House, Kids in Distress, National Italian American Foundation, Camillus House and United Way, Hats Off 2 Kids-Pediatrics Leukemia, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Urban League of Broward County and a variety of charitable golf tourneys.

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