How Cruise Lines Give Back To Communities

Cruise lines’ effort to improve the experience of life at sea is ever-evolving. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen improvements to accessibility for disabled cruisers, expanded menus to cater to all diets, support of the arts with galleries and on-board concerts… the list goes on.

Cruise lines are renowned for serving their guests’ every need. But they also work to help everyone, not just their customers.

The philanthropic pursuits of cruise companies are varied and diverse, aimed at helping both the communities that cruise lines rely on for their itineraries, as well as those in need wherever they may be.

From donating food and helping hurricane-hit communities to supporting cancer research and volunteerism, here’s a look at some of the inspiring ways that cruise lines give back.

How Cruise Lines Are Helping During Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic and related business closures have caused a lot of economic and emotional strife around the country. Cruise lines have been hit especially hard since ships can’t sail right now.

Despite this uncertainty, cruise lines are stepping up to help out wherever they can.

Windstar Cruises recently donated fresh produce and dairy to Feeding America. The food went to help hungry people in need in the Miami area. A number of other cruise operators followed suit, feeding thousands of people from Spain to Barbados.

The MSC Group went even further. They converted a cruise ship into a hospital ship to provide additional beds to hard hit Italy.

Carnival Corporation has done the same, offering ships from many of its subsidiary cruise lines including Holland, Carnival, and Princess, to serve as hospital ships. This generous allocation of ships could provide up to 1,000 beds to cities in need.

The History of Cruise Lines Helping Hurricane Victims

After the devastation wreaked upon the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian in Florida in 2019, major cruise lines stepped forward to help with the recovery.

Disney Cruises donated $1 million to help islands rebuild and recover, and so did Royal Caribbean. Carnival, in partnership with a foundation, pitched in $2 million. All in all, cruise lines spent more than $4 million to help the most damaged islands get back on their feet.

After the hurricane moved past the Bahamas, it made its way to Florida. In response, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line knocked their prices down to just $69 per passenger for their “evacuation cruises.” This gave Floridians a safe and affordable way to escape the eye of the storm.

Back in 2017, when Hurricane Irma blew through the island of St. Thomas, Norwegian Cruise Line sent a ship to evacuate stranded travelers, helping them get home safely. Celebrity did the same, and matched corporate donations of up to a million dollars to help St. Thomas and other islands in the area rebuild.

How A Cruise Line Delivered Over $100,000 to Help North American Schools

In 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line launched their Giving Joy campaign to bring attention to the amazing work of teachers in the United States and Canada.

Over 40,000 teachers were nominated, and over a million people voted for the teachers they found the most inspiring.

The 30 teachers with the most votes were each given a free 7-day cruise for two. They were also invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to Seattle for an awards ceremony.

At that ceremony, three of the teachers’ schools were awarded cash donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000.

On top of all that, a number of Norwegian’s partners, like Pepsi and Samsung, donated even more to the top grand prize winner. That winner, teacher Nicole Conlisk from One World Middle School in the Bronx in New York City, took home over $100,000 for her school.

Cruise Lines Supporting Cancer Research, Environmentalism, and More

Almost every major cruise line operates a philanthropic foundation to support the communities they operate in.

These include:

Holland America, for example, runs their On Deck for a Cause program, which operates on-board 5k walks to raise money to support cancer research, children’s hospitals, the Girl Scouts, and more.

Holland America also works to raise money to support the needs of crew members — everything from local transportation at port and wire transfers back home to emergency assistance and international communication expenses.

Most of the cruise lines mentioned here also operate programs where non-profits and schools can request donations of cash and free cruise tickets.

Royal Caribbean offers free tickets to non-profits to help with fundraising. For example, an organization can use them in a raffle. And Disney gives free tickets to organizations who host or support family volunteer activities.

Looking Forward: A Return to Cruising

The availability of cruises is constantly changing as companies and governments react to the spread of the coronavirus.

The Cloudblue Travel team is closely tracking news of when and where our clients can cruise, and how to get the best deals. We’re also communicating with all the cruise lines we work with to determine the best path forward for our customers who’ve already booked cruises that have since been cancelled or postponed.

Our priority is to secure refunds or vouchers for future cruises, as well as bonuses like credits for on-board use.

We look forward to getting you back on the open seas with our generous cruise line partners as soon as possible.

Read our guide to everything you need to know about cruising during the coronavirus »

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