We’ve all heard horror stories of cruise lines that have refused to help their passengers in times of need. As maritime attorneys, the lawyers at our firm have helped victims of cruise accidents, illnesses and crimes obtain the compensation they deserve when the lines they were traveling on refused to offer assistance. It isn’t every day that a cruise company will try to offer assistance to passengers who get hurt because of the line’s negligence, much less offer help to those who are less fortunate. But now, one cruise line is doing its part to help those in need and is working hard to spread holiday cheer.
The crew members of the Emerald Princess, a Princess Cruises ship, distributed gifts for over 100 children last week on behalf of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). The children, ages two through 12, gathered at the Public Service Union on December 13 and received their gifts as part of a special FCCA Christmas Holiday Gift Program. Under the program, an island in the Caribbean is chosen each year where a cruise ship’s crew members will pass out gifts to underprivileged children.
According to Martha Fagan, a representative of Child Fund Caribbean, her organization, along with the Discover Dominica Authority and the FCCA, have been working closely with the Emerald Princess to ensure that the event would run smoothly. The organizations also ensure that each child participating is recognized individually. The goal is to help promote health and education for youths. This year, the Dominican Republic was chosen and Emerald Princess crew members dressed up in holiday garb, with one crew member dressing up as Santa to pass out gifts for the children, while others helped with preparations.
From our end, it’s nice to see a cruise line actually giving back to the community without any benefit on their end. Dominican Republic’s Minister for Tourism, Ian Douglas, agrees.
According to Mr. Douglas, the cruise industry is about more than just making a profit or providing a source of entertainment. It’s also about providing for those who are less fortunate, especially those who reside in the islands that ships frequently visit. He adds that it’s precisely these “little gestures” that improve relationships between cruise lines and their destination ports.
“We want, we advocate and we encourage more of those types of gestures because although it may look simple to you, bringing the Christmas cheer to so many children here in Dominica, [but it] really strengthens the bond of friendship that exists [between] all our destinations in the Caribbean and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association,” added Mr. Douglas.
Mr. Douglas went on to talk about how the cruise industry benefits not only travelers, the companies themselves or the governments of the ports that are visited, it also contributes to everyone who lives in the nations that are frequented. The tourism industry provides important resources for small countries that rely heavily on foreigners for capital. Many of these island nations draw their main source of profit from cruise tourism, and when cruise lines decide to raise prices and fees, or cancel port calls in general, it hurts the countries they are visiting in more ways than one.
Vice versa, the residents of a nation that cruise lines call on also play a role in ensuring a passenger’s visit is unforgettable. Children grow up to become adults who may either become contributing members of society, or may become the very criminals cruise lines warn travelers about when docking in island nations. It’s important to instill a sense of hope and positivity in young children’s’ lives and that’s exactly what the organizations are trying to accomplish.