By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Fourteen cruise lines teamed up with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to bring a merrier Christmas to underprivileged children in the Caribbean and Latin America. For the 15th year, The Holiday Gift Project treated underprivileged children with gifts delivered by crew members from the FCCA member cruise lines.
The participating FCCA member cruise lines were Aida Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Norwegian Cruise Line, P & O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Seabourn Cruise Line.
Underprivileged children in the following communities received holiday gifts through The Holiday Gift Project program:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Costa Maya, Mexico
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Samana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Underprivileged children from Caribbean and Latin American foster homes and other care institutions were invited onboard the participating cruise ships for a holiday party in their honor.
More than 7,000 children were expected to receive gifts through The Holiday Gift Project, but gifts are not all that was offered to help underpriviliged kids – in 2008, Captain Hempstead of Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas presented checks valued at $2,000 each to the Rainbow Children’s Home, Youth Empowerment Foundation Project, and the Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Centre in Tortla, B.V.I.
Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong can be reached at of FloridaCruiseAndTravelersMagazine.com