This Week in Cruise: Cruise Lines Volunteer for Charity

canned food cruise shipThe holiday spirit was strong this week in cruise travel news as many major cruise lines took part in charitable events.

Carnival Cruise Line used more than 17,000 cans of food to build a "cruise ship" that was donated to New Orleans’ Second Harvest Food Bank at a New Orleans Saints game.

The 30-foot-long creation was the culmination of a Holiday Food & Fund drive involving New Orleans-area schools, sponsored by Carnival and the NFL franchise. The ship was built in consultation with the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and required more than 100 volunteers.

Both Carnival and the New Orleans Saints provided incentives to students in New Orleans-area schools to participate in the food drive by awarding classroom prizes including free pizza parties, Saints lithograph footballs and free cruises to schools who collected the most cans of food. The joint initiative will provide more than 75,000 meals for those in need in the greater New Orleans area.

Employees in the Seattle offices of Holland America Line, Seabourn and Princess Cruises also gave back this holiday season by donating time and money to Northwest Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding the hungry, and New Beginnings, which provides services to those affected by domestic abuse.

The cruise lines’ seventh annual community giving week ran December 7 through 11, with employees volunteering for shifts at Northwest Harvest’s Kent, Washington, distribution center. In addition, employees held an Adopt-a-Family drive through New Beginnings and collected wish-list and need-list items for families in the area. Employee-run fundraisers included bake sales, a taco bar lunch, sending Candy Grams, a silent auction and photos with Santa. 

More than 220 Holland America Line, Seabourn and Princess Cruises employees were joined by Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse as they helped process and prepare more than 41,620 pounds of food and 32,014 meals. Since 2008 more than 3,000 employees have volunteered at the Kent location. Northwest Harvest executives estimate that company employees have helped sort well over 260 tons (520,000 pounds) of food over the years. 

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