Voluntourism takes many forms. Some trips involve spending weeks or months immersed in an area helping with humanitarian, environmental or other activities. Other vacations include something as simple as donating school supplies, building materials or medical products to disadvantaged communities in need. Both do a world of good.
Interest in voluntourism has grown substantially over the last decade. People genuinely want to help. If you're a traveler who has a week of vacation for fun, R&R and giving back - a cruise might be your best option. A "voluncruise" gives vacationers the opportunity to enjoy exciting entertainment on the ship and in ports of call and spend some time helping others as well.
I have organized and led volunteer vacations on cruise ships for a number of years, both with my family and as part of my non-profit organization, Together for Good. This choice has worked well for philanthropic individuals and couples, families with teens who want to do community service, church groups, and those with limited vacation time who still want to make a difference.
If you're thinking this type of vacation might be a good choice for you, consider the Cruise4Haiti (www.cruise4haiti.com). Working with the two non-profit groups---Airline Ambassadors (www.airlineamb.org) and For Haiti With Love (forhaitiwithlove.org)---Cruise4Haiti will bring five pallets of supplies, including medical necessities and food, as well as monetary aid to the injured island nation.
With taglines of “Bring the Holidays to Haiti” and “Take a Cruise. Help Rebuild an Island”---the November 17 sailing from Miami on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas originated with Carrie Finley-Bajak from Cruise Holidays of Mission Viejo. The CruiseBuzz blogger then reached out to me and Rich Tucker, social media marketing manager for Travel Leaders Leisure Group and CruiseSource blogger. The three of us came up with the Cruise4Haiti concept.
Says Finley-Bajak: “My original goal was simple – help one child. If I can help one child have a better day because of a fund raiser, then I have succeeded. As a cruise expert, I am dedicating my resources and expertise to help Haiti relief efforts. I hope others will join me … Together we can have a far larger impact … The more people we have helping to be part of the solution, the more people we can serve.”
The Cruise4Haiti leaves Miami, Florida on November 14, 2010 and calls at St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Labadee, Haiti with three days at sea.
Cruise4Haiti participants will take part in activities during the ship's two days at sea to make cards, gifts and packages that will help to bring cheer and hope to children and families in Haiti. While in Haiti, Cruise4Haiti participants, along with leaders of Airline Ambassadors and For Haiti With Love, will personally deliver the donations in Labadee. In addition, Cruise4Haiti participants will also have an opportunity in San Juan to help bring some holiday cheer to disadvantaged children.
Right now, participation in the Cruise4Haiti group offers a discount on your Liberty of the Seas cruise vacation. Through July 7th, 2010, rates start at $549 per person for an inside cabin and $75 will go directly to Haiti relief efforts conducted by Airline Ambassadors and For Haiti With Love. In addition, fundraisers will be held across the country, and in Miami the night before the cruise, and the Cruise4Haiti website is also collecting donations.
For more information on Cruise4Haiti, visit the Cruise4Haiti website (www.cruise4haiti.com) or contact Carrie Finley-Bajak at CruiseBuzz (Cruise@CruiseBuzz.net, 888-203-3012) or CruiseDeals.com (www.cruisedeals.com, @cruisesource, 800-668-6414).