Making a Difference

Gain a better understanding of the people and places you visit during your cruise by volunteering for a few hours ashore. Get involved by taking part in community activities and projects at your ports of call. Read on to find out how you can make a difference while cruising.

Voluntourism – where tourists become volunteers – is on the rise. Cruise lines and shore excursion companies don’t only focus on introducing you to the history, art, architecture, culture and activities at the ports you visit. Many excursions now include volunteer opportunities that give you a better understanding of the community while doing something worthwhile.

Many of these activities are in the Caribbean. Choose excursions in the "Give and get so much" collection, from our partner Shore Trips to

  • assist teachers in a classroom
  • read books with preschool children
  • help organize a resale store
  • prepare lunch at a seniors’ center
  • plant a garden
  • assist vets and staff at an animal care center

Our On Location partner in Jamaica can also organize volunteer opportunities at schools as well as homes for children and the elderly.

Programs like Holland America Line’s "Cruise with Purpose" anad Crystal Cruises’ "You Care, We Care" also give you various volunteer options at destinations around the globe. HAL’s first "Cruise with Purpose" excursion launched in 2009 in Juneau, Alaska. It lets you be a marine scientist for a day aboard a research vessel studying humpback whales. In 2011 Crystal introduced their voluntourism program with a wide range of opportunities around the world assisting with workplace training, cultural preservation, environmental conservation and many other worthwhile causes.

The most recent addition to cruise voluntourism is Carnival Corporation’s Fathom™, Impact Travel,
a new cruise line that wants you to "Travel deep™". Fathom™ offers cruises from Miami aboard the 704-passenger M/V Adonia to the Dominican Republic and Cuba where you will immerse yourself in the local culture, collaborate with local volunteers as well as enjoy excursions with "action, adventure and cultural contact".

  • At Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, help with English education for adults and children, assist at a water filtration plant, reforestation project, women’s chocolate cooperative or upgrade local homes with concrete floors.
  • At Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba you’ll interact with artists, musicians, business owners and families on pioneering cultural exchange voyages to Cuba.

Exciting news just released: Carnival has announced plans to expand its Fathom's Dominican Republic social impact excursions to its six cruise lines that call at Amber Cove. This includes Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, beginning this month.

So there are plenty of opportunities out there for those wanting to make a difference ashore while in port. Why not consider getting closer to the communities you visit during your next cruise?

Photo: Jamaica
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