Sometimes the best way to get to know a destination is to delve into the community and learn about its greatest needs. Crystal Cruises is paving the way for its guests to intimately engage with the communities to which its ships travel by way of the newly expanded “You Care, We Care” voluntourism program.
The complimentary shore excursions are focused on helping communities in the areas of animal rescue, nature conservation, and disadvantaged youth, as well as disabled and underprivileged adults. This is an ongoing program first developed by Crystal Cruises in 2011, but three new opportunities exist for 2014.
WORKING WITH ANIMALS: Guests will help support operations at the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands. Volunteers can help out in the office, muck out horse stalls, or walk rescue dogs. This excursion is available on the August 1, 17, and 31 voyages.
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PROTECTING NATURE: Participants will plant trees to protect the volcanic land in Iceland’s Heidmork Nature Reserve, located in Reykjavík, from erosion. This excursion is available on the June 1, 6, and 13 cruises.
IMPROVING CHILD WELFARE: While in Takoradi, Ghana, Crystal’s guests will help out at Father’s Home Care Ministries. You might help construct a building or clean/improve a playground at a home and guidance center for disadvantaged children. This excursion is only available on the March 28 cruise.
In total, Crystal Cruises will help more than 15 communities throughout the world in 2014. Ports of note include Barcelona and Valencia, Spain; Bergen, Norway; Honolulu, Hawaii; Belfast, Ireland; Boston; Singapore; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Durban, South Africa; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Livorno, Italy; and Tallinn, Estonia.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com, Condé Nast Traveler, Cruise Critic, and other websites and magazines. Her latest book is Tom Petty: Rock ‘n’ Roll Guardian. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.