Pembroke Pines, FL. – (February 1, 2005) – This year’s FCCA Holiday Gifts Project was a much-needed ray of sunshine. Through the FCCA Foundation for the Caribbean, over 5,000 under privileged children in 26 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, experienced the true spirit of the holidays. This was especially meaningful for those children from destinations hard hit from recent hurricanes.
The FCCA and its Member Lines, along with our destination partners carefully orchestrated this heart-warming annual event, now in its ninth year. The day was filled with excitement and anticipation as the children awaited the arrival Santa Claus. In most areas of the world, Santa arrives by sled, led by his eight tiny reindeer, but in the Caribbean, Santa arrives by cruise ship, led by his eight enthusiastic crew members! Mickey Mouse and his friends from Disney Cruise Line also joined in the festivities making this a day to remember. Children from all ages ranging from infants to teens were treated to holiday gifts selected specifically for their age group. Recipients of the holiday gifts include children from Orphanages, Homeless Shelters, Foster Homes, and special schools for children with physical and mental disabilities.
In its 11th year, the Foundation for the Caribbean continues to improve the lives of Caribbean citizens. The Foundation has impacted the lives of thousands providing over $2 million in funding to a number of organizations and causes.
Laura Puron, Tropical Tours, Mazatlan, Mexico expressed her heartfelt thanks: “The event was an unforgettable experience, the children were from 6 different institutions that really needed help. Santa Claus and the Carnival Pride crew were wonderful. The day was filled with smiles, dreams, tears of happiness and beautiful emotions that will be forever in our hearts. Thank you to everyone that made this dream come true on behalf of the Mazatlan community and 200 beautiful children with a big smile”.
Lori Schick, Training & Development Manager of Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium shares her experience: “On behalf of the Millennium, we would like to thank you for allowing us to be part of such a wonderful project. On a daily basis we are surrounded with the luxuries of a cruise ship, and can easily forget that there is a world beyond the piers we visit. At times, we take so much for granted, but thankfully we were brought back to reality by the realization that there are so many children out there that need our help. While we brought gifts to the children, the truth is that they provided us with even better presents, which was to see their smiles and to hear them laugh. And to know that maybe we helped make their Christmas special. Again, thank you for that, and we look forward to working with the FCCA again next year”.
A special thank you from Sharon Williams, Jamaica Tourist Board: “The aim of the Holiday Gift Project is to bring holiday cheer to needy children, and we have accomplished this by bringing them all together in one venue where they performed on stage, enjoyed refreshments and spent time with Santa. Once again this year’s gift project was a success, the children were so pleased you can see their little faces light up with excitement.”
The crew from the Golden Princess shared their thoughts: “Every once in a while we are offered the opportunity to give something back to those less fortunate than ourselves. One such occasion arose in St. Lucia when we had the opportunity to attend a Christmas even for the local children. We all felt very privileged to be a part of such a worthy event and to bring a smile to the children’s faces”.
Kisa Harris of U.S.V.I. Department of Tourism expresses her gratitude: “The Holiday Gift Project was a huge success. The children had a wonderful time with Santa and the crew of the MSC Opera. I am hoping St. Croix will be included in this program again next year.”
Hannah and the Carnival Conquest team relayed this message: “We would like to thank you for organizing this event, it really makes a difference to these children and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to give at Christmas time.”
A note from Emma Bolio of the Yucatan Tourism Board: “The children were all very excited expecting Santa’s arrival. He was great, he told them to study hard and stay in school and be good to their parents! The children sang and danced with crew-members and cartoon characters. For all of us here at the Yucatan Tourism Board, we look forward in participating next year in this wonderful project.” The success of the Holiday Gifts Project is due to the teamwork between the following member lines and destinations:
Carnival Cruise Lines
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Costa Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line
Holland America Line
San Juan, Puerto Rico
MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.
Norwegian Cruise Line
The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 18 Member Lines operating nearly 200 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and to develop bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors. For more information, visit F-CCA.com, the FCCA on Facebook, and @FCCAupdates on Twitter.