Many people believe that travel is not just about adding stamps to ones passport but about making your stamp on the country you are visiting. Voluntourism is one way to achieve this. In 2011, Crystal Cruises debuted their “You Care. We Care” program, allowing their luxury cruise guests a way to connect with a destination by offering excursions with local organizations building goodwill and relationships.
“We feel privileged to offer our ‘You Care. We Care’ program. It is near and dear to the hearts of the Crystal Family and our guests by providing experiences that not only enrich the communities and organizations we visit, but also enables travelers to connect with destinations throughout the world in ways that are intimate and meaningful to them,” says John Stoll, Crystal’s vice president of land programs. “Whatever philanthropic activities speak to guests’ interests – whether its environmental and wildlife conservation or interacting with local citizens – Crystal is proud to offer opportunities for them to contribute.”
In 2019 they are continuing this tremendously popular program by unveiling more than two dozen complimentary voluntourism experiences on most Crystal Symphony and Serenity sailings, along with select itineries on the Crystal Esprit visiting the West Indies. The criteria for selecting the activities that are part of the experience on each “You Care. We Care.” adventure involve identifying those where participants can make an immediate positive impact. The organizations determine their greatest needs and then the Crystal team works closely with them on how they would like Crystal to be involved.
The contribution of guests and crew is that of time and care, with no financial obligations requested or required. Crystal also provides financial and other needed resources annually to many of the charities visited during “You Care. We Care.” adventures further benefiting the programs and the people they serve.
For 2019, Crystal guests and crew can contribute to communities around the world with the following “You Care. We Care.” voluntourism excursions including:
- Assisting at the San Francisco Food Bank, Clatsop Community Action Food Bank in Astoria, Oregon and Mustard Seed Food Bank in Victoria, British Columbia
- Playing games, reading, dancing and participating in an array of other activities with the elderly and children at the Granitos de Paz Foundation in Cartagena, Colombia
- Helping to feed the elderly at Mercy Kitchen in Belize
- Assisting with cleaning and caring for the animals at the Samui Animal Shelter in Koh Samui, Thailand
- Getting an up-close look at the wildlife at Territory Wildlife Park and joining the conservation team in maintaining the park’s botanical gardens in Darwin, Australia
- Participating in tree planting conservation efforts to shelter the yellow-eyed penguins of Dunedin, New Zealand
- Assisting with gardening and other household duties at Domus Christi Home for the Elderly in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Assisting with meal preparation or recreational activities at Smile of a Child in Cornith, Greece
- Helping prepare food and create ceramic artwork with the disabled at the Pio Monte della Misericordia in Sorrento, Italy
- Learning about the conservation of marine life and participating in the theoretical rescue of a dolphin at the Rehabilitation Center of Prat de Llobregat in Barcelona, Spain
- Assisting with the work at the Gallinas & Focas home for the mentally challenged, tending gardens and olive groves in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Assisting with groundskeeping at the historic Mount Stewart House & Gardens in Belfast, U.K.
- Planting trees at the Heidmork Natural Reserve in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Visiting the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in St. Peter Port, U.K.Crystal Voluntourism Adventures are recommended to be pre-reserved in advance.
Additionally, through its cruise donation program, Crystal supports organizations around the globe with their fundraising efforts. Some of the organizations that the company has supported in 2018 include the Susan G. Komen Foundation; The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; PAWS Humane Society of Broward County; Miami City Ballet; American Heart Association; Coast Guard Foundation; Special Olympics of Florida; Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra; TOKI Rapa Nui School of Music & Arts (Easter Island); Baptist Health; and Camillus House.