Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ten Commandments & One Suggestion

I sometimes have difficulty getting rid of paper as evidenced by my keeping a copy of “Ten Commandments for Travelers” since, according to the date on the paper, 1982.

Had it been written in calligraphy and framed, it may have made sense to keep it. Instead, this is a narrow paper “stuffer” that we use to put in ticket jackets of clients heading toward exotic (and not so exotic) destinations. Through the years it has moved between desk and file cabinet drawers with the intention of “someday using it again for something.” Today I decided that our blog is a great way to use and share it! For your enjoyment… and perhaps to keep in mind during your travels:

Ten Commandments for Travelers

1. Though shalt not expect to find all things precisely as they were at home, for though hast left home to find things different!

2. Though shalt not take anything too seriously for a carefree mind is the cornerstone of a good vacation.

3. Though shalt not let other travelers get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.

4. Though shalt not worry, for he that worrieth hath little joy.

5. Though shalt not judge all people of a country by one person with whom though hast had a problem.

6. Blessed are they who can wait and smile for they will enjoy themselves.

7. Though shalt do only somewhat as the natives do.

8. Though shalt carry the American Passport with thee at all times in a safe place, nor shall ye pack it in thy suitcase, for it is said that a man without a Passport is a man without a country.

9. Thou canst be welcome in every land. Treat thy hosts with respect and thou shalt be an honored guest.

10. Bless they travel agent for s/he worketh hard in thy behalf.

Now for the suggestion. “Use it or lose it.” If you have something old in your office or home that you have planned to “use someday” for a very long time, get rid of it. Trash it, recycle it, donate it or repurpose it. I walked that paper to the trashcan and dropped it in. It might only have been a small piece of paper, but sharing the quote and ditching the paper felt good!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bring Home the Memories Contest - Win a Free Digital Camcorder!

What is the best part of a vacation? The expectations beforehand? The actual experiences of the trip itself? Or is it the memories afterward? Whether it’s a family vacation, group trip, honeymoon or a girls’ getaway, it’s the memories that take that short time into the future. We enjoy photos, journals, videos and souvenirs to help keep those memories with us.

Our Girls’ Getaway Cruises brands, “Chicks at Sea” and “Eat, Pray, Love Cruises”, are sponsoring a contest called “Bring Home the Memories” with a grand prize of a Vivitar Digital Video Recorder 910 for one lucky winner to use for capturing many future memories with photos and movies. There will also be at least a half dozen prizes of fun items from cruise lines and Connie George Travel Associates.

Entering the contest is easy! You’ll receive one entry for every travel tip you submit to us via this blog, our Facebook page or Twitter.

Contest rules:

* Contest is open to anyone 18 years of age or over. Participants must reside in the U.S. and have a U.S. address to which prizes can be mailed.

* Entry is by submitting a travel tip. Travel tips can pertain (but are not limited) to cruising, flying, hotel/resort stays, safety, traveling with children, traveling with a disability or safety. Tips must be valid suggestions (i.e. no “Tie your laces after you put your sneakers on.”)

* You cannot submit the same tip more than once.

* Maximum of 10 tips per week (9/20-26/10, 9/27-10/4/10) per person, per home.

* Entrants agree to their tips possibly being included in future literature from Connie George Travel Associates.

* 3 Ways to enter:
  1. Twitter- Tweet your tip using the hashtag #CGTAELP
  2. Facebook- Visit us on Facebook at and “comment” on the wall post about the contest with your tip
  3. Blog- “Comment” back below on this blog with your tip

The winners will be selected between October 5-10, 2010 by award-winning travel columnist and accessible travel guru, Candy Harrington.

Winners will have 48 hours to respond with contact information that includes a U.S. postal address. If there’s no response within 48 hours, a replacement winner will be drawn.

Grand prize is a digital camcorder. Win a
Vivitar DVR 910. This great recorder will allow you to take still shots and videos to share with family and friends. Includes software which will even enable you to upload movies for YouTube! Additional prizes will also be provided.

Interested in a girls getaway cruise?

Click here to learn about our exciting opportunities.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don’t Let Cruising Sabotage Your Diet

I had a problem after my second cruise. I realized on my first cruise that I was addicted to cruising. I realized after my second one that I couldn’t afford to gain five pounds each time I went on one! Working with a newly devised plan, I managed to actually lose two pounds on the third cruise! Here’s how I did it:

Think about what you drink. A Pina Colada has over 600 calories. In comparison, a Cosmo is a slimming 150 calories. Substitute your Coke with a Diet Coke in your high 180 calorie “Cuba Libre” (Rum and Coke with Lime). Beer and wine beat out mixed drinks on the calorie count, but a light beer or wine spritzer are even better choices. One of many online sources to read further about calories in alcoholic drinks is on BNET

Terrific substitutions for sodas and alcoholic beverages are diet sodas and juice spritzers requested with your favorite juice mixed with seltzer water. Coffee, tea and unsweetened iced tea are all calorie- and cost-free. Of course, best of all is water. In addition to the tap water which is safe to drink, all ships offer bottled water for purchase.

Speaking of water, be sure that you do drink lots of it. Water will help fill you up so you’re less hungry and it will keep you from drinking more calories because of thirst. Drinking water will also help keep you hydrated which is especially important if you are cruising in a warm climate.

You’ve heard about the massive amounts of fantastic food that is available. It’s true. But that doesn’t mean that you have to eat it all. Cruise lines are now offering “healthy choices” on their menus which makes menu selection easy if you are food choice challenged.

See something yummy on the regular menu, but just reading the description of how it’s prepared starts raising your cholesterol? Don’t be shy! Simply ask that they prepare your meal without the sauce. There are lots of fish and chicken entrees throughout the week. Be sure to take advantage of all of the wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits throughout your vacation.

Don’ skip meals. It may sound like a silly suggestion given that there’s food available all of the time, but it’s easy to get off schedule when you’re on vacation. You may be busy doing something exciting or maybe busy with relaxing. Remember to eat small healthy snacks between meals.

Cruise ships have gyms and some of those gyms compete with (or beat!) many landside gyms. View this video to see the state-of-the-art gym available on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. You don’t have to do a traditional work-out to burn calories. You can jog on the deck or take a fitness class. On some ships, you can work off a dessert by shooting hoops, climbing a rock wall or going skating! Another simple option is to opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. With the size of many of today’s ships, that can allow you to fit in many short workouts!

I’m not saying someone who is trying to keep with a healthy diet shouldn’t enjoy treats you might not have in home, but like Rachel Ray says, “All things in moderation.” With so many foods, beverages and activities to enjoy, give consideration to your choices so you don’t come home to feeling guilt or added pounds!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grandparents Day Reflections--- Building Memories While it's Possible

National Grandparents Day is September 12. It always falls on the first Sunday following Labor Day. I had planned to write an article about multi-generational cruise vacations which have become so popular. I even have permission from a client to use their three generation family cruise photo for the blog.

But when I sat down to write this evening, I had a change of mind. (female prerogative! )  I promise to later write the previously planned blog. But today I’m going to instead tell you about my grandparents, “Nanny and Pop Pop Parkin” who passed away years ago. The sun pretty much rose and set on my grandparents as far as my brother, cousins and I were concerned.

Early in their marriage, my grandparents went to London and, when I was very young, they went to Mexico. I remember because they brought back a silver charm bracelet and a pair of maracas for me, all of which I still have. I was fascinated by these exotic gifts from a foreign country! A few years ago, I was amazed to find Nanny and Pop Pop’s on a 1938 ship’s passenger manifest from the s.s. Monarch of Bermuda on What a neat find that was among the many incredible family facts I found there!

Mexico was their last overseas trip. I never got the impression that Pop Pop was all that interested in travel. He was happy in his home, work, church and especially when his daughters and their families visited. Frankly, I think being in the Army stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1941 gave him his fill of foreign travel and I believe the international vacations after that were done out of love for my grandmother. But Nanny, well, I think she was a traveler at heart. She loved her home and family, but I can also picture her being in awe of the sites, sounds, smells and tastes of the world.

Pop Pop died in 1982. Nanny and I started talking about us traveling in the future. The look in her eyes would change for a few moments and I knew it was a few minutes’ reprieve from the sadness of her loss. Unfortunately we never got to fulfill those last travel dreams together because Nanny died from a broken heart only a few months after Pop Pop. I’m happy she had those travel dream diversions and know that I would have loved traveling with her. It’s my loss that I never got to have those adventures with her.

Traveling can be an amazing experience. Grab any opportunity you may have to do it with your grandparents or grandchildren. There may be lessons gained.  And memories that will last through generations.

Nanny and Pop Pop…. Thinking of you and loving you as much as ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Access Comes in Many Forms

July 26 was the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Our agency has an Access Travel Team which specializes in accessible cruising. Many conversations last week among our specialists and with colleagues who are involved with “access” in the travel industry were retrospective. Stories and memories that made us laugh, some that reminded us of times when we had wanted to bang our heads against walls and a few that were emotional. “Access” still isn’t perfect, but we’ve come a long way and can appreciate all that’s happened so far that has created possibilities for many more people to travel…. And to do so more safely, comfortably and enjoyably.

Clip from our interpreted commercial.

This week Connie George Travel Associates had a commercial on an internet radio station. Our commercial was about our experience of booking cruises for people who have various abilities. It was a great way to celebrate the anniversary of the ADA because of the show’s unique nature.

What made it unique is that this is the first time ever…. ever… that deaf people could enjoy a radio show focused on the deaf community.  While there have been some test pilots of a handful of broadcasts having been live-captioned such as the 2008 elections, there's never been a commitment near this level.  

Think about it. Deaf people have not been able to enjoy the radio. But Wednesday night, Toginet Radio on the internet debuted a new weekly show, “The Keith Wann Show … Cultural Bridges”, that can now be enjoyed by the deaf community worldwide. The show's subject matter is deaf culture-related and the show is live captioned during the broadcast so anyone with internet access can “read” the show as it’s taking place. Deaf people who miss the show can view an ASL interpreted version that’s posted the next day and hearing people who miss the show can later listen to a podcast. What a great way for deaf families to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA and also a wonderful way for hearing people to better understand deaf culture and to learn that we have more similarities than differences. How’s that for available and inclusive?

I’m not at all surprised that Keith has managed to come up with the first ever inclusive radio show. I met Keith back in 2006 when he was a workshop presenter and an entertainer for an ASL interpreter conference that our agency booked on a cruise.. I’ve never known anyone with as much creativity and energy as this guy. Keith is a coda (“children of deaf adults), comedian, actor, speaker, teacher, husband, father, entrepreneur and volunteer who comes up with innovative ways of truly bridging the deaf and hearing worlds.

The past 20 years has been a pretty wild and exciting ride for people with all types of ability levels. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 20 years will bring!

~ Connie

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seeing & Feeling the American Spirit This Weekend

I enjoyed a tour of American Cruise Line’s ship, American Spirit, over the weekend. She is nearing the end this season’s 7 night Philadelphia- Potomac River sailings from Philadelphia which stop at Havre de Grace, Chestertown, St. Michaels, Annapolis and St. Mary’s City in Maryland as well as Mount Vernon and Alexandria in Virginia. The stop in Alexandria enables people to also visit Washington, DC.

American Cruise Lines offers an opportunity to sail on one of the few U.S. registered cruise ships for what is referred to as “river ” and “coastal waterways” cruising. This is not traditional cruising in the way that most people consider a cruise to be. If you misinterpret what you think the experience is, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you know what to expect and this is the experience you’re looking for, you’ll quickly realize why this line has such a high repeat booking rate among a loyal clientele.

At over $6000 for a double cabin, you’ll find that the average guest is retired, financially comfortable, prefers a casual setting, enjoys a relaxing evening over splashy entertainment, loves American Heritage and wants to see multiple sites without changing hotels. While this isn’t the type of boat that Mark Twain would have sailed on, the quiet wonders of sailing to some of America’s history-filled port cities will have you think of him and a way of life as old as our country.

American Spirit offers open and comfortable public areas, and a feeling of Americana. Cabins are large by river boat standards and feature two twin beds which can convert to a double bed, a flat screen satellite TV w/DVD player, closet, dresser, desk and chair, hair dryer, large opening picture window and internet access. Bathrooms offer a little more space than most ship bathrooms and are nicely decorated. Accommodations remind me more of a floating B&B.

In fact, the entire ship’s atmosphere is somewhat like a B&B as you feel like a welcome guest into a home. The feeling is intimate as she holds only 100 guests. Most of the staff are young, but all are respectful and eager to please. The ship offers an unusual 1:4 ratio of crew members to guests which is much better than the industry norm. Crew and guests’ name lists are on a bulletin board to enable a quicker rapport among everyone.

One of the line’s strengths is the lecturers which speak about the local history, nature and culture. If weather permits, there is often a time of kite-flying off the ship while guests sip Bloody Marys. There is also a weekly Bingo game.

American Spirit along with American Glory, American Star and the new Independence sail in the waterways of eastern USA while the company’s only paddle wheeler, Queen of the West, sails in Washington and Oregon.

An American Cruise Lines cruise package includes your accommodations, prepared-to-order breakfast, lunch, dinner, limited beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks & juice), snacks, a daily cocktail hour prior to dinner, beer & wine at lunch & dinner, guest lecturers and internet access. Warm, fresh cookies are included in the mornings. Evenings offer complimentary ice cream sundaes and root beer floats along with the opportunity to purchase alcoholic drinks.

I would consider this ship to be friendly for slow-walkers, but not accessible for a full-time wheelchair user. Read more about American Spirit's accessibility here.  

Ships in the American Cruise Lines’ fleet are available for group bookings and also chartering for exclusive use for groups of 49-120 participants. Our agents would be happy to share more information with you regarding these ships as we assist you with your individual or group travel plans.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red, White & Blueberry

Happy Fourth of July! It’s that time of year when we get nostalgic and also when we think of “red, white and blue” in flags, clothing, décor and even food. It’s that last part that I’m thinking of as I write this.

Growing up in the ’60s and ‘70s, my family was super traditional in what we ate. I’m not sure how much was a sign of the times, part of being in the suburbs or how much was just my parents’ comfort zone.

I didn’t know that lettuce was available in any form other than iceberg. With the exception of Kaiser rolls now and then, all of our breads were in bags with “Stroehmann” stamped on them. The jelly in the fridge was always strawberry or grape. I remember it being a pretty big deal that we occasionally bought La Choy’s canned Chow Mein which was pretty adventurous for us!

But over the years I have learned to try and enjoy a much more vast variety of foods. English muffins make for great burger rolls, toasted bagels are among my favorite carbs, salads with nearly every type of lettuce imaginable, very little canned foods, lots of ethnic goodies and there’s more than one way to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I’ll try a lot, though a friend laughs at what she refers to as two of my food rules…. I don’t do veggies in jello and I can’t grasp the concept of fruit in a salad.

Now I prefer blueberry, raspberry and blackcurrant jam. Blueberry jam always reminds me of when I cruised to Bar Harbor. As Maine is the world’s largest producer of wild blueberries, a jar of locally made blueberry jam seemed like a good choice of souvenir to pick up for someone who enjoys trying local foods. See, blueberry and blackcurrants jams not only taste good to me, but they invoke memories of trips which is neat when I’m home having a PB&J sandwich made with one of them.

Get some free blueberry jam & jelly:

To give our clients a “taste" of your upcoming trip, we have teamed up with Bar Harbor Jam which is producing specially made gift boxes only for our clients which include their award-winning Wild Blueberry Pepper Jelly and their Wild Maine Blueberry Jam. When you book your Canada / New England cruise sailing this year with Connie George Travel Associates by July 30, tell our agent where you read about getting your free gift box and we will be sure you receive your free jam and jelly gift box (one box per cabin). Maybe you’ll also get hooked on blueberry jam!

Meanwhile, to help you celebrate the holiday, I want to share some terrfic free recipes for some great looking “red, white and blue” deserts I found on Food Network's website. Amaze your family and friends with this weekend with some red, white and blueberries. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Docs or No Docs, What’s Your Preference?

Two couples doing very different trips, but spending about the same amount for their long-awaited vacations.

For the first couple cruising on Princess Cruises, I explain “e-docs” which is short for “electronic travel documents.” “Go here, click there, print what you would like to take” and an explanation of the optional baggage tags which can be printed and then fake-laminated in clear shipping tape.

For the second couple traveling on a Trafalgar Tour, I just received a nice document package with vouchers, a hotel list, itinerary and other helpful information inside a zippered
pleather case.

When actually traveling, I’d rather be without documents. Less to carry and worry about is a plus. “Have passport, will travel” sounds like a darn good motto. And in this age of computers, we really shouldn’t need any more than that to check in for a flight, cruise, hotel or tour.

But I have to admit, that there’s something more “real”, more “tangible” about having something solid in my hands that has been given to me, something to hold and read. It’s a step closer to knowing that I’m really going to travel soon. An adventure around the corner that will include fun, memories to be made, possibly pampering or experiences. The documents feel like the key about to unlock the door.

Or maybe it’s that the smell of these document holders bring back memories of my old Barbie Doll cases and that whole world of make believe, mysteries unfolding, few major decisions and lots of fun. Maybe traveling is a bit like playing Barbie Dolls as a kid. Hey Lori and Dorothy….. wanna come out and play Barbies again?

So what’s your preference---- “real” travel documents or “eDocs”?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

They Say I Shouldn't Blog About this Cruise Special

I read a fair amount of marketing tips articles. Many of the ones about blogging stress using it to show your personality, professionalism and knowledge. “They” say not to use it to talk about specific prices, promotions and sales. But I wonder if “they” are always right?

People are often interested in the best “deal” so is it really bad if I write to tell you that we have an exclusive promotion with Holland America Line until this Monday, March 22? Is it wrong to tell you in a blog that you can pay a reduced deposit of only $100-300 per person? Is it a bad thing for me to mention here that we will be sure that you receive a shipboard
Coupon Value Booklet with a value of up to $340? One Coupon Value Booklet will be given to each person for up to two people in a cabin.

While I’m being so bad, let me share some details:

Reduced Deposits:

Cruises of 7 days or less - $100 p.p. deposit
Cruises of 7-9 days, CruiseTours of 10-14 days - $200 p.p. deposit
Cruises of 15 days or longer (excluding Grand Voyages) - $300 p.p. deposit

Cruise Value Booklets Include:

  • Complimentary La Therapie Age Zone Treatment: $20 Value - Greenhouse Spa & Salon

  • 20% Off Second Spa Treatment: $20 Value - Greenhouse Spa & Salon

  • Complimentary Fitness Class: $11 Value - Greenhouse Spa & Salon

  • Elemis Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap with Massage Treatment: $25 Value (while in port) - Greenhouse Spa & Salon

  • Complimentary Cigar: $10 Value

  • Complimentary Souvenir Glass: $3.95 Value

  • Save $5 on any of our Wine Club Collections: $5 Value

  • Save $10 on Five-Bottle Admiral’s Choice Wine Package: $10 Value

  • $2 Discount on Purchase of $20 Bingo Card: $2 Value

  • $5 Casino Match Play Certificate: $5 Value

  • Any Slot or Blackjack Tournament: Two Entries for Price of One: $20 Value

  • Internet Café 10 Complimentary Minutes: $7.50 Value

  • Holland America Line Logo Items: $10 Off

  • Free Raffle Ticket for Art Auction for a $500 Bid Credit: $25 Value

  • $5 Off Holland America Line Bathrobe: $5 Value

  • Insulated Coffee Mug: $9 Value

  • $2 Per Minute Discount on Stateroom Call: $10 Value

  • $10 Off Purchase of Second Telephone Calling Card: $10 Value

  • Complimentary Glass of House Champagne: $10.50 Value - Pinnacle Grill

  • Three-month Complimentary Subscription to Food & Wine magazine: 65% Savings - Culinary Arts Center

  • 10% Off Any Item in Online Store at 10% Savings (Based on estimated average purchase of $300)

  • Join Holland America Line Wine Club & Receive $25 Discount on Any Item In Online Store at $25 Value

  • 5 Free Prints: $2 Value

  • 10 % Off the Creation of Digital Media CD: $1.50 Value

  • Special $10 rate for 2-Year Subscription to Porthole Magazine: $49 Value

  • While I’m being such a renegade with thumbing my nose at those who tell me what not to write about, let me tell you one more neat promotion we have going on with Holland America. Book by this Friday, March 19 to cruise on Rotterdam roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska July 3 10 this summer, we’ll also include a $50 shipboard credit for your cabin!

    If you want to take advantage of these promotions, be sure to reach us right away at 610-532-0989, 888-532-0989 or

    For those article writers whom I normally respect and listen to…. as one of my sons would say… “My bad!”


    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Haiti Humanitarian Relief- From this Travel Agent's View

    By Vicki Thorp
    Travel Consultant & Lead Specialist on our Access Travel Team

    For those of you who have been thinking or praying for our sister and brother-in-law, missionaries in Haiti, here is a quick update. They are safe and had plenty of supplies (thankfully) purchased 2 weeks ago from Port-au-Prince and a grocery store that is no longer there. They are in northern Haiti, near Port-de-Paix (northwest). There is a small domestic airport in Cap-Haitien (which coincidentally is fairly close to Royal Caribbean’s private beach peninsula of Labadee). Deb and Bruce have a team of volunteer workers from the US who have been with them a couple of weeks and were scheduled to fly home from Port-au-Prince last week and today. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening, and I’ve assisted last week to notify connecting flights, etc. back in the US. There is work underway to have Missionary Flights International (MFI) from Florida fly into Cap-Haiten to bring supplies, etc. and to take the volunteers back to Florida. A small domestic airline flies from Cap-Haiten to Port-Au-Prince also, where American Airlines has flights to Miami (whenever they start those again). Hopefully MFI will be able to accomplish the above since it is completely unsafe to be in Port-au-Prince without protection where many local people are killing, beating and/or stealing the smallest bag or back pack out of desperation.

    Many of the people in other regions are arranging for relatives in Port-au-Prince to come and stay with them. This is a good idea but will place higher demands on those regions and people as well since there are limited supplies and money to care for massive extra people. Many of these people are already arriving with no belongings and some with injuries that are still untreated.

    Royal Caribbean and Celebrity plan to deliver relief supplies to Haiti via Labadee. Hopefully, this began on January 15 if they received official approval and safety information to allow them to resume this port of call. A press announcement is below. As you can see, they have a relief fund anyone can donate too, as well as a shipboard collection feature.

    My relatives, Deb and Bruce Robinson, work with CrossWorld, a missionary organization. It also collects donations and has some serious and heartbreaking photos on its website, And, of course, there are other organizations that are helping as well, i.e. Red Cross and numerous other foundations, churches, etc. Not all of these may be using funds the way they are intended so it is wise to check them out first.

    Bruce and Deb expect another team to arrive later this week, but this may be on hold as plans are revised and flights are limited. Safety is a primary concern. Bruce and Deb will remain at their home in Haiti for the timebeing and work on those plans. We hope and pray the violence does not expand into their part of the country. We are grateful that they, their home, workshop and equipment sustained no damage and are available for whatever role they will play. Bruce is an engineer by training and has been in Haiti more than 30 years. He indicates most construction cannot commence for months, partly because of continued shifting of the earth which isn’t good for pouring concrete and partly because of all the rubble that must be cleared away. Shelters of some type are urgently needed, and rain occurs frequently here. One of his projects is work to obtain supplies to create and place Quonset huts to shelter people and humanitarian workers or store furniture and equipment removed from buildings that were partly destroyed. These huts will be needed in many of the smaller towns and areas outside of Port-au-Prince as well to shelter newly arriving people. They are also seeking medical supplies for their closest hospital, which are now needed to treat arriving refugees also.

    Again, thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers not only for them and their work, but for the country as a whole and the relief workers and security forces. The news is heartbreaking, and the next few weeks and months are dangerous and critical for many more people.

    (Below: RCCL announcement)

    Royal Caribbean Sets Plan for Haiti Humanitarian Relief
    Published on: January 18, 2010

    Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), following up on measures announced by Royal Caribbean International President Adam Goldstein on Thursday, revealed plans to provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Port-Au-Prince.

    Royal Caribbean one of Haiti’s largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, said it will be partnering with charitable organizations – such as Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation and the Solano Foundation, the company’s foundation in Haiti, to provide additional assistance to the people of Haiti. Royal Caribbean will also be delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via their cruise ships.

    “The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery,” said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of RCCL. “Royal Caribbean wants to do its part to help out not only the general response, but also our hundreds of Haitian employees and their families through this disaster. In addition to our financial contribution, Royal Caribbean will continue to provide economic support through the continuous business we bring to Labadee.”

    Leslie Voltaire, special envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations, said: “Given the terrible economic and social challenges we now face in Haiti, we welcome the continuation of the positive economic benefits that the cruise ship calls to Labadee contribute to our country.”

    Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is making a call Jan. 15 at Labadee, Haiti, the company’s private island destination, to deliver supplies for Haitii. The supplies were loaded on the ship during its call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and include items such as rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water and canned goods. In addition, 100 percent of the company’s net revenue from Labadee will be contributed to the relief effort.

    In the next two weeks, the following ships are scheduled to call on Labadee with additional supplies: Navigator of the Seas on Monday, Jan. 18; Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday, Jan. 19; and Celebrity Solstice on Friday, Jan. 22. When the supplies arrive in Labadee, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a long time partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

    In addition to working with Food for the Poor to distribute relief supplies, guests sailing onboard Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises will be able to make a donation to Food for the Poor’s Haiti Relief Fund, via a charge to their onboard account. Guests who would like to contribute immediately can visit to make a donation. Royal Caribbean also plans to use a portion of the $1 million donation to augment the company’s Crew Relief Fund, which can be drawn on by any of the company’s more than 200 Haitian crew members for assistance, as well as to match employee contributions to the partner organizations. As the initial response effort gives way to the long-term recovery effort, Royal Caribbean said it will consider further support efforts. For more information, visit