Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox
Cruise News
Home > Cruise News Archive > Updated: Cruise Lines Detail Tsunami Relief Efforts
Date Published: January 4, 2005
Latest Cruise News Headlines
Updated: Cruise Lines Detail Tsunami Relief Efforts
Updated: January 21 -- The devastating tragedy of last week's earthquake and subsequent tsunamis has, no question, been felt around the world. For many cruise passengers who've traveled with ship crew members who hail from South Asia -- one of the cruise industry's most significant regions for onboard staffers -- emotions about the events may be even more acute. "Passengers often make a connection onboard," says Carnival Cruise Lines' Jennifer de la Cruz. "It makes the tragedy much more personal."

The region of South Asia is so important to the cruise industry that some lines, such as Costa and Holland America, have even established major hotel schools in places like Jakarta.

Cruise Critic has received numerous e-mails from community members with questions about the impact of the tragedies on South Asian crew and their families. In our line-by-line round-up, which appears below, we address the major issues, such as:

Has the tragedy struck many South Asian crew members on various lines?

What are cruise lines doing to provide support to affected crew?

Is there a way for passengers to make donations through cruise lines?

Are cruise lines themselves making significant contributions to the relief and recovery?

Over the past few days, Cruise Critic has been surveying all major cruise lines and many smaller-ship lines to find answers to these questions -- with a list that ultimately involved more than 30 different cruise companies. We've found some responses -- quick and decisive implentation of programs and donations -- to be heartwarming. In contrast, in one case we were told by a public relations representative that "we don't have substantial information ... to participate in your article. They [meaning the cruise line] are looking after their operation and it's keeping them busy."

In a handful of cases, cruise lines are still trying to work out a plan. In still others, our request for information was simply ignored. So here's a tip: If a cruise line is not included on this list it likely means they have not responded to our survey -- and so we have no information from them.

We will be updating our round-up, on an ongoing basis, as we receive new information.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Impact on Crew: A spokeswoman for Carnival, which has a significant India- and Asia-based crew, says few were impacted personally by the tragedy.

Assistance: Onboard staffers were offered free phone calls and e-mail, and employee counseling if needed. Carnival Cruise Lines set up a special fund to provide financial support to any crew member personally affected. "Not only have we set up a fund to contribute money to the individual and his or her family," de la Cruz says, "but we will also provide all necessary and appropriate assistance."

Passenger Donations: Carnival has implemented, at embarkation, an option for boarding passengers to make donations to the International Red Cross when they sign up for Sail & Sign cards. There's no minimum.

Corporate Contribution: None.


Celebrity Cruises

Impact on Crew: Impact on onboard staff has been minimal but Celebrity continues to assess needs.

Assistance: Celebrity, along with sister cruise line Royal Caribbean, had established an Employee Relief Fund last year after the hurricanes that struck the Caribbean and Florida. As such, staffers affected by the tsunami can apply for grants from this fund.

Passenger Donations: Celebrity, also in conjunction with Royal Caribbean, is collecting donations from onboard guests on a ship by ship basis at the discretion of the ship. The company has identified these charities: American Red Cross, International Response Fund, CARE, Habitat for Humanity International, International Relief Teams, and the Salvation Army World Service Office.

Corporate Contribution: The company is focusing corporate contributions on the Employee Relief Fund. Crew members are voluntarily collecting donations from other onboard staffers to go to the relief organizations listed above.


Crystal Cruises

Impact on Crew: "Thankfully, all our employees are accounted for and are fine," reports Crystal's Mimi Weisband, "although sadly a couple have reported lost friends and some damage in their towns." In an interesting note, Weisband says that it's not just the South Asians on Crystal's crew -- which comprises some 40 different nationalities -- that are affected. "We have Austrians on board too and many vacation in that area so those crew members knew other vacationers in the area," she says. We also knew of some crew members who bought property there. Of course we contacted our port agents and tour operators in the areas to extend our sympathies. Fortunately, they are all fine, too."

Assistance: Crystal has offered complimentary e-mail and telephone outreach services to families in affected areas.

Passenger Donations: Onboard its three ships, Crystal's daily newsletter Reflections offers information for passengers who want to contribute directly to the International Red Cross. The company also has made the info available on its web site and, after several requests, to travel agency partners.

Corporate Contribution: Crystal is collecting, through January 31, donations from shipboard and shore-side employees and sending them to the Red Cross' Tsunami Relief Effort. The cruise line itself will match those contributions.


Cunard Line

Impact on Crew: None reported.

Assistance: None needed.

Passenger Donations: Passengers can donate through onboard passenger services desks; the money collected in the "You Make A Difference" globes will be sent to the International Red Cross.

Corporate Contribution: Cunard has donated $50,000 to the International Red Cross – and matched that with another $50,000 from its Marine Charities Fund for a total contribution of $100,000. Additionally, Cunard’s shoreside staffers are involved in fund raising and the cruise line will match their donations up to $25,000. Crew members are raising money as well and Cunard will match those contributions up to $50,000.


Holland America Line

Impact on Crew: Holland America is the best known cruise line in the industry for its service -- and its staff is heavily comprised of Indonesian employees among others from South Asia (the line also staffs its ships from India). At this point, Holland America spokeswoman Rose Abello says that only a handful of crew members are affected.

Assistance: Holland America set up communications, via its office in Jakarta, to enable family and crew members to connect, both via telephone and e-mail. Other support she says, without offering specific details, is supplied on a personal case-by-case basis.

Passenger Donations: Onboard, the company's 12 ships have installed Tsunami relief boxes for folks -- officers and crew as well as passengers -- to drop in a check or cash donation. Passengers can also add contributions to their onboard accounts. Money will be sent to the Indonesian Red Cross.

Corporate Contribution: Holland America Line, almost immediately following the tragic events, anted up a donation to the Indonesian Red Cross.


Oceania Cruises

Impact on Crew: While the majority of the crew on Oceania's Insignia and Regatta hail from Eastern Europe, company spokesman Tim Rubacky says there are a small number of employees from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Assistance: Provided on a case-by-case basis, as needed. The company has also established a special compensation package for employees who have been affected. These folks will be provided with a special salary bonus "so they may provide additional assistance to their families."

Passenger Donations: "We're not doing any organized relief solicitations onboard," Rubacky says, "but we are providing any guest who asks with a list of charitable relief organizations." In fact, Rubacky reports on Wednesday, January 5 that guests are impressed with the corporate donation choice of Doctors Without Borders and are asking for their contributions to be sent there, too.

Corporate Contribution: Oceania Cruises has made a donation to Doctors Without Borders.


Princess Cruise Lines

Impact on Crew: Very limited, though a Princess statement notes that two crew members were flown home to be with their families (though none of the crew experienced loss of life of family or friends).

Assistance: Princess provided free e-mail and phone use to staffers to contact family and friends -- and flew the aforementioned two crew members to their homes.

Passenger Donations: Onboard, ships' passenger services desks will accept cash contributions in "You Make A Difference" globes; all donations will be forwarded to the International Red Cross.

Corporate Contribution: On a corporate level, Princess has made a $50,000 cash donation, coupled with a $50,000 contribution from the company’s Marine Charities Fund -- for a total of $100,000. In addition, the company will match, up to $25,000, gifts made by land-side employees. Princess is also matching crew contributions, up to $50,000.


Radisson Seven Seas Cruises

Impact on Crew: Nothing has been directly reported, says RSSC's Andrew Poulton. "Most of our crews come from Europe and the Philippines."

Assistance: Human resource managers onboard each vessel checked with crew -- none was needed.

Passenger Donations: RSSC is setting up a system where guests can make contributions on ships by charging the donation to their onboard accounts. Poulton says the company has not yet made a decision on the charity of choice, but expects it to be the American Red Cross.

Corporate Contribution: Says Poulton, "We have not as yet but a proposal is in the works for all of the Carlson Companies, of which we are a wholly owned subsidiary. So yes, there will be contributions made."


Royal Caribbean

Impact on Crew: Impact on onboard staff has been minimal but Royal Caribbean continues to assess needs.

Assistance: Royal Caribbean, along with sister cruise line Celebrity, had established an Employee Relief Fund last year after the hurricanes that struck the Caribbean and Florida. As such, staffers affected by the tsunami can apply for grants from this fund.

Passenger Donations: Royal Caribbean, also in conjunction with Celebrity, is collecting donations from onboard guests on a ship by ship basis at the discretion of the ship. The company has identified these charities: American Red Cross, International Response Fund, CARE, Habitat for Humanity International, International Relief Teams, and the Salvation Army World Service Office.

Corporate Contribution: The company is focusing corporate contributions on the Employee Relief Fund. Crew members are voluntarily collecting donations from other onboard staffers to go to the relief organizations listed above.


Seabourn Cruise Line

Impact on Crew: None. "Most of our staff are from Europe -- with some deck and engine staff from the Philippines," says Seabourn spokesman Bruce Good. "We did have two staff members from Seabourn Spirit who had left on holiday but to our relief we discovered that they were on the coast of Thailand and not affected."

Assistance? As a result ... none needed.

Passenger Donations: Seabourn is in the process of organizing a donation system onboard for both guests and staff to contribute to the International Red Cross Asia Relief Fund. Passengers can bill donations to their onboard accounts.

Corporate Contribution: None.


Silversea Cruises

Impact on Crew: None; Silversea employs no South Asia-based crew members (its crew hail from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Philippines, the U.K., Australia and the U.S.).

Assistance: As a result ... none needed.

Passenger Donations: According to Silversea spokesman Brad Ball, passengers onboard the fleet's four vessels have asked about making contributions. As such, Silversea Chronicles, the ships' onboard newsletter, includes information directing guests who wish to give to head to the reception desk. All donated funds will be funneled directly to the American Red Cross.

Corporate Contribution: None.


Swan Hellenic

Impact on Crew: Swan Hellenic's Minerva II counts 15 Indians and 27 Indonesians among its crew. "Thankfully," says a spokeswoman, "none of their family members have been affected by this awful tragedy."

Assistance: None needed.

Passenger Donations: On Minerva II's Christmas cruise, passengers and crew together raised 8,500 pounds (which translates to about $16,000). On subsequent voyages, passengers and crew continue to donate via the ship's reception desk; travelers, in particular, can apply their donation to onboard accounts.

Corporate Contribution: Swan Hellenic has matched donations from crew pound-for-pound. In addition, the one-ship cruise line donated 1,000 pounds (about $1,875) immediately after the tragedy occurred. And, as well, Swan Hellenic, part of the Carnival U.K. family of cruise lines (also including Ocean Village and P&O) has made a corporate donation of 30,000 pounds (more than $56,000). All contributions were sent to the Disaster Relief Committee Fund.
Cruise News Headlines

About UsAdvertisingEditorial DisclaimerPress
PrivacySite MapStoreSubscribe
X

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.

We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.