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Setting Sail Gal

Excursions that serve the port communities

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On this board I read about a different type of excursions that provided experiences to give back to port communities.  Some were working with schools, housing projects, food distribution etc.  I would like to find that website again to check my ports for possible areas to serve.  I have enjoyed all the ports on my next vacation many times, but this time I want to volunteer my time and talents.  Thank you for any help finding these opportunities.  Karen 

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Please help me locate the website shared here for excursions that help the communities we visit while cruising.  My next cruise is in December and I would like to book these opportunities.  Any help is greatly appreciated.

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i Think you meant to post this on another cruise type forum?   You already asked this below....

 

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Following this. We did one last year on Celebrity through the cruise line when we were in San Juan. Helped building a greenhouse for the day. A nice surprise was that the captain and his family were on the project with us.  

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23 hours ago, Setting Sail Gal said:

On this board I read about a different type of excursions that provided experiences to give back to port communities.  Some were working with schools, housing projects, food distribution etc.  I would like to find that website again to check my ports for possible areas to serve.  I have enjoyed all the ports on my next vacation many times, but this time I want to volunteer my time and talents.  Thank you for any help finding these opportunities.  Karen 

Here's one with RCI

 

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreExcursions/product/detail/view.do?sourcePage=shorexByPort&ProductCode=MJR1&DestinationCode=

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By the way, we do not go with a cruise excursion.  We have established connections.  We prefer not to be with a group.  We do not want to be told what we can and cannot do if we see a need.

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I am curious by this question but is it really possible to volunteer in a foreign country for just a few hours or are you doing a cruise with longer port stays?

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It is easy to volunteer for any length of time. There are many places we have visited that any gesture is so greatly appreciated. If you name a port, I can make suggestions. We have connections on many islands. We have more than 60 cruises over the last 30 years. We feel very blessed. We always make it a point to do something charitable on each trip we take.

 

It could be something as small as taking school supplies or soccer balls to a few children in the neighborhood.  This could take less than 30 minutes.  We have also spent a week or more in Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, etc.  The smiles from the children are the best reward!

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4 minutes ago, #1TravelMom said:

It is easy to volunteer for any length of time. There are many places we have visited that any gesture is so greatly appreciated. If you name a port, I can make suggestions. We have connections on many islands. We have more than 60 cruises over the last 30 years. We feel very blessed. We always make it a point to do something charitable on each trip we take.

 

It could be something as small as taking school supplies or soccer balls to a few children in the neighborhood.  This could take less than 30 minutes.  We have also spent a week or more in Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, etc.  The smiles from the children are the best reward!

 

I don't mean to sound skeptical but it kind of sounds like charities specifically creating jobs for tourists to do so they can have some sort of "authentic experience". Does this type of volunteering actually fufill a practical need? Is there a real struggle to get volunteers to deliver supplies to children?

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1 minute ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

I don't mean to sound skeptical but it kind of sounds like charities specifically creating jobs for tourists to do so they can have some sort of "authentic experience". Does this type of volunteering actually fufill a practical need? Is there a real struggle to get volunteers to deliver supplies to children?

At least locally I've seen the opportunities more along the lines of filing papers, breaking down boxes for recycling, etc.

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1 minute ago, clo said:

At least locally I've seen the opportunities more along the lines of filing papers, breaking down boxes for recycling, etc.

 

I hope this isn't a stupid question but when you say filing are you talking about office work filing? I find it hard to believe anyone would employ a foreign day visitor in that job especially if they don't speak the language😕.

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1 minute ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

I hope this isn't a stupid question but when you say filing are you talking about office work filing? I find it hard to believe anyone would employ a foreign day visitor in that job especially if they don't speak the language😕.

Oh, you're probably right.  I speak enough Spanish and Portuguese that I MIGHT be able to do that 🙂

 

This is probably more apples and oranges but they might better use a donation.  We make a monthly, automatic donation to our local food bank.  Their buying ability is FAR beyond what an individual has like 5x, 6x, etc.  But there are still people who insist on giving $5 worth of food rather than a $5 bill.  I wonder if it's like that overseas.  Interesting.

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2 minutes ago, clo said:

Oh, you're probably right.  I speak enough Spanish and Portuguese that I MIGHT be able to do that 🙂

 

This is probably more apples and oranges but they might better use a donation.  We make a monthly, automatic donation to our local food bank.  Their buying ability is FAR beyond what an individual has like 5x, 6x, etc.  But there are still people who insist on giving $5 worth of food rather than a $5 bill.  I wonder if it's like that overseas.  Interesting.

 

I have heard that argument from many charities. They can have a waiting list of people wanting to volunteer but not enough wanting to donate money🤔. I once read an article where someone who ran a charity complained that people use charities as a way to feel like good citizens and that they rarely think about what charities actually want or need.

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16 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

I have heard that argument from many charities. They can have a waiting list of people wanting to volunteer but not enough wanting to donate money🤔. I once read an article where someone who ran a charity complained that people use charities as a way to feel like good citizens and that they rarely think about what charities actually want or need.

Exactly.  You see here in the US organizations packing up all manner of food, toiletries, etc when a nice check would do more good.  Some our recent fires in CA they've actually had to say "don't send any more stuff."

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First, let me say that we have nothing against organized volunteering and excursions. What we specifically do is probably not what you are thinking of when you read of volunteering in Port.

 

Over the years we have made many friends on the islands. We have built relationships and made connections in impoverished communities.

 

Maybe it is easier to explain if I give a few examples.

 

On a port day in Roatan, we will go to a very poor neighborhood. With the help of a  friend in that community,  we gather about 70 children at a church. We do active games, crafts, and pay local ladies to cook a big lunch for them. Then, they each get a gift bag from us. The children look forward to this each year.  One of the most rewarding things we've done over the years, as we've seen the same smiling faces grow up over the years.

 

We have a friend in Cozumel, we always contact him a few weeks before we arrive to see if there are any urgent needs. One year, there was a firefighter who fell through a roof at a fire. They needed to buy him a wheelchair and help out with some home projects and basic needs. This was great day for us -helping his family.

 

Those are larger, more expensive days. I can't stress enough how much even a little gesture is appreciated. We took a huge box of pencils and erasers and big bags of lollipops and Tootsie Rolls to a school in Dominica. Everyone was thrilled. That teachers gathered the children to thank us and sing a few songs. Absolutely precious!

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3 minutes ago, #1TravelMom said:

First, let me say that we have nothing against organized volunteering and excursions. What we specifically do is probably not what you are thinking of when you read of volunteering in Port.

 

Over the years we have made many friends on the islands. We have built relationships and made connections in impoverished communities.

 

Maybe it is easier to explain if I give a few examples.

 

On a port day in Roatan, we will go to a very poor neighborhood. With the help of a  friend in that community,  we gather about 70 children at a church. We do active games, crafts, and pay local ladies to cook a big lunch for them. Then, they each get a gift bag from us. The children look forward to this each year.  One of the most rewarding things we've done over the years, as we've seen the same smiling faces grow up over the years.

 

We have a friend in Cozumel, we always contact him a few weeks before we arrive to see if there are any urgent needs. One year, there was a firefighter who fell through a roof at a fire. They needed to buy him a wheelchair and help out with some home projects and basic needs. This was great day for us -helping his family.

 

Those are larger, more expensive days. I can't stress enough how much even a little gesture is appreciated. We took a huge box of pencils and erasers and big bags of lollipops and Tootsie Rolls to a school in Dominica. Everyone was thrilled. That teachers gathered the children to thank us and sing a few songs. Absolutely precious!

It certainly has to make a difference that you travel to the same places a lot.  We almost never do.  I will give food to the homeless, never money.

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2 hours ago, #1TravelMom said:

Over the years we have made many friends on the islands. We have built relationships and made connections in impoverished communities.

 

 

I think it makes sense then. A group of volunteers from the ship's crew, mainly entertainers and cruise diretor staff, took supplies to a  school in South America including soccer balls, bicycles and paint cans. They were going to paint the school. This was obvioulsy a prearranged visit with previous contact to find out the needs.

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Just a friendly emo34.gif reminder to all regarding the Charitable Organizations in Ports of Call section in the Guidelines we agreed to follow when registering for our free Cruise Critic memberships:

 

Charitable Organizations in Ports of Call

 
We've always been so proud of our Cruise Critic members who unselfishly pack goodies, supplies and yes...even send money...to organizations located in various ports of call around the world. We applaud your efforts and hope you continue to do so on an individual basis.

However, judging by the number of e-mails we have received over the years, as well as a few heartbreaking incidents that have diminished our trust in some of these organizations, it is clear that many of you are also concerned regarding the validity of some of these projects. We are aware that many are now posting on the forums in order to obtain donations. Additionally, there is an undercurrent of competitiveness with regard to these agencies, which many of you are displeased with.

Therefore, since Cruise Critic has no control over the validity of the information, we do not allow organizations to "ask" our members for donations through the forums. Additionally, posts from members offering to "collect" items or money to bring with them on the cruise will be removed from the forums.

All posts/discussions soliciting donations or the bringing/passing out of supplies/donations are not allowed and will be removed from the boards, thus allowing our members to continuing discussing visiting these ports, and finding interesting and fun shore excursion information. Repeated violations will result in suspension of posting privileges.

As always, thank you for exhibiting the kindness and generosity toward those less fortunate than us in ports of call.

The above applies to all forums on Cruise Critic, including our ROLL CALLS.

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On 8/24/2019 at 11:14 AM, #1TravelMom said:

First, let me say that we have nothing against organized volunteering and excursions. What we specifically do is probably not what you are thinking of when you read of volunteering in Port.

 

Over the years we have made many friends on the islands. We have built relationships and made connections in impoverished communities.

 

Maybe it is easier to explain if I give a few examples.

 

On a port day in Roatan, we will go to a very poor neighborhood. With the help of a  friend in that community,  we gather about 70 children at a church. We do active games, crafts, and pay local ladies to cook a big lunch for them. Then, they each get a gift bag from us. The children look forward to this each year.  One of the most rewarding things we've done over the years, as we've seen the same smiling faces grow up over the years.

 

We have a friend in Cozumel, we always contact him a few weeks before we arrive to see if there are any urgent needs. One year, there was a firefighter who fell through a roof at a fire. They needed to buy him a wheelchair and help out with some home projects and basic needs. This was great day for us -helping his family.

 

Those are larger, more expensive days. I can't stress enough how much even a little gesture is appreciated. We took a huge box of pencils and erasers and big bags of lollipops and Tootsie Rolls to a school in Dominica. Everyone was thrilled. That teachers gathered the children to thank us and sing a few songs. Absolutely precious!

I am going to have to disagree with your cheap trinkets and candy for kids. This is not really helping and is done for your enjoyment rather than the good of the people. You would have been better off taking the money you spent buying these trinkets, paying luggage fees to bring, taxi fare there and back to deliver and given that money to the organization to spend on something they legitimately needed. 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/magazine/the-voluntourists-dilemma.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/sep/13/the-business-of-voluntourism-do-western-do-gooders-actually-do-harm

 

 

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I respect that you disagree.  However, we have done mission work in 20 countries in the past 25 years.  I'm not saying that pencils and lollipops are going to solve major problems in third world countries.  I do know for a fact that every school can always use pencils and erasers.  Children in many countries get candy as a treat at Christmas only.  This was a simple suggestion for someone who wants to make a small gesture.  

 

There are valid points in your articles that do not apply to us or cruise passengers in general.  Cruise passengers are not spending thousands of dollars to visit a country, they simply are visiting for a day.  We do not pay any organization for the privilege of volunteering.  We spend only our own money - no fundraisers, church, or community support.  Whether cruise or land, we consider our trips to be vacations with a purpose.  We do 2-4 trips per year, so we have learned where our money is best spent.  While some consider the best option is to donate money to charities that send it to be used in impoverished areas, we do not.  Most organizations have a high percentage of administrative costs.  Many governments and "middlemen" are corrupt and misappropriate the funds.  We have seen it first hand.  

 

We know if we visit a country, our money goes exactly where it is needed.  As for your statement that "this is for our enjoyment".  You are correct.  We do enjoy saving for months at a time so we can take gifts and supplies to help children and adults who are less fortunate.  I drive a 9-year old car.  My peach formica countertops and mauve sectional are from 1992 - I could go on and on.  Perhaps I would enjoy a new car and updated kitchen, etc., but for now serving others when we travel is enjoyment for us.  So, if you are accusing us of doing this "for our enjoyment" - we are certainly guilty.  I wish more people would do this "for their enjoyment".  

 

It can also be said, that wealthy people(we are not in this category) just write a check and boast about sending money to make themselves look and feel charitable, with very little sacrifice.  Giving time and showing people you actually care is what we prefer at home and abroad.  Any charitable act in my opinion is better than doing nothing at all.  We just love looking people in the eye and smiling.  Their smiles, hugs, and often tears, are the best reward ever.  

 

 

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