Guest Post – Craig Milan Introduces Royal Caribbean's New Voluntourism Excursions

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Craig Milan - Senior VP, Land Operations and President of Royal Celebrity Tours

Voluntourism is a new and growing segment of travel and at Royal Caribbean International it manifests itself in several ways highlighting our commitment to the local communities we visit. We are just starting a program of voluntourism opportunities for our guests on Oasis of the Seas and if successful, will be expanded to other areas of need within the regions of our global deployment.

Guests of Oasis of the Seas have the opportunity to contribute to the local community of Cozumel, Mexico . We have partnered with select tour operators and the Mexican Chapter of the Red Cross to offer guests the chance to contribute their time with several projects. The local chapter in Cozumel provides vital services for the island’s residents and visitors. The Red Cross services the community with emergency response, medical services, lifeguard, first aid and other training, health education, and disaster preparation and relief. As part of a beautification project, guests will assist with the planting of trees and shrubs at the local chapter’s new facility. The 4-hour Voluntourism: The Mexican Red Cross Landscaping Project is available for sale online as well as onboard through this summer. The $50 price of the tour covers the materials needed for the landscaping and transportation to the facility with the remaining proceeds donated to the Cozumel chapter of the Mexican Red Cross.

In the near future, Oasis of the Seas guests also will have the opportunity to contribute to the communities of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (from the port of St. Thomas, USVI) and in Labadee, Haiti .

In addition to the active participation of our guests in various programs, we also support a number of worthwhile charities in destinations we serve. Here are a few examples. In Europe guests sailing on Brilliance of the Seas who purchase a shuttle bus pass in Venice also will receive a Chorus Pass ticket, a $13 per person value, which provides entrance to 16 of the most important churches in Venice. The Chorus Association, a non-profit, will reinvest the funds from Royal Caribbean’s purchase of the Chorus Pass tickets in the restoration and maintenance of the priceless churches and the cultural heritage represented in the more than 1,000 pieces of art. The aim of the Chorus Association is to contribute to the safeguarding, conservation, and restoration of the architectural and artistic heritage of churches in the city of Venice.

Guests sailing on Splendour of the Seas , Navigator of the Seas , Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas who visit Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey and participate in select full day tours will have a tree planted near the House of Mary in their honor and will receive a certificate to this effect. This project is focused on the re-forestation of this critical historical site.

In Juneau, Alaska , guests sailing on Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas can purchase the Whales & Glaciers: Citizen Science Adventure tour. Guests will play a significant role in a monitored citizen science program while viewing the likes of whales, seals, porpoises, sea lions and sea birds in their natural habitat. This tour provides guests with hands-on experience collecting water samples, trawling for plankton, and recording animal behaviors. All observational data-logging will improve scientists’ understanding of the local food chain and other environmental variables that effect marine populations.

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  • Assunta Lisi

    Sounds like a great concept, however be sensitive especially in Mexico as the U.S. State Department currently has travel warnings on areas of Mexico. There is quite a bit of violence going on in that area and it would make bad press to have a tour company bring guests in an area that could jeopardize their safety. Other ports of call that you mention seem fine and while crime can certainly happen any place, I would recommend you start this project on a small scale in terms of areas that you want to try instead of spanning this to include all ports that you enter. Hope this was helpful. Please advise the CEO of my support and love for Royal Carribean. I hope to sail on the Oasis soon. Wishing you continued success. Sincerely, Assunta Lisi

    • Adam

      Assunta, we appreciate your feedback and as guest safety is always our priority we assure you that we will continue to chose our destinations with this in mind. Thank you for your suggestions and loyalty with Royal Caribbean and we hope to see you on a Voluntourism Excursion soon.

  • Louis Tacchino

    Agreat idea. Sign up up for our next trp in 2012.

    Lou and Cathy Tacchino C&A

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  • Tracy

    Wonderful idea!
    Always wanted to have an educational breifing the day before docking at a port. Not just about shopping, but with history and customs.

  • Ken

    This is a great idea. Our family of 6 would jump at the opportunity to help out in other counties. I hope this program works out.

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  • Mark


    I was wondering if their were any updates on RCI’s relief work in Haiti? Is RCI still helping? It was very nice to see what RCI did for Haiti.

  • Karen

    What a wonderful way to give back to the communities we visit on our vacations. Count me in the next time I’m aboard a RCCL ship!

  • Michelle

    We are heading to Alaska on Royal Caribbean at the end of this summer. Hope we can take advantage of the whale watching and animal data logging on that trip. Thanks for posting!
    If you’re interested in other volunteer vacation opportunities for families, visit my blog at

    • Adam

      Michelle, we hope that you enjoy your Alaska cruise and we really hope you get to do some whale watching as well. Thank you so much for the URL to your blog, as well as the great article on our efforts. It is truly appreciated.

  • Adam

    Thank you everyone for your kind words and gestures towards helping out through our Voluntourism project. Volunteers like you are the driving force of this project’s success. We greatly appreciate your positive attitudes and the local communities will definitely benefit from your efforts.

  • Nigel pegler

    You mention whales and glacier:citezen science adventures tour but if I click on the link no information is available, what does a significant role actually involve and how can a person who has no scientific training be of any help.
    How long does the tour last? and what actual scientific impact can I make?

  • Nancy Elliott-Greenwood

    What an exceptional idea – to help renovate some of the churches in Venice! I hope after the first pilot project that you will extend the experience to those of us in Venice on Vision of the Seas in the Fall.

    • Adam

      Nancy, we appreciate your encouraging comment about our charity partnership and your suggestion to extend the program to Vision of the Seas’ guests. We’ll be happy to pass it along to the appropriate department for review and consideration.

  • bainiuccish

    Very Good site, thank yo mister, it’s help’s me!

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