For the fifth consecutive year, Disney Cruise Line was named top cruise line for families in the World’s Best Awards. Winners were selected by Travel + Leisure readers, who participated in a survey and rated cruise lines on criteria including cabins, food, service, itineraries and destinations, activities and value.
What made your last Disney Cruise Line voyage so special for your family?
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Duckies, duckies everywhere! Thousands of ducks decorated by Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members on all four ships swirled through the ships’ pools and water coasters recently to take part in the first “AquaDucky Derby” rubber duck races to raise nearly $14,000 for Make-A-Wish International.
Aboard the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, rubber ducks were placed at the top of the AquaDuck and with the crowd counting down and the sounds of “Wipe Out” playing over the sound system, 10,000 gallons of water rushed into the flume sending the ducks racing through the water coaster’s tunnel and around the ship’s upper decks before splashing down at the finish line.
Aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, guests and crew voted using applause for the unofficial best decorated duck while One Direction’s song, “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” played in the background. For the official race, guests and crew splashed and kicked a current to carry the critters to the opposite side of the Goofy pool.
All funds raised from the duck sales are being donated to a very worthy cause – Make-A-Wish International, an organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions in 48 countries outside of the U.S. Since the first-ever official wish experience 32 years ago, Disney has helped grant more than 81,000 wishes globally and is involved in nearly 50 percent of the wishes granted each year.
The events saluted the 30th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program, which provides opportunities for Disney cast and crew members to donate their time to worthy causes around the world. Events like this are just a small part of Disney’s commitment to give back to local communities through in-kind donations and the efforts of Disney VoluntEARS. In 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members completed 75 community outreach projects and donated more than 4,500 hours of personal service to nonprofit organizations, working both onboard the ships and in communities across Central Florida, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line provided more than $640,000 in charitable and in-kind donations to organizations supporting children, families and the environment.
Today, I am thrilled to show you the magic we shared over the weekend when Disney VoluntEARS, along with beloved Disney characters, assisted in delivering and hanging the mural at the Hospital General de Catalunya. The mural delivery and hospital visit showcases just one way Disney Cruise Line is committed to giving back to communities in ports of call around the world.
Scott Feight, executive director of the Foundation for Hospital Art, told us this was one of the largest murals they have ever created. “Seeing the reaction of the children here today showcases the true power of our mission of utilizing art to uplift the spirit and support healing in hospitals around the world,” he said.
Disney VoluntEARS also visited with the children in the hospital, which is one of many community outreach projects taking place to deliver toys and smiles to deserving children in the port communities along Disney’s Mediterranean itineraries this summer.
Nearly 300 Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members are able to showcase their artistic talents while volunteering for a great cause this week aboard the Disney Magic’stransatlantic crossing to Barcelona, Spain, in an event called PaintFest at Sea. Through a partnership with the Foundation for Hospital Art, the fun-spirited group is painting 72 canvases during that will be assembled into a 9-foot tall by 24-foot long mural.
The mural, featuring characters from “The Little Mermaid” and designed by Disney artist, Don “Ducky” Williams, will take more than 500 hours to complete, and will be a fitting salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program. When the ship arrives in Barcelona on Saturday, the mural will be presented to a local children’s hospital near the port.
See the podcast of the painting here. Look for coverage of the mural delivery and installation on my blog post next week.
Wow, I can’t believe it is already May! I hope everyone had a wonderful April and made time to get outside in honor of Earth Month. Throughout the month, Disney Cruise Line guests and crew took part in organized “Walk for Wildlife” events on-board our ships and at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, doing their part to raise awareness and inspire others to connect with nature.
More than 350 people participated in this annual event supporting marine conservation projects through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). Disney Cruise Line also made a $5,000 donation to DWCF in honor of all guests and crew who sailed on-board for Earth Day. It’s a tradition we are proud to support every year.
Looking at the photos, I know everyone had a great time taking part in these special events that allowed both guests and crew to come together for a great cause. If you could “Walk for Wildlife” on-board one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or at Castaway Cay, which would you choose?
Some of my most cherished memories from when my children were young are quiet times spent together reading a good book. Reading aloud gave us a chance to bond over favorite stories, while instilling a love of reading that continues today.
Crew members from Disney Cruise Line ships recently made memories of their own, saluting National Literacy Month with special visits to schoolchildren in our ports of call. Taking place as part of the Disney Reading Together program, these visits brought Disney VoluntEARS to read with children in Grand Cayman, St. Thomas and Nassau. And while the efforts were designed to promote literacy and inspire children to enjoy reading, I really think that our crew most enjoyed getting to spend quality time sharing stories with young readers.
Since launching 10 years ago, our Reading Together program has taken crew members into schools to read aloud, inspired cast and crew members to make personal donations through book drives, and has helped to distribute more than 7,000 books to children in communities across the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Taking time out to read together can make a big impact – both on the children and the adults that share the story.
I’m sure the crew can’t wait to return to read with the schoolchildren again. Do you have a favorite Disney story you enjoy sharing with your family?
To read more about other ways Disney VoluntEARS and Disney Cruise Line give back, see the posts below:
We’re thrilled that the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Fantasy, earned the top honor – Best Large Ship – in the Cruise Critic 2013 Cruisers’ Choice Awards this week.
The Disney Fantasy also received the top spots in four other categories – Large Ship Best Cabins, Best Entertainment, Best Public Rooms and Best Service. Winners were selected based on reviews submitted by cruisers for sailings taken in 2012. Thank you, fans!
See more from the Disney Fantasy in the posts below:
Disney Cruise Line crew members who donated their time as Disney VoluntEARS put smiles on the faces of more than 2,600 people in less than a week in nine of the port communities that our ships call home.
Officers and crew on all four ships collected toys to benefit the US Marines Toys For Tots Foundation, while crew members living on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, delivered 1,200 storybooks to children in the surrounding Abaco Islands.
Throughout 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members contributed more than 4,500 community service hours, supporting a number of causes benefitting children and families, as well as the environment.
How does your family give back during the holiday season?
For more of how Disney VoluntEARS and Disney Cruise Line gave back this year, see the posts below:
These are just a few of the reasons Disney Cruise Line was recognized as the No. 1 Cruise Line in the Large-Ship category in the Condé Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. Our cast and crew members are honored to know that our efforts have helped provide a unique vacation experience where families can reconnect, recharge and relax together.
Now with four ships in our fleet, families can sail to more destinations with Disney than ever before, from a port close to their own backyard. Where would you like to go next?
Read the posts below for more updates from Disney Cruise Line:
Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have named Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 Large-Ship Cruise Line for Families for the fourth consecutive year as part of the “World’s Best Awards 2012”! This is also the eighth consecutive year Disney Cruise Line has been ranked to the top five cruise lines overall.
Our cast and crew members are passionate about surprising our guests with a magical experience at sea, so it means a great deal to us that we have exceeded your expectations. We would love to know – what is your favorite family memory from a Disney cruise?
Check out these posts for more news from Disney Cruise Line: