The cruise industry is known for its extravagance, with passengers treated to all manner of luxuries while on-board. While there is a plethora of itineraries to suit even the tightest of budgets, orphans may not always have the chance to experience the excitement of a world class vessel. That is until Princess Cruises got in touch with Orphans Aid International in the lead up to Christmas. Hilary Campbell couldn’t quite believe her ears when Tapley Swift shipping agent David McLean asked if a lucky group of local New Zealand orphans would like to come aboard the Diamond Princess for Christmas dinner.
All aboard the Diamond Princess
Operated by Princess Cruises, the 290-metre-long Diamond Princess was scheduled to berth in Port Chalmers on Christmas Day. In a gesture of Christmas generosity, the crew wanted to extend a VIP dinner invitation to local orphans.
‘‘They gave me about 24 hours to have some documents back to them for security – there’s a lot of high security around visitors coming on a cruise ship,’ recalled Campbell, Manager of Dunedin’s Orphans Aid charity store. Just days later 36 adoptees, foster children and their parents were walking up the gangway to board the ultra-luxurious Diamond Princess.
A Christmas to remember
Ruth Kelsall was one of the lucky foster parents to accompany the little ones, describing the experience as “absolutely amazing”. She was on-board with Emily and Alice, two little girls who she and her husband adopted from China’s Jiangxi province when they were just one year old. Prior to sitting down for Christmas dinner the families were treated to a tour of the ship, as well as an exclusive audience with Santa himself! Mrs Campbell was also presented with an extremely generous $2000 cheque from the ship’s crew fund.
Kudos to Princess Cruises and the incredible crew members for their role in giving New Zealand’s orphans a Christmas they’ll remember forever!
Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Photo credits: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ricky Brigante