Getting shipshape to aid others

Food is a vital component of any cruise. Whenever I’ve set sail somewhere I’ve been truly amazed at the amount of food issuing from the ship’s galleys round the clock – and equally amazed by the amount of munching passengers manage, especially those who seem to be chomping non-stop throughout their cruise.

Perhaps such voracious appetites are stimulated by all that fresh sea air. Or is it a case of the more you eat, the more value you think you’re squeezing out of the cost of your cruise? Whatever the rationale, piling into the buffet is a core attraction of days spent at sea.

So it’s terrific to know that the Holland America Line is doing something positive to encourage its passengers to walk off all those calories for a good cause.

Oosterdam 3Tomorrow I’ll be on board the Oosterdam in Sydney harbour for a special event celebrating the introduction of the “On Deck for a Cause” initiative across the Holland America fleet.

Passengers on every cruise this year (that’s 500 cruises!) will be asked to donate $20 to participate in a fund-raising five¬†kilometre (3 mile) walk.

Depending on the ship, this will mean completing nine to 12 laps of the exercise deck; not much for some, a real challenge for others. (I quite expect tomorrow’s lunch on the Oosterdam to be followed with a fast-paced, energetic inspection of the ship.)

Those who finish a walk will get a special “On Deck for a Cause” T-shirt and wristband and celebrate with a small party. The real incentive, however, is doing something for others less fortunate while also battling that bulging cruise waistline.

Monday was World Cancer Day. This new shipboard initiative will benefit six cancer organisations around the world – in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, Netherlands and Germany. A minimum 80% of funds raised will be distributed among these organisations, the other 20% will cover costs.

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