Costa Cruises Contributes to Philippine Relief Efforts

Costa Cruise Lines is contributing to the global relief effort in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan by making special efforts to support the Filipino community working on board its fleet of fourteen ships positioned around the world that have been affected by the tragedy.

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Image Source: Costa Cruises
The Costa Group made a donation of $100,000 USD to support its Filipino crew members, their friends and families that have been impacted by the disaster.  Additional support is planned through fundraising efforts of employees from Costa Cruises and sister cruise line, Ibero Cruises.

A letter was issued by Michael Thamm, Costa CEO to all of the crew members working on board Costa and Ibero Cruise vessels expressing condolences as well as the closeness and support of the entire company. In addition, all ships are providing support to Filipino crew members including complimentary internet access and phone calls so that they may contact their friends and family members at home. 

Costa Cruise Lines is not the only member of the cruise industry that is supporting the relief efforts in the Philippines. Although employees representing dozens of nationalities compose the seafaring work force of the cruise industry, few countries are as well represented or widespread as Filipinos. 

On board Royal Caribbean Cruises, Filipinos represent the single largest nationality of its crews. Across all Royal Caribbean brands, of the 41,000 people employed at sea, more than 12,800 come from the Philippines.

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain noted that on board the Vision of the Seas, nearly a third of the crew are Filipinos. "Some of them have had a rough time of it. We are obviously allowing them and helping them to try to make contact, but there is no telephone service within the Philippines," said Fain. "Many of them are not able to check back with their families and friends to find out how badly they've been hurt, or if they've been hurt. So I would just like to point out that the fact that they continue to provide such an exceptional level of service while they are of course under this strain, is remarkable."  

Fain later announced that Royal Caribbean would make a major contribution to various disaster aid agencies totalling nearly $1 million. Royal Carribean took its level of support one step further and partnered with its local manning agency, Philippine Transmarine Carriers, to deploy emergency teams to hard-hit areas in cooperation with World Vision to provide broad help to victims of the storm. 

Carnival Corporation, owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and the Miami Heat basketball team made a joint donation of at least $1 million. The head coach of the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, is of Filipino descent. "In addition to providing financial support for relief efforts, our collective thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been impacted," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation owner and chairman. 

In addition to relief effort contributions, cruise lines are also taking care of their Filipino employees. Through its partners in Manila, Norwegian Cruise Lines has been reaching out to contact crew members and their families isolated around Manila and outlying provinces. "Crew members onboard are being supported to help make contact with their families, and we are making arrangements for those who need to return home to do so," the company said. A relief fund has also been set up by Norwegian Cruise Lines to collect donations from employees company wide and across the fleet. 

On top of its $1 million donation from parent company Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Lines is providing free phone calls, internet access, and personalised logistical support to all Filipino crew members. Crews on board a number of vessels have initiated fundraisers to support their fellow crew members. 

Princess Cruises donated $50,000 to the Red Cross, $10,000 to the Homer Foundation in the Philippines, and another $50,000 to International Medical Corps while Holland America Line also made a donation through the Red Cross. 

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