While the itineraries for Alaska tout magnificent glaciers and wildlife, a closer look at what’s happening on the dock long after passengers disembark reveals a sight just as impressive.
This summer, several ships in the Princess fleet have donated items to non-profits in various Alaska port communities. These charitable acts were on behalf of Princess employees, both dock-side and aboard the ship, who made a commitment to meet local needs.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Princess Cruises to find organizations ashore that are in need of items which are being refurbished,” said Kirby Day, director of shore operations, Pacific Northwest and Alaska. “It is really a win-win for all involved.”
The Diamond Princess, for example, donated mattresses to Polaris House, an organization in Juneau that supports people with mental illness. “Most of our members are housed after being homeless for some length of time,” said Dorothy Green, Polaris House executive director. “They often sleep on the floor for a few weeks to a month or two while we look for furniture. Being able to move into an apartment and have a bed will be great.”
While the majority of donated items stay in port communities, some do not. In Whittier and Seward, ship staff donated men’s and women’s business clothing to local career training centers throughout Southcentral Alaska. Costumes, donated by the ships’ entertainment departments, have been donated to high school drama clubs in Anchorage.
Alaska charities also reap the reward of ship upgrades, such as the replacement of box TVs with flat-screen versions. The Island Princess donated 36 box TVs to Easter Seals in Ketchikan. The organization, dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities gain greater independence, sold the electronics in their thrift store as part of their fundraising.
“We don’t always know what is coming our way, but we find a way to use it,” said Jeannette Seale on behalf Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarers, a non-profit organization that focuses on the special needs of cruise ship personnel and seafarers.