Fred. Olsen launches new ‘Closer to the Real Caribbean’ ‘voluntourism’ shore experiences
Following the success of last year’s fundraising across its fleet in support of the Caribbean hurricane relief effort – when generous guests donated over £25,000 to this very worthy cause – Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has pledged to provide shore tours that take in experiences ‘away from the traditional tourist trail’ on its Caribbean itineraries in 2019.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused severe devastation to much of the Caribbean in September 2017 – and Fred. Olsen guests were keen to support the rebuilding of an area of the world that is so close to their hearts.
Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“Our new ‘Closer to the Real Caribbean’ concept is aimed at helping our guests to provide support and assistance to communities in the Caribbean, a destination that they cherish and care about a great deal.
“We know from our pre-cruise surveys that our guests look forward to our ‘Scenery & Wildlife’ and ‘Community & Way of Life’ shore experiences the most on the majority of our Caribbean cruise calls, and we therefore felt that we should offer our guests the opportunity to be able to work together and ‘give something back’ to the destination.”
Examples of two of Fred. Olsen’s new specially-created Caribbean ‘voluntourism’ shore experiences in 2019 include:
Saint Lucia School Visit
– Make a valuable contribution to a Caribbean community with this unique opportunity to visit a local school
– Spend time interacting with the children of the Babonneau community
– ‘Go back to school’ and participate in lessons
– Enjoy a scenic drive through the island’s countryside
Guests will visit a local school and participate in classes, including assisting students in the School’s vegetable garden, which is used to provide their daily lunches.
Depart from the port of Castries for a scenic drive to the north of the island, through lush rainforest, to the community of Babonneau, and the Fond Assau Primary School. The School officially opened its doors in 1968, and since then has strived to make a difference to the lives of families residing in the Font Assau community, working assiduously to become a ‘Child Friendly School of Choice’.
On arrival, guests will be met by the School Principal, and will be welcomed by the smiling faces of students, aged between 5 and 13 years old. Guests will have the opportunity to spend time in their classes, participating in singing and dancing; or even outside in the School’s greenhouse, planting and harvesting produce, such as lettuce, cabbage and cucumbers. Each class is responsible for choosing and planting the vegetables, which are then used in dishes prepared by, and for, the students, as part of the School’s meal provision.
Guests can assist in the preparation of the day’s harvest, and sample the fruits of their labours, before bidding a fond farewell to their hosts.
Before returning to Castries and rejoining Braemar, guests will enjoy a sightseeing drive through the stunning local countryside.
Dominica Trail Clean-up & ‘Keepin’It Real’ Experience
– A wonderful opportunity to contribute to Dominica’s post-hurricane recovery
– Assist in the restoration of hiking trails on the island’s tallest mountain
– Savour a delicious lunch, and relax on the beach at Toucari
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica. More than one year on, the recovery process continues – and this tour offers a chance for Fred. Olsen guests to play their part in helping to rebuild one of the island’s many nature trails.
Syndicate Nature Trail is located at the foot of Morne Diablotins – Dominica’s tallest mountain – in the central northern part of the island. This is considered to be one of the best oceanic rainforests within the Lesser Antilles, and is home to the Sisserou Parrot – also known as ‘The Pride of Dominica’ – its national bird.
The trail is a one-hour drive from the capital, Roseau. After a welcome briefing, guests will take up machetes and ‘weed whackers’ to clear the paths of vegetation on the Trail, gather litter and remove debris, including branches and rocks that were deposited during the Category Five hurricane.
With a feeling of accomplishment, guests will continue to the fishing village of Toucari, travelling along the coast. During their journey, guests may glimpse some of the remnants of the devastation left by Hurricane Maria, as they make their way to ‘Keepin’It Real’ – a local bar and restaurant, renowned for its fresh fish dishes prepared with the delicious ‘Catch of the Day’.
Revitalised, guests will then have the chance to relax on the beach, swim in the turquoise waters or snorkel, paddleboard or kayak, before returning to Roseau and Braemar.
Fred. Olsen will be offering a wide variety of exciting and authentic Caribbean fly-cruises in 2019 on board its smaller, friendlier cruise ship, Braemar, ranging from a 31-night ‘Transatlantic Crossing & Caribbean Christmas’ sailing, departing from Southampton in January, to a 14-night island-hopping adventure in the ‘The Eastern Caribbean’, via Bridgetown, Barbados, in December.