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FCCA Foundation Gift Project unwraps holiday cheer

'You could see happiness and excitement on the kids' faces' - Dorothy Dorado, youth director, Carnival Liberty (Photos: FCCA)
More than 8,000 children had something to celebrate this holiday season because of the 19th annual FCCA Foundation Holiday Gift Project.

Tuesday in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic—one of the record 40 participating destinations—crew and destination representatives joined for the last time this year to celebrate the most rewarding project to date and the children’s happiness as they received presents and attended a holiday party.

The FCCA Foundation contributed gifts selected for age groups and genders specified by the destinations. Then member lines loaded the presents aboard their vessels to serve as sleighs to deliver the presents to partnering destinations. There, destination representatives coordinated on-land festivities, waiting with the children as Santa arrived.

Florida Caribbean Cruise Association/Carnival Corp. & plc chairman Micky Arison expressed satisfaction with the good work the FCCA Foundation has carried out with the Holiday Gift Project.

'It’s important to take care of children in need, and it’s gratifying to see the foundation continue to grow and partner with charities who have children counting on them for some holiday cheer,' Arison said.

'The cruise industry is proud to give back to the communities of the destinations we call, and I cannot think of a more rewarding way than bringing cheer and aid to children who need it,' FCCA president Michele Paige added.

'Being a part of the Belize [Holiday Gift Project] allowed me to experience what it is to make a life by what we give,' said Sherryl Bacayo, training specialist on Norwegian Jewel. 'It was such a great joy to see smiles on those lovely little ones. I felt the true spirit of Christmas.'

'You could see the happiness and excitement on the kids' faces as the boxes of toys were offloaded and Santa Claus came to their school,' said Dorothy Dorado, youth director, Carnival Liberty. 'It felt so good to see the kids jumping and screaming when they see us coming. We left the school with tears in our eyes.'

Participating destinations included Antigua, Aruba, Belize City, Bonaire, Cabo San Lucas, Cartagena, Coco Cay, Colón, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Curaçao, Dominica, Ensenada, Falmouth, Freeport, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Half Moon Cay, Harvest Caye, Labadee and Limón.

Further participating destinations were Martinique, Montego Bay, Nassau, Ocho Rios, Princess Cays, Progreso, Puerto Plata, Roatán, Samaná, San Juan, St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Turks & Caicos.

Participating FCCA member lines were Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises USA, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.