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Carnival, Dr. Seuss, Kids & Friends

There are probably some general misconceptions about the professional athlete of today. One, that he is so rich he doesn’t care two slam-dunks about his fellow man and fellow woman. Two, that his only meaningful skill is playing his sport so well that things like education are secondary.

Evan Longoria is one poster man (and there are many) for what the pro athlete is.

He cares. He reads. He gives back.

This week, before the Tampa Bay Rays who pay him millions of dollars to swing a round stick at a round ball left town on their current road trip, the star third-baseman dropped by the Carnival Paradise. The ship was moored, as it often is, in the west Florida city and Longoria wasn’t going on a cruise…he was reading stories to kids.

In a project Carnival partners with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Longoria was recruited to read — for one of the first times anywhere — a book called What Pet Should I Get? It’s the newest Seuss book and it’s not newly written…it’s newly discovered. The author, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) has been gone for many years and the book was re-discovered in his La Jolla, California home and published last week.

While Longoria was reading it to kids in Tampa, Angela Hill was reading to kids on the Carnival Dream in New Orleans, where she is a broadcasting legend.

The book-reading events were fund raisers. Carnival is making a donation to the Tampa and Louisiana chapters of the SPCA for animal rescue operations.

Cruise line President Christine Duffy said in a statement:

“Carnival is the number one cruise line for families and we’re delighted to team up with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the joy of reading to kids with these special presentations. The Angela Hillkids were absolutely thrilled to have been treated to a reading of the first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years and our most sincere thanks to Evan and Angela, as well as the SPCA, for the valuable work they do each and every day,”

Carnival’s also matching Longoria’s donation of $100 to the Pet Pal Animal Shelter for every home run he hits this season. With the one he hit yesterday afternoon in Chicago, Longoria has 12 and has hit between 22 and 33 for most of his eight-year career.

The book is one of two manuscripts discovered two years ago. It has no title…yet. Undoubtedly it will. And if Dr. Seuss Enterprises is looking for somebody to give it that first reading, Carnival has a couple of candidates with experience.

In the news…

• Norwegian Holdings applies for three licenses to cruise to Cuba
• U.S. Coast Guard's 225th anniversay celebrated on a forever stamp
• Norwegian Jade program announced for Tampa Bay in 2016-17 fall/winter

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival settles disability issue

Norwegian Jade
7 nights
November 28, 2015
Houston (return): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan
Inside: $479
Cost per day: $64
www.ncl.com

Cruise for a Cause — a $600,000 exercise

They're everywhere. Some of them can be spotted by their license plates. Or maybe because they're wearing a cap that is their identity. Or maybe, sadly, because they're wearing a prosthetic. Sometimes, more than one.

They are veterans.

Vets are thanked, supported and decorated all over the country. Even on cruise ships. And no cruise ships do more for veterans than the ones flying the Princess Cruises flag.

In November, the Caribbean Princess sailed a 5-day cruise from Houston that was dedicated to veterans. Princess called it Cruising for a Cause and on board were guest speakers, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman (Admiral Mike Mullen), US Navy-VietnamMoving Wallretired senior officers from all walks of military life and a war correspondent (Joe Galloway) whom Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf called "the finest combat correspondent of our generation" for carrying soldiers to safety in Vietnam.

How's this for support?

The cruise was a fundraiser for Operation Homefront and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. A portion of each passenger's fare was dedicated to the cause. Passengers were invited to show their support in fundraising activities. This week, Princess CEO Alan Buckelew — a Vietnam Vet — delivered a check for $300,000 to Operation Homefront. An identical check was already in the coffers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Total: $600,000.

It fell short of the cruise lines expectations of $1 million. Maybe the passengers weren't as generous as expected. Maybe Princess was over-zealous in its ambitions. But it's $600,000 that wounded warriors and veterans' causes like The Wall in Washington (above) and families in need didn't have last month.

Walk by a former soldier who's struggling to get out of a car or into a grocery store. or just get through the day, and Cruising for a Cause — and programs like it — are not just admirable.

They're vital.

Holland America Noordam
14 nights
March 21, 2014
Fort LauderdalePonta DelgadaCadizMalagaCartagenaBarcelona
Oceanview: $699
Cost per day: $49
www.hollandamerica.com

Eating Healthy on a Cruise? There's a Challenge!

Cruise lines are always looking for an excuse to promote a cruise (it's called marketing 101) but it's not always one that could be described as good for your health. Especially if it involves Valentine's Day. Boxes of chocolates. Rich desserts. Pile of the frosting. Candies galore. Not to mention washing it all down with something that will be a test for your liver, or at least your calorie count.

Princess Cruises has come up with one that IS good for your health.

It's called Cruising for a Cause and the cause is a healthy heart for Valentine's Day, which beats having a heart broken either physiologically or emotionally. The cruise is on the Ruby Princess, from Fort Lauderdale, leaving February 10th…four days before the traditional day of hearts and flowers. To show that the cruise line is serious about heart health, they are dedicating a portion of each passenger's fare to the American Heart Association — for the second year in a row — and lining up some expert guest to educate passengers who may be unaccustomed to preventative measures until the unhealthy heart comes calling.

Princess estimates the passenger contribution will be $500,000, which the cruise line will match, dollar for dollar.

There will be seven speakers on the ship, all of them with a connection to the human heart. Dr. Kathy Magliato is a cardiothoracic surgeon who's recognized as an expert on heart disease in women. David and Karen Gamow are co-authors of Freedom from Stress. Marc Anthony Bynum is a Food Network Celebrity Chef whose specialty, at least on this cruise, is cooking healthy.

Diana von Welanetz Wentworth is a heart-attack survivor who turned her misfortune into a career as an author and speaker on the subject. Jesse Sapolu played 15 years in the National Football League, somewhat anonymously because he was an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, and his biography is called I Gave My Heart To San Francisco…but more importantly, he is a spokesman for the AHA — at 6-4 and close to 300 pounds, he might be considered a poster boy for the importance of heart health.

And then there is Bernie Kopell. You might say he's there to pull on the heart strings…for a decade he was known as Doc Bricker on The Love Boat, aka the Pacific Princess, whose TV passengers were in his "care."

Presumably, this will not be a typical Valentine's Day cruise. The last one we were on — with Princess — was high on calories, which means it was low on ways to have a healthy heart.

Celebrity Solstice
18 nights
February 3, 2014
AucklandBay of IslandsTaurangaAkaroaDunedinDusky SoundDoubtful SoundMilford SoundSydneyMelbourneAdelaideEsperancePerth
Inside: $1,599
Cost per day: $88
www.ncl.com
www.celebritycruises.com

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