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Cruise And Cancer An Unlikely Tandem

In Canada today it’s National Wear Pink Day, a chance for the whole country to “Get Pink’d” in support of breast cancer.

In Canada, we have a niece who is fighting breast cancer. She just returned from a cruise, which is why today’s subject is the dreaded disease.

For her, the battle is almost two years old, and sometimes it surely seems like a lifetime. Get Pink'dLike so many breast cancer victims, there has been surgery and chemo and concern. And a Disney cruise.

This was her post-cruise report:

“The cruise was amazing! It was just what the doctor ordered. We had fabulous weather with sunshine every day and beautiful temperatures.  We went zip-lining in St. Thomas, horseback riding in Puerto Rico and sat on the beach at Castaway Cay, Bahamas. There is always something to do on the ship and Disney didn't let us down.

“We saw lots of musical shows, comedians, magic acts, Disney movies, and even played bingo. I would do a Disney cruise again.  It definitely distracted me from the realities of life. I think I had a permanent smile on my face for two weeks and don't they say that laughter is the best medicine?  I must be cured then if that's the case.”

Funny, nobody ever thinks about how therapeutic a cruise can be.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Celebrity Constellation
12 nights
April 22, 2015
Rome (return): Anzac Cove, Canakkale, Istanbul, Athens, Santorini, Naples
Inside: $665
Cost per day: $55

Breast Cancer Survivors Make 'Pink' Headlines Again with Holland America


Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote a blog about Holland America and breast cancer. About how breast cancer survivors were invited on board when the Oosterdam was in port in Seattle, where Holland America's head office is located. About how this cruise line has raised millions to help those who think pink in trying to defeat the disease. Because there are other cruise lines with fundraising causes, it hadn't been our intention to make's cause an annual event here, and then…

And then breast cancer became more personal.

This summer, our niece was diagnosed with breast cancer. The fact that she is our niece, or anyone's niece, means she is too young. Too young to face this challenge. Too young to find out you have cancer. And yet, cancer never checks out your birth certificate, does it?

So that makes it appropriate to re-visit Holland America. On every sailing on every ship, there is a 5-kilometer walk to raise funds for breast cancer. Entry is $20 and $16 of it goes to cancer organizations around the cruise line's world. Royal Caribbean does the same type of thing for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

This month, the Oosterdam was in Seattle for its now-annual invitation to breast cancer survivors. This is the sixth year they've been invited for lunch. And to celebrate. The captain, Arjen Van der Loo, told a writer who was among the invitees that every week on the Oosterdam there are four to six breast cancer survivors among the passengers.

The cruise line doesn't make a big deal of this. There is no press release, at least none that we saw. The only fanfare and publicity seems to be generated by the survivors. Yet it's worthy of mentioning, and supporting, time and again.

It can never happen too often. Ask any family.

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
December 21, 2013
San Juan (return): St. CroixSt. Kitts, Roseau, TortolaSt. Thomas
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $114

Holland America Cancer Connection

There probably isn't a family anywhere that hasn't been touched by cancer, and there probably isn't anybody who hasn't been touched by a cancer fund-raiser. It happens because it's important and, clearly, it will never end.

This month, it happened — again — on a cruise ship.

While Holland America's Oosterdam was moored in Seattle, 400 cancer survivors went on the ship to celebrate. They celebrated being cancer survivors and they celebrated the fact that corporate giants like Holland America care enough to be their hosts. It wasn't a fundraiser, per se, but every time cancer survivors gather it creates awareness, which creates support.

In this case, the support is in the name of Komen Puget Sound, part of a national organization founded in memory of Susan Koman, who lost a three-year battle with breast cancer at age 36. The foundation, known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is the largest fundraiser for breast cancer in the U.S. and its financial support is down by 25 per cent ($1 million), in part at least because of a Planned Parenthood controversy earlier this year.

To its credit, Holland America stands by beside its long-time partner, which has been the beneficiary of $3 million raised by the cruise line and its passengers.

For that, everybody connect to cancer — in other words everybody — should be grateful.

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
February 3, 2013
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $479
Cost per day: $68

October White Hot Parties in the Pink

On Friday night we went to a high school football game. Many of the players were wearing pink shoes. Online newspapers — the Miami Herald for one — has a pink background on its front page. On yesterday’s football telecast, FOX fashion-plate Terry Bradshaw was wearing a pink tie and hankie. Many NFL players have pink somewhere on their uniforms.

It’s all because this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, of course. It also says something about how far we’ve come when men can wear pink — especially macho men — without being teased or even bullied for displaying what has always been regarded as a “girly” color. Doesn’t it?

What it says most is that everybody is joining the army to fight breast cancer. Norwegian is one of the cruise lines that’s on board and, in typical Norwegian style, it’s doing so in a unique way. As NCL cruisers know, at least once on every cruise there’s a “white hot party” where they dress in white, from head to toe, and follow cruise ship dancers around the deck partying long into the night.

This month it’s a “pink hot party.” The only official color change is that the White Hot Party T-shirts will be pink. A portion of proceeds from T-shirt sales will support the fight, via the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which has invested $1.5 billion in the search for a breast cancer cure.

However, chances are NCL will find its residents showing up to the party — nine of its 11 ships are participating — wearing not just the pink T-shirts, but pink head to toe. Well, some will.

Even some who are macho.

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