Normally, they would be decking the halls and preparing a Christmas roast for tens of thousands of passengers. Instead, the skeleton crew on 23 Carnival Cruise Line ships will be spending the season away from their families, keeping a lonely vigil while their vessels wait for a COVID all clear.
Now the line has decided to try and resurrect the spirit of Christmas with an appeal to passengers to make the festive season fun for those still waiting for the pandemic to end.
The line is appealing to passengers – including Australians – to send the men and women on board its vessels Christmas cards.
John Heald, former cruise director and Brand Ambassador, made the plea for a surprise card drop directly to the ships in time for Christmas day.
And he doesn’t mean e-cards – he wants real, paper cards that the crew can open, read and string up around their cabins.
He has named his scheme Operation Happy Holidays.
He said: “The important thing is that it is a card which is far more special, far more personal than an electronic message.”
Mr Heald has organised a mailing address and has said any cards received before December 3 will arrive on one of the 23 anchored ships in time for Christmas day.
“I hope that you, all of you, will take some time to do this because your card will make a difference to the crew who miss you very much.
“Reading your cards will give them hope and rejuvenate them ready for our return to cruising when they will of course provide you with the massive dollop of FUN you all need,” Mr Heald said.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
All cards must open with ‘Dear Carnival Crew’ as specific team members or specific ships can not be guaranteed. Cards will be distributed among all team members on board.
Only flat envelope holiday cards will be accepted. Do not include any other contents in the envelope. You may send multiple cards in a large manila envelope but, please do not send cards in a parcel box.
When selecting a card, please be mindful that Carnival crew represent many cultures and holidays are celebrated in many different ways.
Please address cards with:
c/o Carnival Cruise Line
3655 NW 87th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33178
ATTN: Operation Happy Holidays
Carnival Australia is also planning to join the initiative to enable Australians to help their favourite crews. Plans are still being worked out.