September 24, 2015 -
I’m Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line and I am delighted to be “guest blogging” here today so I could share with you one of the more rewarding experiences I’ve had since joining Carnival earlier this year.
Last week, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in Carnival’s annual “Day of Play” at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. During the Dr. Seuss-themed day (modeled after our popular Seuss at Sea program on our ships) we presented the hospital with a check for $5 million, representing the funds we have raised for St. Jude over the past two years – raising this money a full two years ahead of schedule I’m proud to say – and also pledged to raise an additional $10 million over the next 5 years. With this new commitment, Carnival will have donated $18 million to St. Jude by 2020!
While I am beyond proud of Carnival’s financial support of St. Jude over the years, on that day we were able to provide something perhaps even more meaningful – a day of fun for many children and their families. We applaud the work that St. Jude does on a daily basis and I am proud that we were able to play a role in bringing joy and happiness to dozens of kids: from the “Seuss-a-Palooza Parade” and Story Time with a spirited reading of Cat in the Hat to other activities like face painting, bean bag toss, a photo booth, arts and crafts, dancing and more.
Carnival is in the business of creating memories. Our founder, Ted Arison’s vision was to make a cruise vacation accessible to everyone. Many of you know that Carnival’s mission is to provide fun and memorable vacation experiences to all of our guests and our team members both shore side and shipboard do just that every day. But one of the things I love best about this company is our focus on giving back – in fact this week at our Corporate Headquarters in Miami we are hosting our first-ever Corporate Relay for Life event where our shore side team has raised over $80,000 for the American Cancer Society. And our St. Jude partnership is another great example of our commitment to charitable giving. I want to thank everyone on the Carnival team who joined me on this day and would like to thank the team at St. Jude for allowing us to be a part of it. I would also like to thank the many Carnival guests who contribute to St Jude through the various programs we have on board – we couldn’t do it without you!
For me, personally, it was also a day of great perspective and reflection. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life – stressing over life’s inconveniences like our long commute or the bad weather. But seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing the laughter in their voices reminds you to hold on to what’s most important. Making people happy and having fun is what we are all about and I’m so glad that we were able to bring some Carnival “FUN” to the children and families of St. Jude!