If you’re looking for summer vacation plans that are both fun and meaningful this year, look no further. Thanks to a collaboration between The Tabernacle Choir and the cruise line Azamara, you can book a cruise to the Baltics this summer and have the net proceeds go directly to CARE, the International Rescue Committee, and the American Red Cross.
On Wednesday, April 20, the Choir announced its partnership with Azamara, which will hold two cruises visiting ports in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Germany aboard the Azamara Pursuit. The two cruises will hold a seven-night and a five-night voyage, beginning June 17 and June 24. Booking either cruise will support the charities, which help victims of conflict, famine, disease, and other crises. Should guests decide to book both cruises, there will be no repeating ports on their voyage.
Mike Leavitt, president of The Tabernacle Choir, explained at a virtual press conference that the collaboration comes as a result of the Choir having reserved the Azamara Pursuit for its 2022 Heritage Tour. But as the Choir had to cancel plans due to the surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant, it began considering other ways to serve not just audiences but those in need.
“We began to ask ourselves, Is there some way we could fulfill this mission that we have of being able to lift and inspire not just our audiences, but those in need? Is there a way that we could feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the oppressed in an alternative way? And together, we began to imagine a way that we could use this asset that was available, and to look for people who might be interested in taking a break in the summer, but [also in] making the world a better place. And so this idea was born,” he said.
The Azamara Pursuit began sailing again after the pandemic at the end of March 2022 and can hold up to 700 guests per cruise. If the berths sell out, the cruises could raise donations in the seven digit range. Full proceeds, with the exception of taxes and licensing fees (which is expected to be under 25% of the cost), will go toward the charities. Bookings will not be considered tax deductible.
While the Choir had hoped to tour this summer, Leavitt explained that the timing wasn’t possible and therefore the Choir will not be on the boat with the guests. But the Choir is happy to be meeting its larger objectives and mission by having the guests’ proceeds go to the needy.
“We are pleased to use this opportunity to honor the sacred directive to love our neighbors,” said Leavitt in a press release. “We are enormously grateful to be able to assist CARE, the International Rescue Committee, and the American Red Cross in bringing much-needed aid to those suffering worldwide and express our sincere thanks to Azamara for working with us to create this charitable cruise opportunity.”
About the Charities
Currently, CARE is working to support Ukrainian refugees who fled across the border and is delivering assistance through local partners on the ground in Ukraine, including meeting immediate needs like food, water, hygiene, supplies, diapers, and sleeping bags. It specifically focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable, which is often women, children, and the elderly. It also offers psychosocial support for those who have experienced trauma on the border.
Similarly, the IRC is working along the border in Poland, offering protection services and procuring essential items for refugees. It has been in Afghanistan since 1988 and provides protection services for women and girls, gives basic necessities for uprooted families, supports over 100 health facilities, and gives cash support to help with the growing hunger crisis there. Additionally, the charity works in the US looking for housing support, providing legal service, and helping new Americans be integrated into their communities.
The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton in 1881 and provides disaster relief in the US and around the world. In 2021, it celebrated its 140th anniversary. According to the press release, the charity “feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the United States’ blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families” and “depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission.”
Book Your Ticket
Ready to set sail? Pricing for these charitable sailings start at $999 per guest, plus taxes and fees. Visit www.azamara.com/charitycruises or call 855-AZAMARA (292-6272) to book your spot.
The five-night “Norway Sampler” cruise departing from Copenhagen, Denmark on June 24, 2022, and stopping in Norway cities Bergen, Stavanger, and Arendal, ending in the capital, Oslo on June 29, 2022 can also be booked directly here.