It's part of sailors' unspoken code of ethics that any oceangoer will help another when they are in need. Anyone who regularly casts off from shore knows that one day it might be them that needs aid (be it a life-saving rescue or just a hand with a mooring line), and this includes cruise ship captains.
Holland America Line's MS Noordam upheld her end of the code yesterday in Alaska, where she was called upon to assist 41 people on board a sightseeing boat. The 79-foot vessel, called Baranof Wind, was experiencing mechanical issues and received assistance from the Noordam and Captain van Donselaar. A tender was lowered and the 40 tourists plus a Glacier Bay National Park ranger were brought back to the Noordam where they enjoyed lunch onboard and were returned later in the afternoon to Bartlett Cove where their excursion had originated.
The Noordam then continued on her way to Ketchikan as part of her 7-day Holland America cruise roundtrip in Alaska.
Cruisers to the rescue
The Noordam is not the first cruise ship to help out people in dire straits. In January, a cruise passenger from the Oasis of the Seas went overboard near Cozumel, and was later picked up by another cruise ship's lifeboat when eagle-eyed passengers spotted him in the water.
The Celebrity Solstice was also involved in a spot of maritime rescue earlier this year when it bailed two sailors out of trouble. Noonsite.com reported that their 37-foot yacht ran aground near Malden Island, Kiribati, and the Solstice was contacted by the Honolulu Coast Guard to offer aid. The ship diverted course to pick up the sailors who hiked across the island to meet the rescue delegation, and joined the cruise on her way to Hawaii.
Last September, a cruise ship from a small local line in the Mediterranean picked up 345 Syrian refugees who were in distress when their small, overcrowded boat hit bad weather in Cyprus. They were taken to Limassol where they were given shelter and medical attention.
As mentioned in our earlier post about Carnival's new social impact travel brand, the cruise community has done good in many other premeditated ways too. From Australia-based ships bringing aid and supplies to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam to charity cruises which fundraise for worthy causes, there are many ways in which cruisers have given back.
Hope Floats is a non-profit organisation which connects cruise passengers in the Caribbean to volunteering and charity opportunities in the ports they visit. Springing from the experiences of a couple of keen Californian cruisers, it has facilitated many volunteer hours by cruise passengers - a great concept and one which we hope might expand to other cruise regions.
We would love to hear about your experiences of help and generosity within the cruise community!