Not long after the start of our Hawaii and Polynesian voyage, both passengers and crew of the ms Rotterdam started collecting items to donate to a school and medical facility on the very small island called Tabuaeran, formerly known as Fanning Island.
The passenger donating part was taken care of by Mr. Richard Smith and the on-board Cruise Critic group at the time. Crew members donated their items through our Human Resources Manager Natalie Ansari. The Rotterdam was scheduled to visit Fanning Island on day 12 of the cruise and although we passed the international dateline just before arriving, we managed to find the beautiful beaches of this remote place belonging to the Kiribati island group.
Ten days of collecting donations from both crew and passengers resulted in a full tender of useful things for the less than 2,000 inhabitants. We gathered over 50 boxes of medical supplies and school material. Some swell and wind did not prevent a dedicated team of housekeeping guys assisted by myself and our Hotel Manager Hans Dernison from sailing towards the locals in need of useful stuff. After all, ships visit the island very rarely.
Boxes of fresh fruit, clothing, books and all items collected by our passengers were dropped off at the pier and transported to the donation booth, not far from the beach. All crew and passengers involved were thanked by the donation committee by handing over some local craftwork to the ship’s staff. After a walk along the beach and a last picture of little girls in nice dresses singing and dancing, the Rotterdam lifted anchor and sailed away to her next destination.
The Rotterdam will return to the island in January 2011. We sure will do some follow up on this successful project. A big thanks to crew and passengers of the Rotterdam during the Hawaii and Polynesian Voyage (22 November – 22 December 2010), who made this event possible.
Ronald de Bloeme is Rotterdam’s Safety, Environmental & Health Officer.