Bravo to Princess Cruises for its second edition of Cruising for a Cause”—a theme journey that celebrated CPR awareness and a benefit for the American Heart Association (AHA) that was expected to raise $1 million for the organization’s heart health programs and educational outreach. It certainly proved an eye-opener that inspired, informed and delighted that was fortuitously scheduled during Valentine’s Day.
In addition to seminars and speeches by experts in the heart health field, the journey featured the usual sybaritic diversions and culinary experiences. You could spend the day in the serene Adult Sanctuary high up on deck 18, sitting by one of three inviting swimming pools, watching movies indoors and outside, attending shows, playing paddle tennis, bridge, working out in the well-provisioned fitness center, having treatments at the Lotus Spa and much more.
There were two port days during the five-day round tripper from Fort Lauderdale, one in Cozumel and the other in Grand Cayman. During both Richard and I opted for snorkel excursions to beautiful beaches, one at Playa Mia in Cozumel came with a buffet lunch, open bar and access to water sports.
Every lecture, demonstration and speech proved well-done and educational. We learned a few new heart-healthy tricks which are basically to keep moving, eat smart by reducing fats and sodium and adding lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet, and that women are at a greater risk for heart attacks than most of us realize. Not such a good thing to learn but it came with advice that could saves lives such as stopping smoking, exercising, reducing stress and taking care of ourselves (many females provide more care for others than themselves).
The behemoth Ruby Princess proved the perfect venue for this theme cruise providing plenty of space for CPR demonstrations, dance classes and healthy cooking sessions. There were also fun production shows as well as a performance by a comedian and another by a magician.
A deep-tissue massage at the Lotus Spa from Christine of the Philippines was exceptional, the spa could learn a few tricks, though, such as adding hair dryers and moisturizers to the changing room. Also the men’s steam and sauna were out of order when Richard went for his massage, but at least he said the rub was excellent.
Princess announced that they will match a portion of each passenger’s cruise fare, totaling approximately $500,000 with an additional $500,000, for a total of $1 million. The proceeds will be used to support the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, with one in every three deaths attributable to heart disease and stroke,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Because we care about the health and well-being of our employees, passengers, and all members of the Princess family, we felt the American Heart Association would be the perfect fit for our second charity cruise.”
Distinguished guests on the cruise included:
- Dr. Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS –absolutely riveting performance by one of the few female cardiothoracic surgeons in the world with specialization in heart failure, heart transplantation, and artificial/mechanical heart technology. A nationally recognized expert on heart disease in women, she is currently the Director of Women’s Cardiac Services at Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, where she is developing a Multidisciplinary Women’s Health Center to address the cardiac needs of female patients.
- Jesse Sapolu – it was hard to believe that this four-time Super Bowl champion (heplayed center and offensive guard for the San Francisco 49ers during his15 year football career) had a heart attack. Jesse spoke candidly about his ordeal.
- Chef Marc Anthony Bynum – he taught us how to prepare a low-cal tiramisu (probably didn't think that was possible) with egg whites and other ingredients and basically tricks for lowering the fat and salt content of recipes while still maintaining flavors.
- Ary Nunez –This bundle of energy and fitness expert is a celebrity personal trainer who showed her passion for teaching people to get out and exercise. She taught classes on board and became a role model for female passengers.
- Diana von Welanetz Wentworth – The award-winning author and national speaker spoke from the heart about her own cardiovascular issues. He talk was definitely inspirational for women. "Women are always taking care of others," she warned,"But you really need to pay attention to yourself." o
- David and Karen Gamow – The authors of “Freedom from Stress,” the Gamows have provided workplace stress management training to clients including NASA, CBS, GE, Marriott, Intuit, Nokia, Stanford School of Medicine, and the U.S. Army. The founders of Clarity Seminars, they have personally trained more than 20,000 people throughout North America to reduce stress and change their lives for the better.
- Bernie Kopell – one of the stars of the "Love Boat" TV series. The personable actor played the "Doc" on the show and wore the outfit on the cruise. He mingled with passengers and autographed his photo for anyone who asked. .
We’re hoping Princess is planning a third Cruising for a Cause to get help get the word out and motivate people to pay more attention to their heart.