Cruise for a Cure

Adventure Travel, Bahamas, Cruise, Dispatches from the Road, Extras, Hotels & Resorts, Sports & Games, Tours & Attractions, United States, Volunteering & Giving Back — By on August 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

By Holly C. Corbett

LG Executive Editor

I’ve volunteered abroad, but I’ve never purely vacationed for a cause before going on Cruise for a Cure to the Bahamas this month. Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim teamed up with Coaches vs. Cancer, so a portion of the proceeds from the cruise go to the American Cancer Society.

boeheimJim is a prostate cancer survivor himself, and led the S.U. basketball team to the national championships less than 16 months after overcoming the disease. He started his own foundation to host fund-raising events like this cruise and last month’s Coaches Vs Cancer Golf Tournament to pull in millions for research and awareness over the last few years. His foundation also gives back to the Syracuse area where I grew up with programs such as Courts 4 Kids, which builds basketball courts in parks so children in the city have places to play.

While the cruise itself was all r&r (I had my fill of make-your-own ice-cream sundaes, High School Musical flicks, and lounging by the pool), I flew into Orlando a day early for a little adventure: barefoot ski school.

florida cruiseI’d say gliding on top of the water with no skis on my feet while a speedboat pulled me at about 40 miles per hour was as almost as thrilling as hiking the Inca Trail or running the New York City marathon. My instructor, Swampy (I didn’t ask how he got his name) had me start in a harness rigged to the boat so I could get a feel for the sport before letting me try to get up on my own. I got up by the end of my lesson-once. The next day, my muscles ached in places I’d never felt before, such as the sides of my ribs. Still, I can’t wait to do it again!

Our ship, the Disney Wonder, left from Port Canaveral the following day and spent a night at sea. My friend Mike and I bypassed the all-you-can-eat buffets and went straight to the spa (luckily we had the same agenda). Afterwards, we ate mushroom polenta, steamed halibut, and tiramisu at the candle-lit adults-only restaurant, Palo. The food was amazing and the waiters remembered what we ordered when we came back again the following night.

disney cruiseWe landed in Nassau in the morning, and spent the day at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Since we weren’t guests of the resort, we paid way too much money ($110 pp) to have access to the property’s aquarium, water park, and beaches. The place was a tourist trap, of course. The packed water slides and food stands selling piña coladas could have been a scene from Anywhere, USA. The lines were long and the pools crowded. We finally surrendered to plopping ourselves down on the beach to watch the parasailers (after a man took away our beach umbrella because we didn’t have any cash left from our over-priced tickets and lunch to rent it).

The next day we docked at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (pictured above). We spotted a sting ray while snorkeling in the lagoon, read books on the beach under a (rent-free) umbrella, and kayaked along the shore. Our fourth and final day was spent at sea, and I was happy to get lost looking at the wide-open sky and endless water, laying on the deck at night and counting shooting stars.

Castaway Cay Photo Credit: www.wdwinfo.com

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