For our Combat-wounded
Purple Heart Cruise
No it isn't. We considered conducting tours to destination cities like Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, etc. for our wounded heroes but determined a cruise is actually the most cost-effective way to provide a unique travel experience. It is also, simpler and easier for us logistically and less physically demanding on our wounded veterans. Our warriors don't have to board buses or check into hotels multiple times, they don't have to pack and unpack their bags multiple times, they don't have to travel in traffic for meals or entertainment. And since our wounded heroes have varying degrees of mobility, capabilities and endurance, they are never more than a few minutes from their cabins, meals or entertainment.
Aren't there better ways to help our veterans than a cruise??
There are many organizations, agencies and charities that provide services to help our veterans and they do commendable work. There are multiple groups that provide educational opportunities, job training classes, life skills training, physical rehabilitation, occupational therapy, medical treatment, marriage counseling, scholarships for children, etc. and they are all worthy goals. However, there are many wounded warriors who are caught up in this cycle for years that it becomes work without end or progress is so slow that it seems futile. Although treatment, therapy and rehab is necessary and important, a short break from the grinding routine is just as important for the mind, body and soul and that is what the Purple Heart Cruise is meant to provide along with our thanks for the service and sacrifice from our wounded warriors.
What do the vets do on board the cruise?
One of the best things about a cruise is that you can do as much or as little as you want. All meals, including room service, is included and is available around the clock so even if our vets aren't 100% that day, they will never go hungry. All on board facilities are available for their use, and many vets continue their physical therapy in the fitness centers or pools - some even take advantage of massage therapy on board. Of course, entertainment is included on the cruise, whether on the pool deck on in the showroom. We also conduct our 'Symposium at Sea' which is an on board program. But most important is the fact that our wounded heroes can have quality time with their spouses or caregivers.
What is the Symposium at sea?
Our 'Symposium at Sea' is basically an on board 'retreat' that we conduct during our days at sea. Days in port are free days for our warriors to enjoy in their own way. This year we have a featured speaker(s), and organized networking sessions, marriage counseling and social gatherings.
Do the wounded warriors actually benefit from these cruises??
We are only in our second year and are still growing and evolving. However, after our first Purple Heart Cruise, a young Marine confided in me that he suffered from 'survivors guilt' for years because he survived the IED attack that killed his best friend in Afghanistan. He told me that during the cruise he felt as if his best friend told him, that it was OK, he could let go, he could move on. For him, the cruise was extremely beneficial. We have received positive feedback from all of our 1st cruise participants and many want to return for this year's cruise.
Is a Purple Heart a requirement for attending this cruise?
All wounded warriors are recipients of the Purple Heart medal. We ask for proof of the award in the application process. Service members who were seriously injured in a training accident, an aircraft mishap, etc., will be considered on a case by case basis to attend this cruise without the Purple Heart requirement.
If my husband is awarded a cruise, can I travel with him?
It depends on the category your husband qualifies for. Some wounded warriors awarded a cruise can bring a spouse or caregiver at no cost to them. Other categories will not cover the cost. Please see the different categories and priorities in the application section of this website. The application page will be updated May 1st to accept applications for the 2016 Purple Heart Cruise.