Bahamas Feeding Network Volunteers Treated to 2-night Stay Aboard the Newly Amplified ‘Oasis of the Seas’
The gift of giving - 70 volunteers from the Bahamas Feeding Network enjoy a 2-night stay aboard Royal Caribbean’s newly amplified Oasis of the Seas as treat for their year-round toil and labour. Picture: Tim Aylen (BVS) for DPA
Moseff House, the humble yellow building on Fox Hill Road, is headquarters to the volunteers that churn over 6,000 meals each week. From long nights to early mornings, the Bahamas Feeding Network’s (BFN) volunteers work to serve a mission that is greater than they are. With their motto of “Give, give, give”, they are always surprised when they become the ones to receive.
“Whenever we have the chance to show our appreciation for their enthusiasm and volunteerism, we take the opportunity to show them,” said Executive Director Philip Smith. “We’ve taken them to Eleuthera a few times, but this year is very special with the support of our partner Royal Caribbean.”
Most volunteers begin preparations at 10pm and work on their feet until 3pm the following day twice a week. “We wanted them to sit down, kick off their shoes and receive some R & R,” said Smith.
The 2-night cruise on board the newly amplified Oasis of the Seas gave the volunteers a well-earned break and the opportunity to explore the ship’s new amenities.
Oasis of the Seas suffered extensive damage earlier in the year when a crane collapsed onto the ship while on dry dock. With cosmetic repairs made, Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest ship returned with the tallest slide at sea - a 10 story plunge called the Ultimate Abyss, its first escape room Apollo 18, its first BBQ restaurant Portside BBQ, spotlight karaoke and a Music Hall.
“We are pleased to have the Bahamas Feeding Network on board to enjoy the Oasis of the Seas with us,” said Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Relations Mark Tamis. “The ships renovations are incredible and we are glad that BFN gets to be some of the first persons to experience it.”
Families and friends of Royal Caribbean were the first passengers as it made its debut at the Fort Lauderdale port while celebrating the ship’s 10-year anniversary.
The trip followed BFN’s shorter visit aboard the Mariner of the Seas in early November. However, this time was different. Rather than simply boarding the ship at the Nassau harbor, the group boarded flights to Fort Lauderdale and sailed away into paradise. This was a first for BFN and it allowed them to explore every inch of all 16 decks.
The volunteers ate at new restaurants, paraded the Boardwalk, propelled down the Perfect Storm slides and danced the night away to the many musical performances. “The amplified Oasis of the Seas offered a fabulous experience with exhilarating slides that caused my heart to race and then bring me back to a place of calm and serenity where there were numerous hot tubs throughout the ship that I took advantage of,” said Bahamas Feeding Network Volunteer Shevana Wilson.
Smith explained, “Our volunteers are truly incredible. This tightly knitted group of people are my family. We take care of one another and do everything together. We are very grateful that Royal Caribbean allowed us to relax and enjoy such a special moment like this together.”
The cruise was not just fun and games. Each day, minds raced with ideas for preparation and distribution once they returned. The group was also fortunate to meet with RCL’s Global Vice President of Culinary, Dining and Beverage Linken D’Souza and his team to discuss potential plans for the organization and ways to streamline their operation.
“My heart is so full,” said another BFN volunteer. “I love cooking each week, but it is amazing to see how similar the feeling of giving is to receiving. Never did I think that we would be on a cruise together, but I am honoured to be one of the many volunteers who are able to relax and enjoy everything the ship offers.”