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Helping Make Wishes Come True With Make-A-Wish & Royal Caribbean

MIAMI, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  My name is Emma Gillings and I've worked for Royal Caribbean International since 2005. I am an Adventure Ocean Manager and my role onboard is to oversee all Youth and Family activities ranging from Babies in the Nursery to Teen Discos.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130304/CL69677 )

One of the greatest and most rewarding aspects of my job is that I get to be the personal contact for any family sailing with us from Make-A-Wish ®.

Royal Caribbean not only raises money for Make-A-Wish with our Walk for Wishes and Destination Joy months, but also hosts a number of families who are granted their wish onboard any of our ships. We get families from all over the world who come sail with us and I make it my goal to give them a vacation experience they will never forget!

The wishes made by the children range from anything to a family Caribbean cruise to swimming with dolphins or my own personal favorite – being the Captain and getting to blow the ship's horn! I had one six year old boy onboard who once got up to the Bridge, sat in the Captain's chair and didn't want to leave. He started commanding the Bridge Officers to do things and made everyone call him "Captain". He had his own Captain's hat and a wide smile on his face that his mother said she had never seen before! We had to draw the line when he started trying to push the buttons and move the steering wheel but luckily he was still young enough to listen to his mom when she explained he has to wait until he's old enough to drive a car before he's allowed to drive a cruise ship.

All of the wishes create lasting memories for the children however what I find amazing about the families coming on a cruise is that everyone gets something out of it.  It is often the first vacation the family has had in years, or as many families tell me, the only time they have been out of treatment to go away for longer than a day or two. Whether it is their siblings, their parents or friends sharing the wish with them – we always try to make sure every person in the family gets their very own personalized VIP treatment such as a spa treatment for Mom, free arcade credits for the teens, a personal meeting with Shrek or the gang from Madagascar.  For the younger kids, meeting the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers from our onboard production shows and behind-the-scenes tours of our theaters and galleys is always popular, and of course the all-time favorite, a bridge tour for the entire family with the Captain.

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