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Carnival Cruise Lines' "Care to Play"

Visitors to popular cruise ports of call know there’s a not-so-stunning reality behind the slick ad campaigns. Which is why several grassroots and social-media-organized passenger groups and smart cruise lines are taking action. This winter is a good time to set sail — and to do some good. Here are a few examples of what’s available:

Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Care to Play, Carnival for St. Jude Kids” is available on all 23 of Carnival’s ships. Interactive onboard activities help raise treatment funds for kids around the world who are suffering from cancer. (800) 764-7419, www.carnival.com
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Princess Cruises’ Susan G. Komen walk

Holland America Line promotes “voluntourism” by helping passengers turn shore excursions into volunteer efforts that benefit local nonprofits. (877) 932-4259, www.hollandamerica.com

Princess Cruises regularly holds onboard run/walks to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (800) 774-6237, www.princess.com

Together for Good is a grassroots/social-media-driven organization (headed by Family Travel Network’s Nancy Schretter) that marshals individuals and professionals eager to turn cruising the Caribbean and Mexico into a humanitarian effort. www.togetherforgood.org