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Buddy Cruise Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Birth Defects & Genetic Diseases, Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Health, Specifically Named Diseases

Mission: To provide educational resources, awareness, inclusion and advocacy for individuals with special needs and their families.

Target demographics: Serving individuals with special needs and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4, 000

Geographic areas served: The Buddy Cruise! A Life Changing conference at Sea...and SO much more!

Programs: The Buddy Cruise, THe INSPIRE Program, Buddy Cruising in the classroom, Ambassador program and Buddy Gives Back. Learn more at www.buddycruise.org

Community Stories

101 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Allison T.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love buddy cruise. I get to see my friends and meet new friends. I can’t wait for this years buddy walk at sea!

Buck N Sue C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group of people loves helping those who many others have cast to the side. They have devoted their lives to helping individuals with Down Syndrome and other disabilities have a better life. Our son loves to cruise and we all feel accepted and loved by the Buddy Cruisers. Thanks so much!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the parent of individuals with special needs, vacations aren't always something you think you will experience. You are concerned people won't understand your kids or your family. Then, BUDDY CRUISE! It's a vacation, a wonderful family experience, a conference and so much more. For us, it's a dream come true. The most unexpected result of this experience was the new family we gained. Whether it's your first time or you have gone every year, you are part of this amazing family.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is an incredible resource for family, friends, caregivers & loved ones of individuals with special needs. A great time cruising with people who get it. One Buddy Cruise & you are part of the family for life.
A much needed resource...and so much fun you can't believe it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I might be biased because my BFF Pamela is a director of Buddy Cruise and her awesome kids came up with the idea to cruise and educate. But, my family and I are more than inspired by this amazing group. I’ve met people who are not “associated” with Buddy Cruise but plan their cruises at the same time as Buddy Cruise because they are so inspired by this group of wonderful people.. I can not say enough about all these wonderful inspirational people!

karenjp0915

Client Served

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise is family! This fall will be our fifth cruise. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other families in the special needs community, enjoy fellowship, learn (there is a conference on board), dance, sing and just enjoy a week at sea with some amazing people. We love it - and you will too!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This fall will be our fourth Buddy Cruise and we absolutely cannot wait! We were hooked from the start - fantastic conference, wonderful cruise staff to assist, beautiful scenery, exclusive excursions, fabulous food. Very accommodating for any family with special needs. Every year, it keeps growing because the secret is out - Buddy Cruise is THE BEST!

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Most amazing nonprofit organization I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody is your family whether you know them or not. We go in early now just to be able to hang out with people that we will be cruising with.

Maria141

Client Served

Rating: 5

Buddy cruise is like a huge family reunion. They combine FUN and education for a week experience your family will not forget. BuddyCruise..bet you can't do just one!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise does many amazing things for amazing people. My daughter's and my first cruise ever was on Buddy Cruise and we now have a new family. This cruise gives any one with a "Disability " a chance to meet new friends, Dance, have fun and be them selves along with some informative sessions for parents, guardians and caregivers.

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Pamela Ferry G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise has become family. This is the highlight of our daughter’s year! We have been on 5 Buddy Cruises now and both me and my husband also look forward every year to the Buddy Cruise as we have also made friends that have become Buddy Family, truly a week of education and memories. Our daughter has made Buddy friends that keep in touch all year long, can’t wait to see what speakers and memories wait for us in September!

Melissa

Board Member

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise is more than a non-profit. Buddy Cruise is family, friends - laughing, learning, enjoying a mini vacation.
It’s an educational conference at sea, mixed with making new friends, dinners dancing and excursions at exotic ports
Of call.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise is the best family conference we attend each year. My daughter looks forward to meeting new friends, and I enjoy meeting other families with loved ones with disabilities to share information and
Experiences.

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Stefani H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have the best time cruising with the Buddy Cruise family. The dances are my favorite but the conference speakers are always so good. Such a great opportunity for families to vacation with other families like theirs. Memories that last a lifetime.

Amanda Jane F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was great!! Had a great time and will do it again

1 deborahlovebradhsaw

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been traveling with the Buddy Cruise since 2011 and it is still an amazing, fun experience each time! We love the activities, the people, the conference on board the ship and everything about the event. It is expertly run and well managed. We love that we feel that the fellow Buddy Cruisers are now family.

The Buddy Cruise does an amazing job of showing the world that people with differing abilities are more alike than different. We get on board the ship with people asking why they picked this week and get off with them planning to join us next year! Where else can you literally change the world one cruise at a time!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the first moment we joined the group, we were welcomed with open arms. It was educational, fun, refreshing, enlightening and so much more. We fell in love with the Buddy Cruise organization and the people. We now volunteer our time to help others experience that same wonderful feeling we had about the Buddy Cruise. One of the coolest effects to observe is how the other passengers interact and learn about our family members. It is amazing to see what a difference the week makes. We are definitely Buddy Cruisers for life!

bamagrl93

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We love love love Buddy Cruise! Our family has been on (4) of them, and A Mother's Rest is a proud supporter of their family trips every year.

Laura C.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

2017 was our first Buddy Cruise. And let me tell you, we are hooked! The atmosphere was energizing!! We made so many lifelong friends! Even the non cruisers joined in the fun

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Five years ago I went on my first cruise with this amazing group. Each year I’m more excited than the year before to get together seeing old friends and making new one. If you would like to see individuals that focus on ability versus disabilities please come join us. Be prepared to have the time of your life with some of the most incredible people. You will not be disappointed.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family loves Buddy Cruise! We come every year because it’s so much fun, it’s educational, we get to reconnect with friends we don’t see the rest of the year, and because it’s just good for us. All the programs, activities, seminars are top notch. Pam and Jorge go above and beyond to make each Buddy Cruise an unforgettable experience, and they are successful. We tell everybody about Buddy Cruise because we want other families to experience what we do on Buddy Cruise-love and acceptance and an experience that will make them want to come back year after year!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the amazing opportunity to go on the 2017 Buddy Cruise! The organization of this event was phenomenal! The organizers and all involved facilitators went above and beyond any requirements, and crossed over into making this the experience of a lifetime. This event should be on everyone's bucket list. I was humbled to be able to be a part of it.

Melvin J W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was our first cruise and Buddy Cruise treated us like family from the first moment we entered the hotel lobby. They are a great group of people demonstrating that there are no disabilities but different abilities that truly make a difference. They go above and beyond to show love.

Shannon M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been in 9 buddy cruises!! Cannot wait for #10! Nothing gets better than this experience!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Buddy cruise allows my family to have a safe, educational and relaxing vacation all in one.

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Norm M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Can't beat Family and Education and plenty of FUN! Very inspiring, and the whole family loves going!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing group of people. Very helpful and informative. One of the greatest bonding experience for any person with any special need. I have a daughter with Down Syndrome it's hard to find activities she enjoys. Once you board the ship you don't stop smiling.

Ashley Marie H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization only went once this will be second cruise and the friends I have made have become like a another family. I love the Buddy Cruise .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise is an awesome organization. So many families with disabilities, from across the globe, come together to attend fun events and workshops; building lasting bonds.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My 36 year old son has Down syndrome. Prior to his first Buddy Cruise in 2008, he was very hesitant to travel with us (my wife and I are retired). He enjoyed the cruise so much that he has since travelled with us to 36 countries. The travel on the Buddy Cruise is not the main attraction, it is the opportunity to meet with others who are in the same "boat", so to speak. The 2017 cruise will be our 4th. We are both on the Steering Committee of our local Special Olympics and the timing sometimes conflicts with the Buddy Cruise. He looks forward to this event every year.

Previous Stories
3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been on two Buddy Cruises with my 30 year old son, who has Down Syndrome. It was a great opportunity to meet others in the same situation. My son and I both made new friends and had some nice trips. Patrick has travelled extensively with his mother and me. The Buddy Cruises were a good way for him to meet some peers. It was a good opportunity for me to meet some of the other parents and speakers to know that we are not alone.

Review from Guidestar

Andrea105

Client Served

Rating: 5

LOVE LOVE LOVE this team! Such a special, extended opportunity for fellowship and life skills learning aboard the Buddy Cruise! We make friends for life and I encourage ANY family with ANY extra needs to participate if you're able.

camarodelacoke

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Where did I even start. From Jet skiing in Saint Martin to Dune buggy's in Jamaica to Dancing the night away to workshops with other families, buddy cruise has greatly impacted the lives of many families, mine included. What we have here isn't just a group, but a family where everyone is not only accepted but truly cared for. The networking within the group is phenomenal in connecting families with similar situations, along with offering a grand support group within itself. My family has been part of Buddy Cruise for 5 Years now & we are lifelong members. Come check us out & get involved!

Gina Terrasi G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hands down the best vacation we have ever had! We went to have fun and meet other special needs families and walked away with friends for life!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This will be our first Buddy Cruise and we are so excited. The amount of information, help and support in the pre-planning has been nothing less than excellent. Everyone is so friendly, making this so much less stressful for first-time Cruisers like us!

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the best family vacations ever. Made many life time friends. We now go every year. My daughter asks to go many times during the year.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we found out about Buddy Cruise, the thought of taking my brother-in-law who is now 58 and has Down Syndrome on a cruise with is peers intrigued us. We found out how fantastic the people who plan this event every year are. They make sure there are activities to include all folks no matter what their disability, chances to do something you can not do at home, and make new friends who you can keep in touch with through the year.
My husband and I have taken my brother-in-law on the Buddy Cruise 3 times now and it has been an forgettable experience each time.
Buddy Cruise has the most caring and helpful people working to make the experiences unforgettable to the people who attend whether they are young or old, family or friends.
I would recommend this cruise to anyone who has a family member or friend with a disability.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family first found out about the Buddy Cruise several years ago while we were living in Alaska, and have since attended 3 sailings. It has been a fantastic experience for us being the person in our family who has a disability is my 57 year old brother in law with Down Syndrome.
The experience of going on a ship for him has been wonderful great. There are so many people and being with his peers makes him very happy. Even though he is older, there are always activities he can participate in.
Jorge and Pam Arnoldson who founded Buddy Cruise, their family and the crew who help them (they work year round) every year, think of everything for the inclusion of the participants no matter what age. Parents are always included each trip with seminars to help them cope with happenings in their lives.
I can't say enough about the Arnoldsons and the cruise. Anyone who has a child, sibling or any member of their family with a disability should attend a Buddy Cruise to have a fantastic memorable experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We cruise ALOT. But traveling with three special needs children is challenging and at times, in the past, isolating. UNTIL we met Buddy Cruise! From my first contact with Pam Arnoldson (director of BC), I felt like family! Not many understand an autistic child with sensory issue that cries and hides because the "lights were too bright" or a child with difficult to understand speech, or children with very complex medical issues, but Buddy Cruise understands and welcomed us. We travel with a suitcase of meds, IV poles and pumps- not a problem for BC.
In the past we may have "travelled " but never felt "included". With Buddy Cruise we were not only included- we had an instant sense of "belonging".
I loved advocating for our children on the Buddy Walk at Sea and showing folks that our kids are more alike than different.
We made great friends, formed strong bonds and enjoyed chatting with people who truely do understand.
The workshops were fabulous- so much to learn.. There was great food and fun and the time went by WAY to quickly. We are registered for BC 2916 and will book soon for 2017.
THIS is acceptance, equality, love and family fun.

Debbra K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise Inc.-Lithia, FL in three words… AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION! 2015 was the first year my sister and I stumbled across their website, BuddyCruise.org by way of search engines affiliated with Down syndrome. As a sister, caregiver, and a nervous nelly about travel all together I spent just a couple of hours discussing and pointing our family, friends, and my sister’s physicians to Buddycruise.org regarding this opportunity, their response was very positive and encouraging. From the time I contacted the assigned travel agency until the time we returned home, the entire Buddy Cruise organization was very prepared, responsive to all my questions, and made us feel part of a much bigger family. We were welcomed with so many hugs, included in a variety of activities, educated about additional resources, and made many forever friends. The Buddy Cruise organization has given us an opportunity to share our story and experiences on a day-to-day basis with people we work with and meet along life’s journey. Thank you Buddy Cruise Inc.! We’re excited to be seeing you and making more forever friends in 2016!

1 Teresa

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having been with Buddy Cruise since its inception in 2008, I have seen this organization grow. What started off as just a conference at sea has become like a yearly family reunion. I have met so many amazing people and it is truly a blessing to call them my friends.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on every Buddy Cruise since the first sailing. At the beginning of each cruise you barely know anyone but by the end, it is like we are one big family. The cruise includes a variety of amazing speakers and between the entertainment that the cruise line has and what Buddy Cruise provides there is no way you will be bored. If you have the chance to join Buddy Cruise on a voyage one year, I definitely recommend it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to my first Buddy Cruise in 2015 and loved it! we went with four families and we all booked for the 2016 Buddy Cruise before leaving the ship. It's a great family to be part of!

Deborah141

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise, Inc. is one of our favorite organizations in the world and we have participated in many. We have sailed on 5 or 6 Buddy Cruises and each year the experience just gets even better. One of our favorite things about Buddy Cruise is the 'family' that develops as a result of the camaraderie with other passengers and families. We also love the conference, the excursions and especially the dances. This is a professionally run organization that definitely fulfills its mission and purpose!