Samantha Takes a Cruise with Kids Wish Network

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – A young lady battling a life-threatening illness enjoys the trip of a lifetime with a cruise from Kids Wish Network.

Though she had never heard of them before, Linda had a feeling that Kids Wish Network would work their hardest to make her granddaughter’s dream come true.

She first found out about the children’s charity through a friend of hers at The Arc in Palm Beach, a center devoted to helping the families of children with disabilities. Once in touch with a Kids Wish Network, Linda told them about her granddaughter, Samantha, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor.

Wish Coordinator Jill was tasked with making Samantha’s wish to go on a cruise a reality. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist Megan and some outstanding sponsors, Jill arranged a vacation for Samantha and her grandparents that would truly show Samantha how special she is.

Starting with accommodations at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel Miami and dinner at the Hard Rock Café, Samantha’s trip was a fun-filled Carnival Cruise to Cancun, Mexico that included many surprises for the young lady.

“It was absolutely phenomenal. Everything was perfect,” said Linda of Samantha’s wish trip.

While on the cruise ship, Samantha had a blast swimming in the warm on-deck pools. “She had so much fun…she’s a little fish!” said Linda. About the rooms and the service, Linda enthused that “everyone was so kind. They all treated us so well. She [Samantha] was treated like a queen everywhere and that was just the way it should be.” Samantha even got a personal tour of the bridge courtesy of the captain and his little Maltese dog!

When the ship docked in Mexico, Samantha got a surprise call from the crew, who asked Linda what the family was planning on doing for the day. She replied that Samantha wanted to stay on the cruise ship and enjoy some more time swimming. The crew responded that they had something special planned for her and it wasn’t long before she and her grandparents were whisked away to a private cove where Samantha came nose to nose with some friendly dolphins. “You should have seen her face,” said Linda about when the crew told her that she was going to go swimming with dolphins. It was priceless.

Now that Samantha and her family are home in Florida, reality has had to come leaking back into their lives with a surgery looming on the horizon. However, with her fantasy vacation fresh in her memory, Samantha will definitely have something wonderful to keep focused on.

“We had the most amazing time,” said Linda. “It was the best vacation…it couldn’t have been planned any better. Samantha loved it.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Samantha’s wish extra special: Moose Lodge #2010, Starlight Services of Palm Beach, Carnival Cruise Lines, Hard Rock Café and the Intercontinental Hotel Miami.

Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at


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