They've spent 152 days at sea - sacrificing christmas with their families to help others in desperate need of vital aid.
But today, sailors on board HMS Illustrious finally returned to Portsmouth to a rapturous welcome.
The vessel was due to return in December but was diverted to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan to help with the relief effort.
Although it's a month later than planned, today's homecoming was an emotional reunion for the families of the 650 crew on board. Richard Jones reports.