Cruise lines depend on Caribbean islands to survive and now they are coming to the aid of some of the Caribbean islands that have been ravaged by the destructive hurricanes over the past month. Royal Caribbean canceled an upcoming cruise so that their massive ship could go on a rescue mission in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. On Wednesday, the cruise giant announced that they had canceled a voyage on the Adventure of the Seas cruise, which was scheduled to depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 30 and sail to various islands in the Caribbean. Instead, the cruise liner will travel to San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Croix to assist in the hurricane relief effort. The 1,020-foot, 137,276-ton, 3,114-passenger cruiseliner will bring donated supplies to the decimated islands as well as pick-up evacuees and bring them to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Those who had booked the September 30th cruise will receive a full refund and were offered a 25% credit if they rebook a trip in the next 30 days.
Royal Caribbean also dispatched their Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas ships to help with relief efforts after hurricanes Irma and Maria. “We have been such a part of the Caribbean and South Florida communities for so many decades. We are worried and anxious,” Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley told The Miami Herald earlier this month. “At the end of the day, we want to try to help as much as we can.” Royal Caribbean said that they have evacuated 1,700 people so far.
Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma caused much devastation to islands in the Caribbean, many of which are still without power and drinking water despite the major storms starting weeks ago. A majority of Puerto Rico is still without power and the power is not expected to be restored across the entire island for months. The Department of Defense said approximately 44% of the island’s population is without drinking water after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. On Tuesday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said Puerto Ricans are being discovered in “near-death conditions” and other described the conditions on the island as “apocalyptic.”
Other cruise lines have aided in the humanitarian efforts to help those affected by the powerful hurricanes including Norwegian Cruise Line, which sent ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten to evacuate stranded travelers after Irma as well as deliver supplies such as water, food, and clothing. Cruise giant Carnival deployed 11 ships to bring much-needed supplies to islands in the Caribbean hard-hit by hurricanes including Antigua, St. Kitts, Barbuda, and St. Maarten.
Carnival Corp., which is parent company of Carnival, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Costa Cruises and several other cruise lines, and their chairman Micky Arison have pledged up to $10 million for relief and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean and Florida. “Be assured, we will continue to bring many resources to bear for those impacted (by Irma and Maria) by providing ongoing help and support in the coming months,” Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said Tuesday.
Norwegian Cruise Line pledged to match hurricane aid donations of up to $1.25 million and Royal Caribbean Cruises have pledged to match donations of up to $1 million. NCL is also working with disaster relief group All Hands Volunteers to help rebuild schools and infrastructure in Puerto Rico damaged by Hurricane Maria. NCL’s line Oceania Cruises said it would make a donation of $500 per cabin to relief efforts for new bookings on select Caribbean sailings from December 2017 through April 2018.