Cruise Lines Provide Hurricane Dorian Relief En Masse
When forecasters warned of Hurricane Dorian’s impending landfall over the Labor Day weekend, no one could have predicted the scope of devastation it would leave in its wake. The storm swallowed the Bahamian island of Abaco and stalled there for 2 days, dumping rain and beating the island with unrelenting 185+mph winds. Storm surges of 25+ feet resulted in sharks and other marine life swimming in what used to be family living areas. After Dorian finally moved from Abaco the next target was Grand Bahama with Freeport in its bullseye. Abaco was reduced to a wasteland and Freeport suffered significant damage. The devastation was widespread, complete and staggering. Several cruise lines provide hurricane Dorian relief in a time of need!
The relationship between the Bahamas and the cruise lines has deep roots, so when Dorian moved out the cruise lines moved in. As in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they didn’t wait to be asked. Carnival Cruise Line’s corporate parent and its chairman pledged a total of $2 million toward hurricane relief efforts in the islands. Carnival Corporation also announced an agreement with the Bahamas emergency management agency (NEMA) and Medley-based Tropical Shipping to help fund delivery of donated food and supplies collected across South Florida. To date, Carnival Corporation has delivered 10 million pounds of relief supplies to the Bahamas.
Royal Caribbean committed $1 million to Dorian disaster relief and ITM, their partners in the Holistica joint venture developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, donated an additional $100,000. The donation includes matching every dollar of guest and employee donations to the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) up to $500,000. They secured space on a container ship for additional supplies, delivering 47,000 bottles of water, toilet paper, 7,500 lbs. of pet food, 250 tarps, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 diapers, 53,000 boxes of cereal, 500 flashlights, and 362 generators. As part of their commitment, Royal Caribbean crewmembers prepared 20,000 meals a day for several days and dispatched a flotilla of ships, including Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas, to make a stop in Freeport and deliver freshly prepared hot and cold meals to the devastated community.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line began accepting monetary donations online through its partner, Mission Resolve, as well as donated supplies at its Riviera Beach warehouse. Grand Celebration also transported Florida stranded Bahamian residents home at no cost to any volunteer or Bahamian resident. To make this possible, the ship’s previously planned departure was cancelled. The humanitarian effort included evacuating Bahamian residents to the U.S. The September 21, 23 and 25 sailings on Grand Celebration were cancelled as the line continued to work with the Bahamian government and its partners to determine the best course of action for relief efforts.
Norwegian Cruise Line committed $2 million for All Hands and Hearts to begin an immediate short-term response to assist with rebuilding efforts across the areas impacted by the storm. To address the immediate need for assistance, Norwegian Breakaway departed Miami on September 5 with hurricane relief supplies donated by the company’s employees, in addition to items collected by the City of Miami, Baptist Health South Florida, the 305 Gives Back foundation, and other organizations, which were delivered to Nassau, and the company’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The company transported supplies to the Bahamas each week on Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun to support shelters in Nassau for Abaco evacuees.
Those who work in the industry aren’t surprised by the generosity of these companies and their employees. The Bahamas is in the cruise industry’s DNA and its commitment is enduring. It’s been inspiring to see.