In the destructive aftermath of any hurricane, the business challenge to cruise lines operating is vast and immediate. After assuring safety of all, the repositioning of ships, alerting passengers and rearranging itineraries is a priority. But the response after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria was different in both scale and resolve. The business response was set aside as the humanitarian response took precedence. The immediate aid needed was on a scale no government could handle alone. In the aftermath of these three hurricanes, the cruise lines had the assets needed to assist and rose to the occasion with a speed and determination that saved many lives. Their efforts did not stop with the rescues and transporting travelers to safe havens and will continue for months and years.
My agency is a member of the Signature Travel Network, a cooperative of retail travel agencies. A week ago we met at our annual “Owners Meeting” in Phoenix, Arizona and heard firsthand from the cruise lines how the hurricanes had affected their business and what they were doing to help those in need who lived on the islands.
Here are just a few examples of how the cruise lines are helping:
◆ Royal Caribbean International sent pallets of water, food, medical supplies, animal food, garbage bags, toilet paper, building supplies and more, will continue to be delivered by our ships. RCCL has committed to match donations up to $1 million to aid Hurricane relief efforts.
◆ Norwegian Cruise Line deployed the Norwegian Sky from Cancun, Mexico to St. Thomas and evacuated more than 1,000 passengers (and their pets) to Miami. They also offloaded 35 pallets of much needed supplies.
◆ Carnival Cruise Line is delivering critical supplies to affected areas of Florida and the Caribbean. 11 ships will be delivering food, water, medical supplies and generators as part of their ongoing cruise itineraries. CCL has also partnered with the Miami Heat Charitable Fund and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation and pledged up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Caribbean.
The ships will continue to sail to islands that were not effected. If you have a future cruise booked, rest assured your cruise will still depart as scheduled. The islands you were scheduled to visit may change.
Thank you to the cruise lines, hotels and travel vendors for your continued humanitarian services.
This article first appeared on Cruise & Travel Specialists. Image courtesy of Pixabay.