Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and Florida this week, causing huge amounts of damage. The monster storm made landfalls in Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Martin, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, The Baamas, Cuba, and the United States, and in some places effectively destroyed all structures - as an example, Barbuda has lost 95% of all buildings, including the hospital and schools. Desperate shortages of water and food have become apparent in some places, and many tourists are left stranded as airports are damaged or destroyed.
With a small but still rising death toll and a wake of ruined buildings, Hurricane Irma has truly devastated the region. As is always seen with natural disasters like this one, people are mobilising to help, sending donations and doing whatever possible to ease the burden of those affected. This has included cruise lines who call the Caribbean their home, in an act of solidarity reminiscent of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in our own South Pacific cruise region.
Royal Caribbean rescue
The area ravaged by Irma is dear to the heart of Royal Caribbean, and the line has pledged to help. With a fleet of cruise ships, several unable to run their normal itineraries, they are in a good position to do just that!
The Majesty of the Seas will drop off ice, water and other much-needed supplies at the U.S Virgin Islands, and will feed first responders while there, then take evacuees to San Juan, where there is an operational airport.
The Adventure of the Seas has diverted to St. Thomas and St. Maarten to provide provisions and aid with evacuating more stranded tourists. In other areas, the line is standing willing and ready to assist where needed, particularly in Florida. The line also used one of their ships to evacuate employees from Miami ahead of the storm.
Norwegian Cruise Line aid
The line has sent their Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas to bring supplies and help with the humanitarian efforts there, as well as bringing stranded US citizens home.
In an update on their website, the line said, “Acting as a responsible corporate citizen and supporting the destinations that our ships operate in is a core value of Norwegian Cruise Line. In the wake of this devastating storm, we have deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring much needed supplies and assist in a humanitarian effort that is currently being organised by the government. As per the State Department, affected US Citizens in St. Thomas should email name, gender, and their last known location to IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.”
Of course, the hurricane has meant that many Caribbean cruises have been cancelled, altered or diverted. If you are booked on a cruise from Florida or any Caribbean itinerary, please call your cruise agent to find out about changes and cancellations.
Our thoughts are with the Caribbean and Florida at this time. If you would like to follow the lead of these cruise lines and help out, making a donation to the Red Cross Irma relief fund is a great way to do so.