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Cruise lines, crews and passengers step up to help hurricane victims

From upper left, clockwise - a Royal Caribbean crew member with supplies, evacuees lined up to embark a ship, an evacuee is welcomed aboard a Royal Caribbean ship with refreshments, Norwegian Cruise Line's Andy Stuart greets evacuees brought aboard Norwegian Sky to Miami From upper left, clockwise - a Royal Caribbean crew member with supplies, evacuees lined up to embark a ship, an evacuee is welcomed aboard a Royal Caribbean ship with refreshments, Norwegian Cruise Line's Andy Stuart greets evacuees brought aboard Norwegian Sky to Miami (Photos: Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line)

Cruise lines that operate in the Caribbean, their crews, shoreside employees and passengers have been pitching in on Hurricane Irma relief in an array of ways.

Norwegian Cruise Line delivered 35 pallets of supplies to hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas aboard Norwegian Sky and brought back nearly 1,000 stranded visitors and displaced residents.

'In my 30 years of working for Norwegian Cruise Line, it was my proudest moment,' president and CEO Andy Stuart said on the ship's return to PortMiami Friday. 'Hearing the stories directly from those who survived the storm and seeing the emotion and relief on their faces as they stepped off the gangway was a moment I will never forget,' he added.

In a blog Stuart described how crew members had spent the transit time en route to St. Thomas preparing supplies, from the carpentry team gathering plywood, tarps, hammers and nails to the housekeeping department preparing sheets and towels.

Norwegian Sky crew rallied with 15 pallets of personal donations, including items such as toiletries and clothing.

Royal Caribbean International mobilized three ships to provide immediate help with provisions and evacuation efforts.

Adventure of the Seas made a humanitarian stop at St. Maarten a week ago and Majesty of the Seas made a humanitarian call at St. Thomas Tuesday and at St. Maarten Sunday to provide supplies and transport evacuees. Empress of the Seas is preparing to deliver provisions to Key West.

So far the line tallies it has evacuated 1,700 people, delivered more than 20 pallets of medical supplies, 5,539 gallons of water, 7,831 gallons of milk, 4,200 rolls of toilet paper, 67,500 garbage bags and 13,050 pounds of animal supplies.

Plus, parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has committed to match donations up to $1m by passengers and crew from Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises to aid Hurricane Irma relief efforts. Those efforts are via World Vision and include tarps, tents, blankets, medical supplies, hygiene kits, food, buckets, water filters and more.

And, as earlier reported, Carnival Corp. & plc, the Miami Heat Charitable Fund and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10m in funding and in-kind support.

As part of this, 11 Carnival Cruise Line ships will carry supplies to areas of Florida, Caribbean island nations and parts of the Bahamas that were impacted.

The Carnival brand also set up a program enabling travelers to donate directly to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts via Carnival Hurricane Relief. Princess Cruises created a matching fund through its Community Foundation for employee donations to support hurricane relief via the American Red Cross. The Community Foundation additionally set up an initiative on board Princess ships to gather donations from passengers and crew. These will be matched up to $100,000.

And P&O Cruises UK set up a campaign to support hurricane relief through donations directly to UNICEF.

The Walt Disney Co. is committing $2.5m to help the efforts of the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children and other nonprofit organizations. Plus, contributions from Disney employees to eligible relief and recovery organizations are being matched dollar for dollar via a company foundation program.

During Irma, Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line donated meals, provided storage for supplies and power-utility vehicles, gave bedding to shelters and made rooms available for first responders. Disney also will be donating goods and services throughout the region as specific needs are identified.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line opened its ship for several nights at the Port of Palm Beach to people needing housing and served free, hot meals to first responders.

Posted 17 September 2017

© Copyright 2017 Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd.

Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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