Under 'Hope Starts Here,' the company—including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises—is committing to match up to $1.25m of donations from its passengers, team members, suppliers and partners to help All Hands Volunteers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit relief organization, and Happy Hearts Fund deliver early relief response for the Florida Keys, and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean islands impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
'We are heartbroken to see the devastation that hurricanes Irma and Maria have inflicted on the Florida Keys and several Caribbean islands, where our ships have been visiting since the beginning of our 50 years in business,' NCLH president and CEO Frank Del Rio said.
'The Caribbean is part of our family, and we are grateful to work with All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund to create the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and do our part in giving back to these destinations,' Del Rio continued. 'We’re proud to start our campaign with a $600,000 donation to help begin the rebuilding efforts.'
'As the single largest donation in our organization’s history, this funding could not have come at a more crucial time as we work to rebuild communities in the US Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands after the destruction brought by recent natural disasters, hurricanes Irma and Maria,' said David Campbell, chairman and founder of All Hands Volunteers.
“We are thrilled to receive this donation from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and to work in partnership with All Hands Volunteers with their hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys,' added Petra Nemcova, founder of Happy Hearts Fund. 'This funding will allow us to together rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas most impacted by recent natural disasters to keep children safe, but also to ensure that these communities are not forgotten when the emergency response efforts are complete. Children often wait four or more years for schools to be rebuilt, and I hope that more companies will take the same thoughtful actions for long-term recovery.'
Information on NCLH's matching campaign is here.
As earlier reported, immediately following Hurricane Irma, Norwegian Sky was deployed to St. Thomas with 35 pallets of supplies, and to evacuate visitors and residents. Additionally, Norwegian Escape housed approximately 4,000 displaced passengers who were unable to secure flights home due to hurricane closures.
The company is continuing to collect essential items, including medical supplies, diapers, baby formula, water, food, construction materials, blankets, sleeping pods and more, and is working with partners on the ground to support disaster relief efforts.