USVI tourism chief thanks Royal Caribbean, NCL, FCCA for relief missions

Adventure of the Seas is carrying more than 1,400 evacuees from the USVI to Florida Adventure of the Seas is carrying more than 1,400 evacuees from the USVI to Florida

The US Virgin Islands tourism commissioner has formally thanked Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association for helping with post-hurricane evacuations and humanitarian and relief missions.

Beverly Nicholson-Doty reported more than 1,400 people left the territory on Saturday aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas.

Some 866 passengers boarded the vessel at St. Croix on Friday, and close to 560 individuals in the St. Thomas/St. John district joined on Saturday. The ship is taking evacuees to Florida's Port Everglades, to arrive Tuesday morning.

The additional seats extended to the government of the US Virgin Islands for this sailing, once it was determined how many evacuees had boarded earlier in San Juan, allowed the Department of Tourism team at the Emergency Operations Command to clear the majority of residents and visitors who had been on waiting lists to be evacuated from the territory.

A total of 3,000 passengers have now left the USVI on mercy cruises as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Earlier, Norwegian Sky operated the first such evacuation from the territory.

Nicholson-Doty also thanked Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and, in particular, JetBlue Airways for helping to transport close to 1,500 passengers by air to date.

In total, approximately 4,500 residents and visitors impacted by the hurricanes have been evacuated by cruise ship or airplane.

'These gestures go a long way in helping people and advancing our government's efforts to return the territory to a degree of normalcy as we recover and rebuild,' Nicholson-Doty said. She noted the territory's travel and tourism partners on the US mainland have expended precious resources to 'help the people of the Virgin Islands get back on our feet and get our economy moving again.'

The commissioner reported that weekend discussions with Gov. Kenneth Mapp, members of his cabinet and the business community on St. Croix—similar to a meeting held last week in the St. Thomas/St. John district—were productive and focused on the phased reopening of the territory to land and cruise visitors.

The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas is open, and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is scheduled to open for commercial flights later this week.

Posted 02 October 2017

© Copyright 2019 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

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review