It’s no surprise that many sailings out of Miami and in to the Bahamas were cancelled this week and last due to the path of Hurricane Irma.
What may surprise you is how some cruise lines are stepping up to provide aid to those in need. Utilizing what they have available: well stocked cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean, whose offices are based in the port of Miami, has doubled down on their efforts. First they helped to evacuate 1,500 employees and their families on its 2,252-passenger Enchantment of the Seas free of charge.
“We will be landing ice, water — anything we can land that is going to help people out,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley.
Additionally, guests who were already aboard the ship from previous sailings and wished to stay on were allowed to do so without payment.
As spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said “[We] felt that was the right thing to do.”
The Empress, docked in Tampa, will also be made available to provide aid along the Eastern Coast of Florida to residents. All details are ongoing, as damages are assessed.
“We also hope to pick up about 200 stranded travelers. We all feel that anything we can do to help out is important and necessary. We’re in a fortunate situation in that we have these big beautiful cruise ships that have these provisions and supplies that we can help with.”
The cruise line also redirected its 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas to St Thomas and St Maarten to assist in evacuating several thousand travelers and also to drop water, food, ice and other provisions that are needed. They have cancelled additional sailings to allow the ships more time in the Caribbean to aid the effected areas. Currently, the ship is expected to arrive in St. Thomas on Tuesday.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, which is also based in Florida, is also sending its ship the Norwegian Sky to St Thomas with the goal of picking up nearly 2,000 who are currently stranded on the island. The complete effort is being managed by the St Thomas government, so those needing assistance should reach out to them about passage information.
Additionally guests who were aboard the ship when it returned to port early last week and were unable to find a way out of Florida, were allowed to remain on board free of charge. The Escape sailed out to sea to safely ride out the storm and hopes to return to the Miami port by Tuesday.