Bad news, in its many shapes and forms, has afflicted humanity since day one. Be it a car crash or a tornado, no matter the headline, you dread it when you see it. But, to quote Mister Rogers, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Sympathy, empathy and compassion, wherever they’ve been employed, are testaments to our collective existence — they’re quite possibly the crowning achievement of humanity. The only thing that could top witnessing them? Acting on them yourself. It’s a big world out there, and it needs your help.
Now, helping doesn’t have to be as heroic or grand as rushing into a burning building, negotiating a peace treaty or successfully landing a malfunctioning plane on a river. Little decisions, made with purposeful intent, add up. Maybe it’s a monthly drop-off at a food bank. Maybe it’s running a charity 5K once a year. Maybe it’s planning your next vacation to the Bahamas.
Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas at the beginning of September, and for the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands, its effects are still felt today. The Category 5 hurricane ravaged the islands with 185 mph winds for a full 24 hours — damage done will take time to repair, to heal. Luckily enough, helpers abound.
Tourism is the engine to the nation’s recovery, meaning all you need to do to pitch in and help is choose any one of the Bahamas’ 14 unaffected islands as the destination for your next vacation over anywhere else in the world. The Bahamas may be open for business, but it’s not business as usual: Many leading names in travel have stepped up to help in big ways. For an idea of how you and your vacation can do the most good, consider taking a cruise with any of the following cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean’s contributions to the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian struck have been far-ranging and thorough: Besides committing over $1 million to disaster relief and matching contributions to the Pan American Development Foundation (up to $500,000), promising 20,000 meals a day personally delivered by their fleet and helping evacuate Grand Bahamian residents to Nassau, Royal Caribbean also debuted an exclusive offer of $100 in onboard spending — all in the name of driving more tourism to the island. It may not be something you actively consider while you enjoy a day of tropical bliss at Royal Caribbean’s exclusive island CocoCay, but that’s the beauty of doing good with a vacation — the benefit is intrinsically there.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also been quick to help however they can in aiding the Bahamas. With dollar-for-dollar matching contributions, they ultimately raised $2 million to All Hands and Hearts — a nonprofit with the explicit purpose of rebuilding communities impacted by natural disasters. Additionally, Norwegian has also utilized its ships to transport supplies to the shelters of Nassau and Great Harbor Cay weekly since September 5. All of this is to say, a Bahamian vacation savored onboard a Norwegian cruise ship is certain to supply goodwill in tandem with relaxation.
Due to the nature of its parent company, MSC Cruises’ approach to helping the Bahamas has been multifaceted. MSC Group is one of the world’s leading shipping and logistics conglomerates — translating to an armada of relief possibilities. While both cargo shipping and cruising are providing for immediate and longer-term relief efforts, MSC is also tackling the housing shortage head-on: Semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing is being created to give those hit hardest by the storm a place to live again. Helping with the housing is as simple as savoring MSC’s product — in this case, a Bahamian cruise.
It’s not just cruise lines that have stepped up to help out: Travel Leaders Group, parent company of Travel Leaders, recently launched our very own major initiative, “Travel Helps the Bahamas.” Using our position and platform within the travel industry, we’ve partnered with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism to help drive tourism to the Bahamas’ many unaffected islands — a rising tide lifts all boats, as they say. Our insider tips and insights, straight from the Bahamas themselves, in conjunction with the exclusive perks and amenities provided to us by our affiliated partners, makes for a vacation that isn’t just the apex of relaxing, but also a vacation doing the most good for those in need. Making a difference is as simple as clicking the button below.