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11 Sep 2017

BY Tom Parry

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Hurricane Irma: Cruise lines send ships to help Caribbean relief effort

Cruise lines have sent a number of ships to help the relief effort in the Caribbean after the region was hit by Hurricane Irma.

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The storm has caused catastrophic damage in several islands, killing at least 27 people

The storm has caused catastrophic damage in several Caribbean islands, killing at least 27 people and leaving thousands homeless as it swept across islands including St Martin, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the British and US Virgin Islands.

 

Royal Caribbean International announced over the weekend that Adventure of the Seas would make a humanitarian stop in St. Maarten on Sunday (September 10), while Majesty of the Seas was scheduled to make humanitarian calls to the island and St. Thomas to “provide supplies and also assist in transporting evacuees in St. Maarten to safety”.

 

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) said that following the storm - one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic basin – it had deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas to “bring much needed supplies and assist in a humanitarian effort that is currently being organised by the government".

 

The line announced its Miami headquarter would remain closed until Wednesday, September 13 and essential shore side staff had been relocated out of the city’s storm zone.

 

“Our call centres will be operating remotely, so please be advised that hold times in our call centre may be longer than normal. Our website will remain available 24/7. As soon as this major weather event is clear of the region and we can bring our staff back to Miami, we will re-open the offices,” NCL said.

 

Royal Caribbean added that it had readied both Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas to “assist Key West and Tampa once the impact of the storm is known”.

 

In the wake of the storm, the line cancelled a September 13 Cuba cruise by Empress of the Seas and a September 15 Bahamas departure by Majesty of the Seas.

 

A Majesty of the Seas charter due to sail today (September 11) was also cancelled.

 

Other Caribbean and Bahamas cruises by Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas are being altered.

 

Carnival Cruise Line cancelled four departures after the ports of Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Tampa were shut due to Hurricane Irma with full refunds being offered.

 

An additional six weekend departures have been delayed until tomorrow or Wednesday.

 

In an update the line said: “We are working on outreach and support for those islands already impacted.

 

“We have been in communication with officials in many of the Caribbean islands and have activated a plan to begin delivery of supplies on both an immediate and sustained, longer-term basis.

 

“These deliveries will be worked into ships’ cruise itineraries as part of our ongoing operations. And, as we await news of the full impact that Irma will have on Florida, we stand ready to provide support as needed to affected ports and communities.”

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