Cruise Lines Commit to Help Bahamas Following Hurricane Dorian Devastation

by Daniel McCarthy
Cruise Lines Commit to Help Bahamas Following Hurricane Dorian Devastation

Disney Cruise Line, who has Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, is among the lines pledging to help the Bahamas recover. Photo: Eric Glenn / 

After the then-Category 5 Hurricane Dorian slowly made its way through the Bahamas over three days this week, causing widespread devastation, particularly at the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, authorities are just now starting to assess the full extent of the damage.

Cruise lines that call at the Bahamas, and also those that consider the area home, have begun to pledge a helping hand in the area’s recovery.

The Bahamas is home to more than 5,000 Royal Caribbean employees at Perfect Day at CocoCay and the Grand Bahama Shipyard. To help in the area’s recovery, Royal announced on Tuesday that it is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief; and its partner in its Holistica destination development venture, ITM, is donating another $100,000. Royal will also match every dollar that its guests and employees donate to the Pan American Development Foundation, its non-profit partner.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is placing much-needed supplies — including generators, water, clean sheets, and towels — onto its ships for direct delivery to the Bahamas.

“The Bahamas has always been more than a destination for Royal Caribbean and our guests,” the cruise line said in a statement announcing the donation. “So, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, we're rolling up our sleeves to help our friends, and inviting our guests to help.”

Carnival Corp.’s Arnold Donald said in a statement Tuesday that “all of us at Carnival Corporation pledge to work with you” during the rebuild. Carnival Corp. has two major projects in the Bahamas, including Half Moon Cay, and the company remains “fully committed to those projects as part of the recovery and rebuilding process,” he said.

Carnival has also pledged to donate $2 million in funding and support for the Bahamas in coordination with the Micky and Madeline Arison Family Foundation. 

Half Moon Cay, which is owned by Carnival Corp. and used by Holland America Line, only suffered minor beach erosion that Holland America Line says “will be cleaned up.” Holland American ships are scheduled to return to the island on Oct. 21.

The Walt Disney Company, led by Disney Cruise Line, which has its own private island, Castaway Cay, in the Bahamas, also pledged $1 million to help with the relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas.

“We stand with the Bahamian people, and especially those in Abaco and Grand Bahama, as they recover from the worst storm to ever make landfall in The Bahamas. As the needs in these communities are assessed, we are prepared to aid the relief and recovery efforts through funding, the provision of supplies, and by providing support to our Bahamian crew members,” Disney Cruise Line’s President Jeff Vahle said in a statement.

As for Castaway Cay, Disney said it experienced tropical-force winds during Dorian. All of Disney’s crew members remained on the island and have returned to their living quarters after sheltering during the worst of the storm.

Norwegian Cruise Line is also donating to the efforts through its partnership with All Hands and Hearts and Hope Starts Here. Norwegian will donate at least $1 million to the effort, earmarked for much needed short-term help for residents of Abaco, Granda Bahama, and other areas heavily impacted by Dorian. It will also match all donatins made through Hope Starts Here. 

"Our hearts are heavy after witnessing the impact and devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian across the Bahamas," said Norwegian Cruise Line Holding's Frank Del Rio said. 

MSC Cruises is sending a team of its U.S. senior management to Nassau, Bahamas, to talk to officials and community leaders so it can organize its own immediate and longer-term support plan. It's also organizing and delivering goods of "primary necessity" to the area's residents. 

“As a family company and one that has lived off the sea for over 300 years, we are fully committed to supporting both immediate and longer-term relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas. Our businesses have long been closely tied to The Bahamas and its people, with a rich history spanning over many decades. We now look forward to supporting their efforts to rebuild and recover in every way we can and through all our businesses," MSC's executive chairman Gianluigi Aponte said. 

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is also helping in the recovery. It is currently accepting donations through its partner Mission Resolve and, at the same time, it is opening up its warehouse for donations of canned goods, building supplies, water, blankets, and other supplies needed on the ground in the Bahamas. Its warehouse is located at 301 Broadway Ave., Bay #7, in Riviera Beach, Fla.

“Our hearts go out to all of those impacted, and we felt it was imperative to issue a rapid response, demonstrating our support through action,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. 

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