Great Need In The Caribbean
After the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma, Caribbean islands were still struggling to recuperate from the damage when Hurricane Maria hit the region. Among the most affected were the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, now struggling from lack of water, food and electricity. Other destinations like Dominica and Turks and Caicos were also impacted by these storms, and before that, South Florida and the Gulf Coast of Texas were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.
Several of these areas are places Royal Caribbean ships visit throughout the year, where we have relationships with the people, some for nearly 50 years now; and in the case of Miami, where our headquarters and thousands of employees are located. So our whole team sprang into action.
Royal Caribbean’s President and CEO Michael Bayley summed up our company position, saying “Having visited many of these places for almost five decades, or being headquartered there in the case of South Florida, we feel a deep connection with them and have built long-standing relationships. It’s heartbreaking to see our friends under these circumstances. With our strong sense of responsibility to our employees, their friends and families, our guests and the affected communities, we’ve been and remain committed to weathering this journey to recovery with them.”
An All-Hands Response
The intensity of these storms called for an overwhelming response from the cruise line. To start, some Caribbean itineraries were canceled and rerouted, in collaboration with Royal Caribbean’s ship captains and chief meteorologist, James Van Fleet.
Four rerouted ships didn’t only escape the storm, but they aided in humanitarian relief efforts, including the delivery of emergency supplies like water, ice, medical supplies, food and generators. They also transported people from the affected areas wherever possible.
For instance, Enchantment of the Seas evacuated the company’s very own employees and families (and their pets) based in South Florida. Majesty of the Seas was fully provisioned for a cruise before the storms hit, so the ship and all supplies were rerouted to St. Thomas, where it delivered water and ice, and took in more than 2,000 stranded travelers to evacuate them from the island. A sailing on board the 3,807-guest Adventure of the Seas was cancelled, allowing the ship to sail to Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas to pick up evacuees as well as drop off additional crucial supplies, then return to Fort Lauderdale to unload the evacuees, reload supplies and head back to San Juan.
Here’s a quick first look at Royal Caribbean’s ongoing relief efforts and dedication to seeing the region bounce back:
By The Numbers
With loads of crucial supplies delivered to the affected Caribbean islands, this breakdown shows just what went into these relief efforts:
- 5,507 people evacuated
- 30,637 gallons of water
- 25 pallets of medical supplies
- 8,000 pounds of ice
- 9,355 gallons of milk
- 13,050 pounds of animal supplies
- 110,500 garbage bags
- 4,200 rolls of toilet paper
- 30,504 batteries
- 450 generators
- 122 pets evacuated
How You Can Help
As another part of the cruise line’s efforts, Royal Caribbean will match up to $1 million in donations for relief aid. You can chip in and double the line’s donation here.
Get even more details about the vast hurricane relief efforts here, and stay tuned for more updates.