Cruise line company Royal Carribean International has sent one of its cruise ships to Sint Maarten port, the Caribbean to take evacuees as part of the Hurricane Irma relief efforts, the US Government said.
“In coordination with the US and local governments we are dispatching ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten and stand ready to assist Key West, Tampa and other locations,” the company said on Sunday.
As informed, Adventure of the Seas will make a humanitarian stop in St. Maarten on Sunday and Majesty of the Seas will make humanitarian calls in St. Thomas and St. Maarten to provide supplies and also assist in transporting evacuees in St. Maarten to safety.
Additionally, Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas will be on standby to assist Key West and Tampa once the impact of the storm is known.
As a result of the move, the sailings of Empress and Majesty of the Seas planned for September 13 and 15 for Cuba and Bahamas cruises respectively have been canceled.
Sailings for Allure, Harmony, Oasis and Enchantment of the Seas have been modified with predominantly pushed departure dates and changed itinerary.
“Hurricane Irma is a category 2 storm with sustained winds of 110 mph. The eye of the storm is moving north at 14 mph through Naples and is expected to pass between Tampa and Orlando. The storm should exit the Florida area late Monday, pre-dawn Tuesday,” the company’s Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet, said in his latest forecast.
Carnival Cruise Line has also joined the relief efforts, as it is scheduled to deliver supplies to St. Kitts later this week via Carnival Fascination, which is home ported in San Juan, and Grand Turk soon.
“We are communicating with officials in many of the Caribbean islands and are working on a plan to begin delivering 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,” the company informed.
Carnival added that its CEO Arnold Donald sent a letter to the leaders of multiple Caribbean islands to ask them to advise what kind of support from Carnival Corporation would be most valuable.
Due to the impact of the storm, the company had to cancel several sailings affecting Carnival Splendor, Ecstasy, Liberty and Paradise planned for September 9, 10 and 11 respectively.
The Carribean was hit badly by the hurricane, which clamped down on the popular tourist attractions, wrecking havoc on the tourist island of St. Martin.
The Dutch Navy sent two ships to the island to assist with the relief efforts, Zs.Ms. Zeeland and Zr.Ms. Pelican, the priority being water supply.
Separately, the Dominican Ministry of Tourism reported that the country’s tourist destinations were not negatively affected by Hurricane Irma and are up-and-running as usual.
Airports, roads and ports are operating without interruption as well as public services, such as water and electricity, in touristic areas. As disclosed, the cruise ports were not damaged and are re-establishing operations.
“Hotels and resorts are back to normal and welcoming tourists,” said Dominican Tourism Minister Francisco Javier García.
World Maritime News Staff