As Irma, now a tropical storm, continues to pass near northern Florida and into Georgia, the cruise industry is sending ships to help those affected by the storm in the Caribbean.
Norwegian Cruise Line reports it has deployed the Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to bring supplies and assist in a humanitarian effort that is being organized by the government. Affected U.S. citizens on St. Thomas should email their name, gender and last known position to the State Department at IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
Norwegian also used Norwegian Escape to help approximately 4,000 displaced guests who were unable to secure flights home ahead of the storm. The ship will depart Cozumel, Mexico, tonight at 5 p.m. and sail toward Miami, where it will dock once PortMiami reopens.
Royal Caribbean reports that it is coordinating with the U.S. and local governments to send ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and that it also stands ready to assist in Key West and other locations.
Adventure of the Seas made 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 suppliers and assist in transporting evacuees in St. Maarten to safety. The cruise line said that Empress of the Seas is ready to assist in Key West once the impact of the storm is assessed.
Royal Caribbean has also announced that it will match donations up to $1 million to aid Hurricane Irma relief efforts. Travel agents can donate here.
On his Facebook page Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald reports that the cruise line is working on outreach and support to those islands impacted by the hurricane.
“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,” Carnival said in a statement on Heald’s Facebook page.
The deliveries will be worked into ships’ cruise itineraries as part of the line’s ongoing operations. Carnival also said it stands ready to provide support for Florida as the damage there continues to be assessed, and that the Carnival Corporation Foundation is beginning to evaluate the best channels for support in the Caribbean.
The British Navy is also sending aid. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the British naval ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay arrived in Anguilla September 9 with 40 Royal Marines and Army engineers onboard, as well as equipment for humanitarian aid. The Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Ocean, is offering relief and support in the British Virgin Islands.
Earlier, Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line and the Micky and Madeline Arison Family Foundation had pledged a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which brought catastrophic flooding to Texas in late August.