More cruise lines and resorts are offering aid to parts of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has cancelled the September 13, 15, 17 and 19 sailings on the Grand Celebration in order to use the ship to continue providing assistance. The line said that, previously, the ship had been the first to dock in Freeport following the storm, delivering 225,000 pounds of supplies and thousands of first responders and volunteers, returning with 1,100 Bahamian residents to Palm Beach. On September 13, Bahamas Relief Cruise – a 501c3 non-profit – will mobilize Grand Celebration for another humanitarian cruise. Additional humanitarian cruises may follow, the line said.
Bahamas Paradise also said that it would remain open for new bookings and that it would protect travel agent commissions.
“As we all know, tourism is the most important industry in the Bahamas and we understand the lifeline it brings to residents across the islands,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, in a written statement. “Grand Bahama is our home away from home. We are committed to providing aid to our brothers and sisters there and we look forward to returning to our traditional sailing schedule as soon as possible, as we know that will make the most positive impact on the island.”
Meanwhile, American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) reports that it has rolled out a donation system on all of its vessels to support relief and recovery efforts. Available to all guests and crew throughout the month of September, the system will collect funds toward relief efforts in partnership with All Hands and Hearts, a nonprofit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters, and in conjunction with the Government of the Bahamas.
AQSC will also contribute other supplies, such as clean towels and linens, soaps and essentials, to be loaded in Miami and sent to the islands via ships.
“The devastation that we’ve seen in the Bahamas is tragic,” said American Queen Steamboat Company EVP David William Kelly. “We are fully committed to aid in the recovery efforts and want the islands to know that we’re here to support the recovery and rebuilding of a special place that our team and guests know and love.”
Finally, Grand Isle Resort & Spa on the Bahamas’ Great Exuma island, which was not hit by the hurricane, has launched a special Bahamas Strong package bookable via its website through December 2020. The resort will donate 10 percent of the package bookings to recovery efforts in order to implement an immediate relief plan as well as provide longstanding support throughout the year.
Part of the funds will be allocated to the Red Cross to help with urgent needs such as food, clean water and shelter. To assist in the long-term reconstruction efforts, Grand Isle Resort said it plans to collaborate with trusted partners, such as the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, to support families who have lost their jobs and rebuild institutions that have been destroyed.
In addition, the hotel is organizing a clothing drive where guests can donate extra clothing or supplies. These items can be dropped off at Grand Isle Resort and the team will ensure it reaches those in the affected areas.