In a written statement, the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) is extending its gratitude to its cruise and airline partners for evacuating visitors and residents out of the district of St. Thomas and St. John following the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty thanked the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises for providing urgent transportation and also for delivering needed supplies to aid with Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
The Norwegian Sky departed St. Thomas on Tuesday, September 12 and arrived in Miami early Friday morning, September 15. Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas departed St. Thomas on Wednesday, September 13 and arrived the following day in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"I would like to extend an incredible thank you to the FCCA for being there to answer our call, as well as the member lines who played a major part in our evacuation efforts, and for bringing important relief assistance to our residents, " said Nicholson-Doty. "The cruise industry has proven to be our partners in good times and true friends in times of need."
She also thanked Delta Air Lines for operating a humanitarian flight from Atlanta to St. Thomas, bringing in much-needed recovery supplies and carrying out U.S. citizens to Detroit, including those with urgent medical needs. Gratitude was also relayed to JetBlue Airways and United Airlines for performing similar relief flights.
"We believe the majority of visitors have now departed St. Thomas and St. John and we are working feverishly to establish the number of accommodation options available to house relief workers as we work on rebuilding the district," said Nicholson-Doty, who promised St. Thomas and St. John will build back stronger and better.
She thanked members of her staff, some of whom suffered significant personal losses, for their tireless work over the past week, along with the many volunteers who have come forward throughout the community.