Updated: Feb 4
This week we saw the latest act by the cruise industry to help the stricken people and islands of the Caribbean as Carnival committed to have one of it's ships, the 'Fascination' dock in the US Virgin Islands to provide housing & meals for relief workers. The ship will remain in place for 4 months until February 18 providing support in the aftermath of hurricane Irma & Maria.
Carnival are not alone in this support as the cruise industry has been right at the forefront in providing relief and delivering provisions, evacuating those affected or providing temporary housing or making donations to the charities directly involved in the area.
For example Royal Caribbean has used Adventure of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas to deliver everything from medical supplies to generators, food, water, ice, batteries, clothing, blankets, you name it. They have also evacuated people from the affected areas. Other lines have done the same, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise line and MSC have also cancelled cruises in order to provide assistance in any way they can. Other cruise lines such as Disney, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas have provided donations to those that can help further.
In fact CLIA have this week revealed that over $30million has been donated to the relief effort by the cruise industry, over 15 ships providing support and over 10,000 evacuated or given temporary accommodation. So, some will say that it's only right that the cruise industry does support but region, given the importance of the region to the industry....but the same goes the other way round. The cruise industry is important to the Caribbean and in a time when the industry is looking for new destinations, going further afield than ever before and investing in new parts of the world its good to know that it doesn't move on, and doesn't forget it's responsibilities, and when it comes to it....it has a heart.
The Caribbean also needs cruisers to keep coming so that it can rebuild quickly and it's important to know that the region is well and truly open!! The vast majority of ports are open for business and where ports have been closed either in the very short term or for a little longer cruise lines have adjusted the itineraries to provide an alternative port of call. There are beautiful areas just waiting for you to visit that remain unaffected such as the Bahamas, Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba. Other areas that saw damage but quickly re-opened, or had some ports damaged but others unaffected include Castries in St. Lucia, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Fort de France in Martinique. Hopefully the worst affected regions and most importantly the people of St. Thomas and St. Maartens get all the support and aid they need to get their lives back as much as possible. One day we're sure cruise ships will return but right now providing supplies to the people who need it are the industry's concern.
Your travel agent or your cruise line will be able to tell you of any schedule changes that have taken place but regardless of the fact that your itinerary may have been tweaked you are still going to go to some of the most beautiful parts of the world, you're still going to have a wonderful cruise and the region will also benefit from your visit. There is nothing to fear about going to the region and it's popularity will quite rightly continue to be as high as ever.
So if you're having 2nd thoughts about a Caribbean cruise, don't...the Caribbean is very much open for business.
If you fancy a deal for the Caribbean why note consider this offer from MSC - 9 night Fly Cruise from Dublin including 2 nights in Miami for just €1559pp.