Rapid Response and Recovery Efforts Show Most of The Bahamas Is Open and Affected Areas Will Build Back Better
Miramar, Fla. (September 7, 2019) – While the slow-moving nature of Hurricane Dorian caused unspeakable destruction in Grand Bahama and Abaco, business is fully operational in Nassau – the second-most populated cruise destination in the Caribbean – and a host of private islands, and the rapid response of The Bahamas, neighboring destinations and Member Lines of Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) is helping Bahamians not only recover their livelihoods, but also regain cruise tourism: the lifeblood of their economy. After less than a week since the historic event, FCCA Member Lines have already committed more than $5 million in donations, as well as support including delivering provisions and engaging the local communities to ascertain needs and how to best help. Additionally, destinations around the region are both assisting The Bahamas and evaluating how to best prepare for and then handle similar events moving forward, including relief efforts by Saint Lucia and a site visit by Saint Lucia Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman Hon. Allen Chastanet.
“Our hearts are with all of those throughout The Bahamas impacted by this historic event, and we hope this support will provide some normalcy to their lives, along with solace in these trying times,” said Michele Paige, president of FCCA. “However, the people of The Bahamas have proven their resiliency time and time again, so there is no question that those affected will build back even better. Fortunately, Nassau and cruise lines’ private islands in The Bahamas are open, fully operational and ready to welcome guests with a smile – and the knowledge that an average cruise call to The Bahamas represents more than $650,000 in local economic benefits.”
Carnival Foundation and the company’s nine cruise line brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK) – are pledging a total of $1 million in monetary and in-kind donations in support of immediate relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation’s commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.
A portion of the combined pledge will immediately go to support efforts being managed by Direct Relief, an international humanitarian organization that provides critical medications and supplies during emergency situations. In addition, Carnival Corporation and its brands are working together with local officials, community leaders and key relief and recovery organizations to identify the most timely and urgent relief needs and immediate allocations for additional funds and support.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) – including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises – has relaunched Hope Starts Here, the company’s hurricane relief campaign in partnership with All Hands and Hearts, and pledged a minimum commitment of $1 million dollars toward immediate short-term relief for those affected by Hurricane Dorian. It has also vowed to match donations dollar-for-dollar to assist with rebuilding efforts across the Bahamas, including debris cleanup and removal, and the delivery of supplies and temporary shelters.
NCLH is also coordinating with local Bahamian authorities to bring needed provisions to the affected areas, “as quickly and as humanly possible.” Tomorrow, Norwegian Breakaway will depart Miami with hurricane relief supplies donated by NCLH and its employees, in addition to items collected by the City of Miami, Baptist Health South Florida, the 305 Gives Back foundation, and other Miami-based organizations, to be delivered to Nassau, Great Harbor Cay, the company’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – including Azamara, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International – has committed $1 million to disaster relief for Hurricane Dorian, with an additional $100,000 to be donated by ITM Group, its partner in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, while also pledging to match donations by guests and employees to PADF and use its ships to deliver supplies such as generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets and towels.
“The Bahamas has always been more than a destination for Royal Caribbean and our guests,” said the line in the announcement. “For more than half a century, we’ve made many friends and many memories. The Bahamas is also home to more than 500 of our colleagues who work at Perfect Day at CocoCay and the Grand Bahama Shipyard.” The Walt Disney Company, led by Disney Cruise Line, has made a commitment of more than $1 million to help relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas – including, but not limited to, a $1 million donation to non-profit relief agencies who will be undertaking recovery and rebuilding efforts, as well as the provision of supplies such as food staples and basic construction materials to those in impacted areas. Additionally, Disney employees with immediate needs in The Bahamas will have access to a range of resources. Disney Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in The Bahamas, employs more than 60 Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama, as well as several employees from other Bahamian islands.
“We stand with the Bahamian people,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “As the needs in these communities are assessed, we are prepared to aid the relief and recovery efforts through funding, the provision of supplies and by providing support to our Bahamian Crew Members.”
MSC Group – one of the world’s leading container shipping and logistics conglomerates as well as the parent company of MSC Cruises – has pledged support from across all its businesses for Hurricane Dorian relief in The Bahamas. In addition to providing and delivering goods of primary necessity, MSC Group’s efforts will initially focus on semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing for the population as well as making available MSC geared ships for cargo relief service from the U.S to The Bahamas.
A high-level delegation comprised of members of MSC Group’s U.S. senior management team as well as leadership of its philanthropic arm, the MSC Foundation, also scheduled meetings in Nassau with local officials, community leaders and key relief and recovery organizations – with the objective of promptly identifying first-hand and through engagement with local officials, community leaders and key relief and recovery organizations the most timely and urgent relief needs and how the Group can support the immediate and longer-term in-kind and funding needs of the local population and businesses as they look to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
“Our hearts go out to all of those impacted, and we felt it was imperative to issue a rapid response, demonstrating our support through action,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of BPCL, who is engaged in direct communications with the Bahamian government, including Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Peter Turnquest, to determine specific areas of need and serve as a liaison for those looking to assist in the Hurricane Dorian recovery effort.
BPCL has also planned a humanitarian cruise on Grand Celebration, which will be loaded with food, water, and other supplies, as well as first responders and volunteers. Departing this evening, the ship will transport the supplies, volunteers and Bahamian residents who were stranded in South Florida – and will have no cost for any volunteer or Bahamian resident – before its planned return on Sept. 7 with Bahamian residents who wish to evacuate to the U.S. and have proper documentation.
Additionally, countries in the region have provided support. Ms. Dorine Gustave, Acting Director of Saint Lucia’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), said Saint Lucia is in the process of determining how best to help, including finding the best way to transport water, and the the Government of Saint Lucia has set up accounts at selected banks for those that wish to assist with recovery efforts.
Saint Lucia Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman Hon. Allen Chastanet also traveled to The Bahamas yesterday, where he was greeted by Bahamian Prime Minister Hon. Hubert Minnis before heading into a situation briefing with several agencies in order to attain a status update to best plan a course of action in assisting both The Bahamas and the entire region in preparing for and handling similar situations in the future.
Created in 1972, the FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization that provides a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issues and builds bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors. For more information, visit F-CCA.com and @FCCAupdates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.