Helping After Dorian
Hurricane Dorian devastated some of the islands of the Bahamas, including Grand Bahamas and Abaco. These two islands are found in the northwestern part of the archipelago, which consists of over 700 islands and covers over 100,000 square miles. Take a look at this map to help visualize where the bulk of the damage occurred. Mainstream cruise lines call on Freeport and Nassau. Nassau, on Paradise Island, fortunately escaped the brunt of Dorian’s wrath, while Freeport did not. The Bahamas relies on tourism, so it is essential to realize that not all of the islands experienced damage. They are still open for business, so one way to help the area recover is to spend your vacation dollars there.
Cruise Lines Step Up
It was frustrating to read social media posters asking when the cruise lines would help followed by recommendations that they send their ships there. I can’t recall when the cruise lines did not help their partners and friends in cruise ports where many ships call. If a cruise port or country is on a ship’s itinerary, that means that residents of that island or country contribute to the success of the cruise line and to the overall guest experience. Many of those locals make their living directly or indirectly from their association, no matter how close or far removed, with the cruise lines. That works the other way, too. Equally important, the cruise lines depend on locals and destinations to offer an enjoyable product to their guests. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Having read suggestions that the cruise lines send a ship with supplies to help the affected areas, I suspect that those who considered such a solution don’t understand how the industry works. I can’t think of any cruise line that has a spare ship or two docked at the ready to aid those in need. They are not the Navy or Coast Guard , who in this case also need to take precautions when sailing to a disturbed area. Deploying ships that are full of passengers on vacation requires extensive planning, not easily done in a short period of time. However, due to the hurricane, several cruise lines have altered their cruise itineraries, either cutting them short, making them longer or simply cancelling them to keep their passenger, crew and ships out of danger.
How are the Cruise Lines Helping the Bahamas?
All of the mainstream cruise lines stepped up to help with the devastation, either by donating money or goods to the cause, helping evacuate, or loading their scheduled cruises with supplies. Some even went out of their way to include ports where they could offload supplies to those in need.
Several have paired up with organizations and offered ways for passengers or cruise fans to help the cause.
Here is a list of highlights of what the cruise lines are doing or have already done:
- Bahamas Paradise – Sailing from the Port of Palm Beach, Bahamas Paradise assisted with rescuing stranded Bahamians and is also collecting goods at their warehouse to send to Grand Bahamas. There is a list of goods needed here which includes a link to a charity where you may contribute.
- Carnival – You are probably aware that the Carnival family consists of nine brands and they are all involved in efforts to help the Bahamas. The Carnival Foundation donated $2 million to the Dorian relief efforts, but the company is also sending goods via their ships and is utilizing container ships to bring supplies to those in need. You may even drop or send needed goods to the locations listed in this memo.
- Disney – The magical cruise line is donating $1 million toward the efforts to assist the Bahamas, where like other cruise lines, they have a private island. Of course, they are also helping out their employees who live on the islands.
- MSC– Definitely at an advantage with their fleet of container ships, MSC can handle the big stuff! Knowing that safe housing will be an issue, they are loading modular components for housing on their ships.
- NCL – Norwegian has pledged $1 million toward the relief effort and will also match donations to All Hands and Hearts and Hope Starts Here. The Breakaway is loading up with supplies to take to the Bahamas.
- Royal Caribbean – The amazing crew prepared food to send out 20,000 daily meals to the Freeport community. In addition, they are also deploying container ships with much needed supplies including 47,000 bottles of water, 362 generators, 250 tarps, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 diapers and 7,500 pounds of pet food. Any donations through their partner charity will be matched up to $500,000.
As you can see, the cruise lines are stepping up. It’s not just a good business decision, but a humanitarian one as well. Hope this answers the questions of those wondering what the cruise lines were doing to help with the recovery efforts from the effects of Dorian. More importantly, I would ask those people what they are doing to help the Bahamas.
What Can You Do?
First, you can support the Bahamas by volunteering if that is a possibility or by continuing to spend your dollars on tourism in the Bahamas. Remember that it was just a few islands that were devastated by Dorian. Don’t exclude the Bahamas from your travel plans.
Make your dollar donations count by finding a company that will match your donations. That doubles the effort. Don’t think that just a few dollars doesn’t help. If a million people give just $1, that adds up quickly with matching funds. It surprised me to see how few donations had been made to some of these organizations. Surely, every cruiser has enjoyed something in the Bahamas, whether it be a day in port, a day snorkeling or a day at one of the amazing private islands.
There’s nothing like learning that just a small percentage or none of your heartfelt donation went to help the people that you hoped to assist.
Charity Navigator has some tips for choosing a charity as recipient of your donations. Disasters are the perfect time for unscrupulous charities to vie for your helpful dollars. I got duped myself when donating to the Haiti earthquake relief. I very wrongly assumed that a celebrity would be honest. In the end, it sounded as if my donation simply padded his pockets and never reached those in dire need.
The following article does focus on the Haiti earthquake and suggestions for that particular event, but if you scroll to the bottom, you can find some general tips for choosing a charity that will give the majority of your generous contribution to those who need it the most. Charity Navigator also suggests some other charities helping in the Bahamas effort.
Hope those who wondered can now see some of the amazing ways that the cruise lines are helping the Bahamas. Many thanks to our favorite cruise lines!