Hurricane Dorian was the latest Category 5 storm to hit the East Coast. While Floridians braced themselves for a big hit, the real victims of the storm were the people of the Bahamas.
Fifty Bahamians died in the storm, with over 1,000 people missing and 15,000 in need of medical care. Another 70,000 citizens were rendered homeless.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the President made a statement on Twitter saying that the hurricane victims could be “very bad people,” and refused to grant them Temporary Protected Status.
Fortunately, another group has come in to provide aid to the devastated island…and it may not be who you expect.
Who is it? Cruise lines.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Among Those Offering Aid to Hurricane Dorian Victims
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, cruise ship lines began to pack their ships with food, water, and medical supplies.
They set sail for the Bahamas and opened their doors. Some are even offering transportation between islands and to the United States.
It’s not just one cruise line that is offering aid, either.
Bahamas Paradise opened its doors to 1,200 people and brought them to Palm Beach, Florida. During the journey, the cruise line offered medical assistance and food.
The cruise ship has noted that they will check for proper documentation before boarding people heading to the United States, and they’re partnering up with the Mission Resolve Foundation.
Royal Caribbean sailed to the Bahamas with a lofty mission: to deliver 20,000 boxed meals each day. Ships also brought tens of thousands of cases of bottled water.
Additionally, they have pledged $1 million to relief efforts, and are providing free transportation for many people seeking refuge from the storm.
PADF Is Currently Matching Your Donations
Want to help Royal Caribbean help the Bahamas?
Royal Caribbean is partnering up with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF.) They have pledged to match any donations up to $500,000.
As of September 9, PADF has been able to provide the following to the Bahamas:
- 149,688 bottles of water
- 400 generators
- 248 plastic tarps
- 500 handheld flashlights
- 114,400 diapers
- 800 rolls of toilet paper
This is only the beginning, though. If you’d like to help, it’s as easy as clicking to donate here.
Other Cruise Line Pledges Nudge Combined Efforts Beyond $4 Million
Celebrity Cruises sent its ship, Equinox, with 10,000 relief meals that guests volunteered to plate and pack. Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines have both pledged an additional $1 million to help victims of Dorian. Carnival Cruise Line is donating another $2 million to hurricane relief efforts.
When you compare the combined efforts from all of these cruise ships, it exceeds the money that the entire United States Agency for International Development is pledging to help the island nation ($4 million).
Still, There Are Two Sides to This Story
Many critics have warned consumers that these stories don’t make these cruise lines saviors when it comes to the Bahamas. Once you consider the harm being done to these islands at the hands of the cruise lines, you’ll understand that $1 million actually isn’t much restitution.
Carnival Cruise Line, the company donating $2 million in aid, has paid over $60 million in fines since 2017 for illegal dumping near the Bahamas alone. They’ve even made efforts to burry stories covering the illegal dumping.
That isn’t to say the efforts made by all cruise lines are made in vain. It simply means consumers should be careful when they choose the cruise line of their choice.
Take some time to research the good and the bad when it comes to cruises and the impact they make on the places they visit.
Want to Help? Tourism Experts Recommend Booking a Trip
It can be easy to feel helpless while reading about the devastation in the Bahamas. But tourism experts have advice for those who want to help: don’t cancel your trip to the Bahamas.
Go visit, and take some time to hop off the cruise ship and do some shopping.
Most Popular Islands Remain Unscathed
The most popular islands – including Nassau, The Exumas, and Bimini – remain unscathed and open for tourists. Carnival Cruise alone will be visiting the island over 40 times in the last two weeks of September 2019. Now could be arguably the best time to visit.
Bringing Your Tourism Dollars Directly to Locals Helps Rebuild Faster
Visiting these islands, and taking your cash and money out to local markets and restaurants, can help bring more money into the economy and help the country rebuild. Over half of the country’s revenue comes from tourism – so keep contributing.
Ultimately, there are a number of cruise lines that offer trips to and from the Bahamas. Take your time and do some research on how these cruise lines affect the islands and contribute to local tourism.
A well-informed decision will help you truly enjoy your Bahamian experience, while also directly benefiting those impacted by Hurricane Dorian when you decide to go visit.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.