Even though cruise ships are fast enough to outrun a hurricane, the ports and people of the Caribbean are an indispensable part of the industry. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the second most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, the cruise ship industry is banding together to donate toward local relief efforts in the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and Disney cruise lines have each pledged at least $1 million toward Hurricane Dorian relief efforts.
While currently only a Category 2 hurricane, Dorian devastated the Bahamas, lingering over the northern part of the island for two days as a Category 5 hurricane.
The current death toll stands at 20 and is expected to rise in the coming days.
On Tuesday, while Dorian’s wind gusts reached 200 mph, Royal Caribbean said that the brand would be committing $1 million to relief efforts, collaborating with the Bahamian government and other local charities.
Royal Caribbean is also matching every dollar of guest and employee donations toward the community development nonprofit Pan American Development Foundation.
Norwegian Cruise Line is matching Royal Caribbean, committing its own $1 million donation, as well as relaunching the brand’s hurricane relief campaign in partnership with the nonprofit All Hands and Hearts, vowing to match dollar for dollar donations to assist with the rebuilding efforts.
The Walt Disney Co., led by Disney Cruise Line, also said it will donate $1 million to help relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas.
“The Walt Disney Company stands with the people of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian,” said Disney’s chairman and CEO Bob Iger. “We hope our $1 million donations will provide much-needed relief and help our neighbors, colleagues, and all those impacted by this devastating storm begin the long process of recovery as they work to put their lives and communities back together.”
Carnival Cruise Line, alongside its chairman Micky Arison and his wife, Madeleine, said on Twitter that they have pledged $2 million total, with the Arisons using money from their foundation, the Arison Family Foundation.
“Our company has always been closely tied to the Bahamas with a rich history spanning many years, so it’s heartbreaking to see the impact of Hurricane Dorian, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Bahamas,” said Carnival’s CEO, Arnold Donald.
A portion of Carnival’s donation will be going toward Direct Relief, a humanitarian nonprofit that provides medical attention in disaster zones.
The Mediterranean Shipping Co., MSC Cruises, said it would pledge its “full support” to the Bahamian government and that talks had already begun about how the group can assist the regions, saying in a statement that the group will focus on providing “semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing for the population of the areas most affected by the hurricane as well as making available geared ships for cargo relief service from the US to the Freeport and Marsh Harbour, Abaco container terminals.”
While it may not be long before cruise ships return to the Caribbean, the devastation caused by Dorian could take years to rebuild as the Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Turnquest, told The Guardian that it could cost “hundreds of millions, if not billions” of dollars to repair the nation’s infrastructure.