How Cruise Lines Are Stepping Up To Help With Hurricane Relief In Puerto Rico

"At the end of the day, we want to try to help as much as we can."

The recent hurricanes Irma and Maria have devastated much of the Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico's 3.4 million residents have been left without power, and 44 percent lack drinking water, according to the Department of Defense. Maria's effect in the U.S. territory has been described as "apocalyptic," causing potentially billions of dollars in damage.

In the wake of this devastation, cruise lines have stepped up to help. Royal Caribbean has been using its Adventure of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, and Empress of the Seas ships to help with recovery efforts and to evacuate stranded tourists affected by both Irma and Maria. 



According to the company's website, ships have evacuated 1,700 people and delivered 29,000 gallons of water to affected areas, as well as medical supplies, animal supplies, generators, and more. They have also promised to match all donations to relief efforts up to $1 million.

"We have been such a part of the Caribbean and South Florida communities for so many decades. We are worried and anxious," Royal Caribbean's president and CEO Bayley told the Miami Herald earlier this month after Irma. "At the end of the day, we want to try to help as much as we can."

This week, per HuffPost, Royal Caribbean announced that it had canceled its Adventure of the Sea cruise scheduled to depart San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 30. The ship will instead be used for donations and evacuations in San Juan, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix.

The company is providing full refunds to all customers affected by the cancellation, as well as offering a 25 percent credit to those who book new cruises within 30 days.

And it's not just Royal Caribbean. Roger Frizzell, the SVP and chief communications officer for Carnival, the world's largest cruise line, told FOX Business that some ships were traveling to deliver food, water, and supplies to areas of the Caribbean, including San Juan.

"We are currently in discussions with authorities there [in Puerto Rico] to help determine other ways to help and have an impact," Frizzell said. The company also pledged to donate $10 million to relief efforts in the Caribbean and Florida, and announced on Twitter that it donated 100 percent of the proceeds from comedian Chris Tucker's shows on board the cruise last week.

Norwegian Cruise Line also announced that it is partnering with All Hands Volunteers, a disaster relief organization, to help rebuild schools in areas devastated by Irma and Maria. The company will also match up to $1.25 million in donations.

The White House  faced criticism this past week for its slow response to the dire situation in Puerto Rico. According to the Chicago Tribune, today President Trump waived federal restrictions on foreign ships delivering cargo, while House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the FEMA's disaster relief fund would receive an additional $6.7 billion by the end of the week.

In the meantime, several public figures have stepped up to help. Pitbull flew cancer patients from Puerto Rico to the United States on his private plane, and fellow stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Daddy Yankee have donated money to relief efforts.

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