What Cruisers Should Know About the Bahamas and Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian, which officially fizzled out over the open Atlantic after nearly two weeks, has left a trail of damage in its wake, extending from the Caribbean up through the Canadian Maritimes. Below, is what you should know about the storm, how it affected the Bahamans. We all talk about what cruise lines are doing to help, and how you can get involved.

What Cruisers Should Know About the Bahamas and Hurricane Dorian

The storm, which hit Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands on September 2 as a Category 5 hurricane with the highest wind speeds ever recorded, has left the Bahamas reeling. At least 50 people are dead, and some 2,500 are missing, with those numbers expected to rise in the coming days. Early reports say 45 percent of homes have damage or destruction, leaving thousands of more people homeless.

Hurricane Dorian also heavily affected cruises to the Bahamas and, to a lesser extent, Canada and New England. The storm affected more than 60 individual sailings and an estimated 180,000 passengers (based on double occupancy). The severity of changes ranged from itinerary swaps to lengthened, shortened and even cancelled sailings.

Private Islands

All affected cruise ports and cruise line private islands have reopened, with the exception of Freeport, which sustained serious damage and is currently open only to ships bringing in humanitarian aid. While the harbor and docking areas were relatively spared, operations are being hampered by a lack of electricity, running water and necessary operational staff on the island. It is not known when the port will reopen to cruise passengers.  

Nassau, another popular Bahamas cruise port, has very little damage and remains open.

Tourism is a huge economic driver for the Bahamas. The tourism sector and tourism itself employ nearly half of all Bahamians. Tourism accounts for 60 percent of the country’s $9 billion econom. Bahamian officials urge travelers to continue visiting the Bahamas.

What Cruise Lines Are Doing and How You Can Contribute to Hurricane Dorian Aid in the Bahamas

Now that the danger from Dorian has passed, cruise lines — many of which count the Bahamas as a primary market — are lending a helping hand.

American Queen Steamboat Company

The line has set up a donation system on all of its riverboats to aid the relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas. Passengers and crew can contribute by visiting the reception desk on board each vessel and can charge donations to their onboard accounts or pay in cash.

The line is working with All Hands and Hearts, in conjunction with the Government of the Bahamas. AQSC is sending additional supplies like clean towels, linens, soap, and other items via ship to the islands.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Bahamas Paradise has been working closely with the Bahamian Government. They donated one of its ships to evacuate residents before Dorian hit. They also are using it to send first responders, physicians, a salvage crew and a team of experts to evaluate the island’s damaged electrical grid.

The two-ship cruise line canceled sailings aboard Grand Celebration. It continues to use the ship for humanitarian aid.

The line is accepting monetary donations online through its partner, Mission Resolve, as well as donated supplies at its Riviera Beach warehouse.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival’s charitable arm, the Carnival Foundation, will donate $1 million in funding and in-kind support on behalf of its brands, which include Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess Cruises and others. Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison will donate an additional $1 million from the Micky and Madeline Arison Family Foundation.

Carnival also partnered with a company called Tropical Shipping, which will transport hurricane relief donations to the Bahamas from anywhere. Send donations to Tropical Shipping, 1489 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Riviera Beach, FL 33404.

Disney Cruise Line

Under the auspices of the Walt Disney Company, Disney Cruise Line also pledged $1 million in support and humanitarian aid to the Bahamas.

MSC Group

MSC Group, which includes MSC’s cargo operations and MSC Cruises, committed to using its cargo fleet to procure and transport needed supplies to the Bahamas. The company says it will also assist with long-term needs, including semi-permanent housing.

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL has donated $2 million to recovery efforts. In partnership with All Hands and Hearts, inclusive of the donations it promises to match dollar for dollar. They sent Norwegian Breakaway on September 5 to deliver supplies collected by its team members and the City of Miami.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean pledged $1 million. It also announced it would match donations given to its partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

The line has also been making pit stops during its regular sailings to deliver relief items. Things such as generators, water, cleaning supplies, and clean linens.

Additionally, the Bahamas tourism bureau has set up a relief page with verified charities to which you can donate. The page lists supplies needed.