Royal Caribbean cruise ships laden with pallets of food, water, and relief supplies are diverting from their routes to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the devastated islands of The Bahamas. Onboard in ship galleys, volunteers and crew members work overnight preparing meals for locals still reeling from Dorian’s destruction.
“We have the people. We have the material. We have the capability,” says Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), who mobilized the RCL fleet to deliver 20,000 meals a day for residents in Freeport, Grand Bahama. “It’s devastating, what happened, and the ability to give a little warmth, a little warm food, a little comfort, is a small addition we can make to help our friends there,” Fain says.
An outpouring of Royal Caribbean employee volunteers who want to help are arriving in Freeport, Grand Bahama, in ships stocked with food and other essentials. RCL teams are coordinating additional in kind donations being offloaded from container ships and tender boats, including more than 47,000 bottles of water, 360 generators, 250 tarps, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,000 diapers and 7,500 pounds of pet food.
“Together we can help rebuild,“ says Alice Galindo, Royal Caribbean volunteer and shipboard event coordinator. “One dollar, one house, one community, one island — all it takes is one.”
“Our company’s name is Royal Caribbean. We started 50 years ago, and our first port of call was the Bahamas,” says Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. Bayley told CNN, “We have over 500 hundred Bahamian employees who work for Royal Caribbean, and obviously all of their families. We’re very much a part of the Caribbean community, and we’re neighbors. We have more volunteers than we know what to do with, our employees who want to help out. There’s a lot of compassion, including other companies who have contributed the supplies and provisions that we’re taking to the Bahamas, so it really is a community effort.”
“The entire team – from our crew on board, our staff in the corporate office, to dedicated travel advisors, guests and more – has sprung to action to support our friends and family in The Bahamas,” says Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity Cruises President and CEO. “Many have lost everything, so we’re doing everything we can to bring even the simplest of comforts to those affected by Hurricane Dorian. Whether it’s homemade bread, fresh linens, or even a pillow for them to lay their head on, if we can give it, it’s being given.”
Along with relief partners in the Bahamian government, Pan American Development Foundation, the Bahamian Feeding Network, and Royal Caribbean is supporting the efforts of churches and community centers with supplies and offers of help and hope.
“We only got the all-clear yesterday, and RCL is already here to help us,” says Caline Newton, a representative of partners Pan American Development Foundation and HeadKnowles. “Locals told us they heard about the food, water and other supplies provided by Royal Caribbean from friends, strangers and helpful social media posts. The island is small. Everyone knows someone who was affected,” says Caline.
“The people of the Caribbean are resilient,” Fain noted to Fox News Channel. “The Bahamians people have made it very clear to us that they intend to make the investment, they intend to put in the effort, and they want to be open for business right away — and we intend to support that.”