Puerto Rico is still reeling from widespread devastation after the Category 4 Hurricane Maria battered the island.
Sixty percent of Puerto Ricans don’t have access to drinking water. An estimated 80 percent of the island’s crops were devastated by the storm. Estimates for power to be fully restored in the worst hit areas are six months or more.
In the wake of the widespread damage, Royal Caribbean canceled a cruise and is sending out the vessel to help in relief efforts on the Caribbean islands.
The cruise line, which operates tours around the world, announced the cancelation of the “Adventure of the Seas” cruise. The vessel will now bring aid to San Juan, as well as St. Croix and St. Thomas.
The cruise, which has a capacity of 3,800 passengers, will also take evacuees to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before returning to Puerto Rico next week.
“We have been such a part of the Caribbean and South Florida communities for so many decades. We are worried and anxious. At the end of the day, we want to try to help as much as we can,” said Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley.
Royal Caribbean came to rescue at a time when people are frustrated at being stranded at the Puerto Rico’s main airport.
A very limited number of flights have been able to get in and out of the island and airport authorities are conducting security checks manually as machines were destroyed because of the storm.
The cruise liner reached out to its customers and assured them the company will give full refunds. In addition, a 25 percent cruise credit will also be given to customers who rebook within 30 days.
The company also added that it has been part of the relief effort ever since Hurricane Irma occurred and devastated the island earlier this month. Royal Cruise recently dispatched its Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas ships to help in aid.
The company’s website states that it has so far evacuated 1,700 people from the affected areas.
Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, President Donald Trump has done very little to help the island relief efforts. Initially, he remained silent on the issue and only after widespread criticism did he finally tweet about the devastation.
However, his statement led many to believe his silence was, perhaps, much more tolerable than him actually addressing the catastrophe. But instead of expressing solidarity with the hurricane victims, the president of the United States blamed Puerto Rico for the misfortune.
Instead of immediately sending aid and resources to fellow Americans, the president talked about their debt. Puerto Rico, an unincorporated Spanish-speaking U.S. territory with a poverty rate of nearly 45 percent, declared a form of bankruptcy in May. And the hurricane, as expected, has dealt a new, heavy blow to the already fragile economy of the Caribbean island.
I don't know anyone there but my heart aches for the people! And thanks to our #UNFITPOTUS it's 10x worse! U give me hope THANK YOU IN USA!— SharieWinns1 (@shariewinns) September 28, 2017
Bravo! I will buy my next vacation in your company— Dr. Janet Alvarez (@drajanetalvarez) September 28, 2017
You're WONDERFUL. I hope other cruise lines follow suit. <3 #HelpPuertoRico— Monika D (@MonikaD330) September 27, 2017
Thank you!! Acts like these make me want to invest in the cruise line. You have my money for my next cruise. #puertorico— Davie (@DavieMusica) September 28, 2017
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Alvin Baez