NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Carnival Corporation has announced the return of its cruise lines to Freeport on a regular schedule post Hurricane Dorian, with more than 250 sailings scheduled through the end of 2019.
Cruise ships from Carnival Corporation brands are returning to Freeport on a regular schedule just six weeks after Hurricane Dorian struck the Northern Bahamas, bringing travelers and generating much-needed tourism dollars for the local economy.
Two ships from the corporation’s namesake brand, Carnival Cruise Line — Carnival Liberty and the newly remodeled Carnival Sunrise — are making calls to Freeport on Thursday, Oct. 24. They will be followed by the brand’s Carnival Pride on Friday, Oct. 25, and Carnival Elation on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Another Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises, has 19 sailings scheduled to The Bahamas through the end of 2019. The brand’s Crown Princess called on Princess Cays on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and will again on Tuesday, Oct. 29, with more calls by Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess, as well as the new Sky Princess, which launched in October, beginning to make calls on Princess Cays in December.
A third Carnival Corporation brand, Holland America Line, returned to The Bahamas on Oct. 21 when ms Zuiderdam visited Half Moon Cay, with another of its ships, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, calling on Half Moon Cay on Friday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 27. Through the end of 2019, seven Holland America Line ships have 46 scheduled cruises to The Bahamas.
Collectively, the three brands are planning more than 250 sailings to The Bahamas through the end of2019, supporting the country’s tourism industry and providing local businesses and people with vital economic impact.
NEMA Grand Bahama Coordinator Senator Kay Smith applauded the efforts of Carnival Corporation toso quickly restore regular cruise ship calls to Freeport and surrounding islands.
“Cruise ships in the harbor are a symbol of hope for Bahamians – hope that life will one day be restored to normal and that we will once again thrive,” said Smith. “We are thankful to have such a long-time partner in Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands. Their determination to return to the Bahamas as quickly as possible is an important part of our recovery.
“They also showed immense generosity and support in the days and weeks following Hurricane Dorian in many ways, and we thank them deeply for their concern and support. It made a big difference in the recovery efforts for us.”
Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands reacted immediately to support the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts for Grand Bahama and Abaco. Within days following Hurricane Dorian, two Carnival Cruise Line ships – Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride – stopped at Freeport to deliver relief supplies that included dozens of pallets of water, generators, chain saws and more. Carnival Corporation partnered with Direct Relief and World Central Kitchen and conducted donation drives to feed those most in need in The Bahamas.”
To date, Carnival Cruise Line guests and employees have donated to the organizations more than $500,000 supporting The Bahamas relief efforts. World Central Kitchen alone, which was serving more than 25,000 meals per day, has provided more than one million meals throughout The Bahamas. Carnival Corporation’s philanthropic arm, Carnival Foundation, and its nine brands, together with the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, pledged to donate $2 million in funding and in-kind support for relief efforts. This amount was raised through Carnival Foundation and the company’s nine cruise line brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises,Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK) – who pledged a total of $1 million in monetary and in-kind donations.
Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine matched the corporation’s commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.
While there were many in North America willing to make donations to help local residents, delivery of those supplies was a challenge. To meet that challenge, Carnival Corporation formed a partnership with Tropical Shipping, with the cruise company funding the cost of shipping. The result, 10 million pounds of food and supplies donated by countless individuals and organizations throughout South Florida and North America were delivered in more than 250 shipping containers. The shipping containers were delivered directly to NEMA in September and October, providing much-needed relief to residents impacted by the storm.
Additionally, the company also supported Rand Hospital, the main hospital on Grand Bahama, by providing medical equipment and supplies in partnership with Direct Relief. The company also provided critical on-the-ground resources with senior communications professionals providing their support and expertise with NEMA’s communication efforts on Grand Bahama.
An important effort that will support the long-term recovery is a project that was in the works well before Dorian hit. The initial Heads of Agreement ceremony was postponed, but on Sept. 25, Carnival Corporation signed agreements with the government of the Bahamas to develop a new cruise port, primarily for Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama, and construct a new addition, including a pier, on the Bahamian island of Little San Salvador, home to Holland America Line& Half Moon Cay port.
The Grand Bahama project will represent an investment of over $100 million, and the development on Little San Salvador will be an estimated $80 million investment over time.
Lastly, on Sept. 12, Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS), owned in part by Carnival Corporation, announced it officially resumed operations and welcomed back its first commercial vessel, the Agathonissos, owned by Greece-based Eletson, for repair work. The shipyard, located in Freeport, then welcomed The Taipei Trader in late September and Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Ecstasy in early October.
In total, Grand Bahama Shipyard expects to service 29 dry-dockings throughout the remainder of the year, helping support recovery efforts through the ongoing work of its more than 600 employees and the additional economic activity generated for the surrounding area of Grand Bahama.
The shipyard was able to produce fresh water and its cafeteria is feeding meals to hundreds of workers daily. With a strategic location along major shipping routes, Grand Bahama Shipyard schedules 85-100 drydocks each year, including more than two dozen major cruise ship drydocks annually, providing valuable employment for residents.