NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday September 6, 2019 – In the wee hours of yesterday morning, more than 100 crew members from Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas became the first to activate the company’s disaster relief operation to bring relief supplies and 20,000 daily meals to the Freeport, Bahamas community.
Crew members prepared sandwiches, proteins with rice and fruits and snacks for the company’s first distribution at noon yesterday.
Over the next few days additional ships from its fleet —Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Equinox, Mariner of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas— will repeat the process.
Along with Empress, the company is deploying container ships with much needed supplies including 47,000 bottles of water, 362 generators, 250 tarps, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 diapers and 7,500 pounds of pet food.
Royal Caribbean is committing US$1 million to Dorian disaster relief and matching every dollar of guest and employee donations. To make sure those donations go where they can do the most good, they are collaborating with the Bahamian government and its non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.
“We can’t make every bad memory of Dorian go away. But we can start making things better—today,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL).
According to Alex De Roeck of Royal Caribbean, the effort is not a one-time affair.
“We will be delivering these meals every day during the duration of this effort to be of service to the Grand Bahamian people,” said De Roeck, who works in hotel operations, RCCL Miami. “We will be diverting our cruise ships to this port every day to ensure that this effort continues.
“What will be happening is, we will provide the items and deliver them, but local Emergency officials will decide where they are to be delivered and distributed.”
While Royal Caribbean has most of its ships ported in Nassau, Alex said that the cruise line will use a different ship each day to make the trip to Grand Bahama to deliver the meals.
He said the company is seeking to set up a feeding kitchen on the island, but that option was not concrete, as they have to work with NEMA to discuss the feasibility and location of such a kitchen.