With Hurricane Irma keeping cruise ships from making trips around Florida and the Caribbean, the huge ships are setting sail to help those left reeling from the deadly storm.
The storm struck the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Barbuda, and other Caribbean islands at full force late last week. The destruction was devastating, with several deaths reported and many without shelter, food, water, and other resources.
In response, cruise ships are heading to the hard-hit areas. Royal Caribbean‘s Adventure of the Sea is stopping in St. Maarten on Sunday and Majesty of the Seas is also heading to the the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten to bring in supplies and take evacuees from St. Maarten to safer lands.
A Royal Caribbean cruise ship is available to take evacuees near the port of Sint Maarten (Dutch). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org w/questions.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) September 10, 2017
Two other ships are standing by for any help needed in Key West and Tampa after the storm made landfall in the southern Florida region on Sunday morning.
More than 200 stranded travelers in St. Maarten are expected to be picked up by an empty boat, Majesty of the Seas told USA Today. Supplies like ice and water are also being distributed. Upwards of 1,500 travelers are getting on another Royal Caribbean ship expected to reach St. Thomas by Monday evening, according to the Miami Herald.
Earlier Sunday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced their ship Norwegian Sky was heading to the U.S. Virgin Islands to drop off supplies.
More than 2,000 tourists will get picked up on the massive ship, according to the Miami Herald.
Both cruise lines have canceled several trips ahead of Hurricane Irma and changed course away from stormy waters. Royal Caribbean even put its employees on a ship to take them away from the dangerous storm.
More cruises, like Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Sea Cuba cruise and Majesty of the Seas Bahamas cruise, that were scheduled to leave this week have been canceled to free up ships to help devastated islands and communities.
Other trips have been pushed back or changed as the storm continues to sweep north along the west Florida coast into Monday — and Hurricane Jose continues to swirl closer and closer to the Bahamas.