Hurricane Dorian — a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph sustained winds — made landfall on the Bahamas in September 2019 and proceeded to hover over the two northernmost isles for a full 24 hours. Damage to both the Grand Bahama and Abacos islands was catastrophic.
For anyone who watched news coverage of Dorian’s devastating aftermath, it may have left a feeling of helplessness. The good news is tourism is the driving force of recovery for the Bahamas, and the overwhelming majority of the Bahamas is open for business. Your best bet at lending a helping hand to the affected islands is to enjoy a vacation to any of the unaffected islands. The benefit is twofold: Not only are you providing capital for rebuilding, but travel companies are launching exclusive offers for Bahamian vacations and initiatives with the purpose of contributing to recovery — ultimately elevating Bahamian vacations in the marketplace. Think of it as perks and amenities, but with a humanitarian twist. For ideas for your do-good getaway, read on.
Just as Royal Caribbean’s exclusive island, CocoCay, promises a day of island bliss and fun for families, Royal Caribbean is promising to make a difference for the nation of the Bahamas. Their contributions have been far-ranging and thorough: committing over $1 million to disaster relief, matching contributions to the Pan American Development Foundation up to $500,000, promising 20,000 meals a day delivered to Freeport and providing evacuation for Grand Bahamian residents to Nassau. It may not be something you actively think about during your trip, but when you do, it’s a warm feeling that pairs well with the tropical sun shining down on you.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also taken a proactive approach to helping the Bahamas back onto their feet. They contributed $1 million to emergency response efforts, with dollar-for-dollar matching contributions, to hit their goal of $2 million donated to All Hands and Hearts — a nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding communities and infrastructures impacted by natural disasters. Additionally, Norwegians’ ships have been transporting supplies to support shelters in Nassau and Great Harbor Cay weekly since September 5, so there’s a significant helping of goodwill to be had while you’re enjoying any of their many Bahamian itineraries.
MSC Cruises has taken a different route to lending a helping hand — partly because of the nature of its parent company. As one of the world’s leading shipping and logistics conglomerates, MSC Group has an armada of means for relief. While cargo shipping and cruising have been pledged to key aspects of immediate and longer-term relief efforts in addition to their philanthropic arm, MSC is also dedicated to solving the damage done to housing with the employment of semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that enjoying an MSC Cruise to the breezy shores of the Bahamas is helping put a roof over the heads of those who were hit the hardest by the storm.
Carnival Cruise Line has been an early advocate of the Bahamas’ relief in all regards — their pledged donation of $2 million was one of the first, as was their partnering with Tropical Shipping to send donations to The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency. They were even one of the first to return to docking to Grand Bahama’s port — making them a certifiable vessel of good omen for the island’s community. As with all the options listed here, know that your enjoyment of a Carnival cruise itinerary is helping fund recovery for years to come.
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Not sure which of the above is your ticket to the best Bahamian vacation or doing the most good? Our travel advisors are here to help — in more ways than one. With the combined capabilities of our agency’s affiliation with Travel Leaders Group, $36,000 has been raised for Ranfurly Homes For Children — a key organization providing refuge to homeless Bahamian children. Couple that with the fact that we’ve partnered with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism to help drive tourism to the destinations that best help the country, and we’re a significant conduit of goodwill. Consider the added perks and amenities these cruise lines provide exclusively to us to pass along to you, and it’s guaranteed your getaway is doing both you and the Bahamas a world of good.