TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
TORONTO — There are two ways the travel industry can help the Bahamas get back on its feet. Get the word out about donations for relief and recovery. And make sure winter sun clients know that the vast majority of the islands in the Bahamas, including New Providence, home to Nassau and some of the biggest resorts, weathered the storm with no long-term damage.
An update from The Islands of the Bahamas says residents and visitors on New Providence should continue to exercise caution as flooding conditions and power outages have been reported in parts of Nassau. But otherwise the all clear has been issued for New Providence, which includes Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island, as well as Eleuthera and Andros.
Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands took the biggest hit from Hurricane Dorian.
As reported yesterday at Travelweek.ca, major resorts including Sandals Royal Bahamian, Sandals Emerald Bay and Fowl Cay as well as Atlantis Paradise Island, Warwick Paradise Island and Baha Mar, all relatively unscathed by Dorian, are working to help their neighbours to the north with relief efforts and fundraising.
Links for donations include https://sandalsfoundation.org/donation and https://www.gofundme.com/f/atlantis-bahamas-hurricane-dorian-relief-fund.
The CTO has also set up a fund, at https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is also spearheading relief efforts. Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Director General Joy Jibrilu says: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Bahamians and residents in these two northern islands, especially those who have lost loved ones. We are overwhelmed by the amount of inquiries about relief efforts, and encourage everyone to go to www.bahamas.com/relief for verified ways to help.”
Cruise lines, many with private islands in the Bahamas, are also stepping up. “The Bahamas has always been more than a destination for Royal Caribbean and our guests. For more than half a century, we’ve made many friends and many memories. The Bahamas is also home to more than 500 of our colleagues who work at Perfect Day at CocoCay and the Grand Bahama Shipyard,” says Royal Caribbean. The cruise line is committing US$1 million to Dorian disaster relief. ITM, Royal Caribbean’s partner in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, is donating an additional $100,000. “We are loading all kinds of goods onto our ships – generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, and more – for direct delivery to the Bahamas,” says Royal Caribbean. The cruise line is also matching every guest and employee donation to PADF (Pan American Development Foundation).
“We can’t make every bad memory of Dorian go away. But we can start making things better – today. If you want to contribute please click this LINK and get started.”
Disney Cruise Line is also donating $1 million. Disney says: “All is well at Castaway Cay. Due to the tropical storm conditions the island experienced, we have some cleaning up to do related to landscaping and will need to make minor repairs to the roof of one small covered pavilion area. We are awaiting the arrival of survey equipment to evaluate the pier and ship channel, as is required after any storm, before we are able to reopen Castaway Cay to guests.”
As Dorian heads up the U.S. coast many cruise lines have had to shuffle ports of call and/or adjust dates and in some cases cancel entire sailings.
In Florida, Port Canaveral and the Port of Jacksonville are closed. PortMiami and Port Everglades are open.
Some of the major cruise line advisories can be found here…
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
DISNEY CRUISE LINE
Meanwhile Orlando International Airport has reopened, with flights resuming as of 12 p.m. today (Sept. 4).
Orlando area theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando are also back to full day operating hours today after closing early last night. SeaWorld is also expected to open today.
Dorian has moved on from the Bahamas but the damage in Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands is considerable, with more than half a dozen deaths reported and widespread devastation.
While Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau remains open, Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) is closed. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has cancelled its Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 sailings. Bahamas Ferries have cancelled all sailings until further notice. Nassau ports are open.
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism says it will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian with updates at bahamas.com/storms.
One of the best-known resorts on Grand Bahama, Grand Lucayan, is closed until further notice and the resort says it will update the situation at its Facebook page (facebook.com/grandlucayan).