Why cruise ships can't go to Bahamas to rescue Hurricane Dorian victims

By Jeff Tavss - Executive Producer

MIAMI - Just hours after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas and veered away from South Florida, many people wrote Local 10 asking the same question.

They all wanted to know why Miami-based cruise lines were not sending ships to the islands to help survivors of the storm.

"Can't someone order the cruise lines that make billions of dollars on cruises to the Bahamas?" asked Lou. "Please take the ships out of hiding and board those poor people of the Bahamas each ship can handle thousands of people."


"I would love to see Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and all the other cruise lines send a couple fully equipped ships to help the Bahamian people recover from Dorian," wrote someone on Instagram.

"Would it be possible for one or two of the cruise lines to provide a couple of cruise ships that could shuttle supples of medicine and food and other necessities to the islands?" asked Richard.

It all sounds nice, but it's simply not feasible for safety and logistical reasons.

First, let's commend Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney for donating millions to the relief effort in the Bahamas. Their generosity will go a long way in helping the people suffering on the islands in their first steps on a long road to recovery.

"To our friends in The Bahamas, please know you will not be alone in your effort." said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. "All of us at Carnival Corporation pledge to work with you. We have been and remain in constant contact with government officials as they determine the highest priorities for both the short term and long term."

But as for sending cruise ships to the Bahamas to feed, shelter and provide other necessities to those who survived the storm, it just can't be done right now.

The obvious concern is safety. Getting ships to the areas affected most by Dorian, like the Abacos, is not possible as their ports aren't large enough for the mega-cruise ships. 

And ports like Freeport that are large enough to handle larger ships are dangerous to navigate as the storm may have displaced objects hidden underwater that would prove damaging to the ships.

Other issues include future cruises that are already scheduled and booked. Ships sail a continuous weekly schedule of voyages that are often completely sold out to those looking to vacation on a cruise.

What would happen to those who have already spent money on travel to South Florida to board a cruise ship? Or people who have arranged time off from work? Or spent weeks or years planning getaways with family and friends?

Yes, those are all minor concerns when compared to the suffering in the Bahamas, but legitimate all the same.

And finally, Local 10's Bryan Norcross said it best Tuesday when he urged people to start visiting parts of the Bahamas untouched by Dorian's rage as residents there continue to depend on tourism for their livelihoods.

Cruise ships making port in the Bahamas carry money-spending tourists that will also help spur the economy.

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