Carnival brands resume Bahamas calls

Image result for Crown Princess

Carnival Corp. said that its brands have resumed regular sailings to the Bahamas for the first time since Hurricane Dorian struck on Sept. 1.

The company’s private islands, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, have resumed taking ship calls and Carnival’s three largest North American brands — Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line — together are projected to make over 250 sailings to the Bahamas through the end of 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line alone will make an estimated 204 calls through the remainder of the year, visiting Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays on eight of its ships.

Princess will return to with the Crown Princess’ arrival on October 9, and Holland America resumes Bahamas calls beginning Oct. 21, when the Zuiderdam arrives at Half Moon Cay.

Two Carnival ships — Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride — have made stops this week in Freeport to deliver relief supplies to assist residents, including dozens of pallets of water, generators, chain saws, prepared meals and medical supplies. 

Carnival Corp. chief communications officer Roger Frizzell said, “It is important to spread the word that much of the country had no or little impact and is open for business.”

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Cruise Lines Could Face Major Drydock Challenge Following Hurricane Damage

Grand Bahama Shipyard

The cruise industry could be looking at a monumental impact to their operations following Hurricane Dorian if the Grand Bahama Shipyard’s capacity is taken offline or further limited following an April incident.

The go-to-yard for drydocks and refurbishments in the cruise industry is partly owned by both Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

It is ideally located in the Bahamas, meaning little out-of-service transit time on the way to or from various deployment regions, including the Caribbean in the winter.

The yard is regularly used by cruise vessels from almost all cruise lines for mandatory class drydocking and refurbishment work.

There are few alternatives for big vessels in the region. Shipyards in Newport News, Virginia, and Mobile, Alabama, both have facilities that can handle larger vessels but are generally used for naval purposes and are known to be well booked ahead of time.

Deytens, located in South Carolina, has also played host to the expedition and luxury ships and mid-sized vessels over the years.

Costs at U.S.-based facilities are also higher, and there are challenges in bringing in skilled labour and large amounts of the hotel and marine supplies from foreign countries that are needed for large scale refurbishments, which often see spending of up to $3 million per day in supplies and labour.

With reported widespread damage in Freeport, operations to the yard could be impacted. Housing both permanent and temporary workers could prove challenging unless accommodation vessels are brought in.

Another expensive option could be the Boka Vanguard, a semi-submersible heavy transport vessel operated by Netherlands-based Boskalis, which helped provide a platform for emergency repairs to the Carnival Vista earlier this year.

In Curacao, Damen Shipyards offers a drydock option and has plenty of cruise experience.

Cruise lines could also choose to wet-dock their vessels at industrial piers just about anywhere. The upside being the vessel would be empty and available for hotel refit. Crane access could be limited making logistics of getting supplies off and on the ship challenging.

However, classification societies require ships to come out of the water at regular intervals for inspection.

The most likely option, however, is the regular drydock facilities in Europe. The question is whether they have available space when needed, and the impact of moving ships that were scheduled to drydock in the Bahamas to Europe, mixing up some itineraries and deployment.

Cancelling a scheduled drydocking for the third or fourth quarter of 2019 or early 2020 and replacing it with a normal sailing would also pose challenges with a short booking window.

Bahamas Paradise Steps Up in Freeport; Runs Evacuation, Delivers Supplies

Docked in Freeport on Friday

The Grand Celebration from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line returned to Palm Beach on Saturday morning with more than 1,100 evacuated Bahamian and American residents aboard.

The cruise line spent nearly a full day on Friday clearing potential evacuees, including vetting their visa and passport documentation, as well as landing key supplies.

The ship sailed from Palm Beach on Thursday evening on a humanitarian mission, with 300 first responders and volunteers aboard, as well as 200 Bahamian residents who were stranded in South Florida during Hurricane Dorian.

“Doctors were leaving work to join the ship,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise. “After making the announcement earlier in the week that we were going, we had 300 tons of supplies donated within hours.”

Prior to docking in Freeport, the crew had prepared 850 boxed lunches and delivered them to local shelters.

The ship was also loaded with 150 palettes, totalling more than 225,000 pounds of supplies, including water, food, personal hygiene products, medical equipment, generators and more. Four of these palettes were exclusively dog food, according to a press release.

“Everything is pro bono,” Khosa told Cruise Industry News. “We opened up the ship going there and going back.”

100 additional Bahamian bins were also transported, sent from family members in South Florida and delivered directly to Grand Bahama Island residents who picked them up in Freeport.

In addition to delivering supplies, medical personnel onboard also delivered a baby when visiting a local facility in Freeport.