Cruise lines to help evacuate Irma-ravaged St. Thomas

A picture shows a wrecked car in the streets of Marigot,
Damage caused by Hurricane Irma

Two cruise lines on Saturday said they were diverting ships to the hurricane-ravaged island of St. Thomas to drop relief supplies and evacuate stranded travelers.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it was sending the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky to the island with the goal of retrieving as many as 2,000 vacationers who were unable to leave before Hurricane Irma hit on Wednesday. The ship currently is off the coast of Mexico and should arrive in St. Thomas by late Monday.

Royal Caribbean said it was redirecting its 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas to the island to similarly evacuate several thousand travelers and also to drop water, food, ice and other provisions that are needed. The ship is off the west coast of Cuba and expected to arrive in St. Thomas on Tuesday.

The two ships are based in Miami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, and currently are sailing without passengers. The lines previously had canceled their weekend sailings due to the approach of Irma and sent the ships toward Mexico to seek shelter from the storm.

Royal Caribbean also plans to redirect its 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas to the hard-hit island of St. Martin on Sunday for an unscheduled stop to drop relief supplies. The vessel is departing San Juan, Puerto Rico late Saturday on a previously scheduled cruise to the Southern Caribbean and is loading on provisions that are needed for a mounting relief effort.

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Majesty of the Seas to sail Cuba cruise in 2019

Image result for majesty of the seas
Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Majesty of the Seas will become its second ship to visit Cuba in 2019.

The line plans a four-day voyage from Port Canaveral departing March 25, 2019. The cruise will include a full day in Havana. Prices will start at $549 plus taxes and port fees, Royal Caribbean said.

Thus far, Royal Caribbean has only offered Havana on Empress of the Seas itineraries from Tampa, Miami and Port Everglades.

Royal Caribbean to charge for high-speed Internet on Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International said it plans to charge for Internet connection on the Majesty of the Seas when it returns from drydock.

Previously, Royal Caribbean had advertised the high-speed Voom internet as being free on the ship, which will do short cruises from Port Canaveral after the April refurbishment.

While in drydock, the Majesty will receive an expanded pool bar and poolside movie screen, family hot tubs, a kids-only pool area with the Splashaway Bay aqua park, and upgraded cabins. Royal Caribbean said the need for those investments precluded offering Voom for free.

For a limited time, however, free Voom will be available to acknowledge the previously advertised service. On cruises from May 15 to July 1, it will be included in the cruise fare. Passengers who booked before March 15 for sailings anytime after May 15 will also get free Internet.

Although they vary by ship, Voom packages typically cost about $15 a day.