Carnival Fascination returns to San Juan

San Juan has regained its homeported Carnival Cruise Line ship, five months after Hurricane Maria knocked the Carnival Fascination out of the market.

The 2,056-passenger Fantasy-class ship was chartered to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for use by relief workers in St. Croix for several months after the storm while Carnival repaired damage to its terminal in San Juan.

The 24-year-old ship then went into a drydock to be upgraded before returning to cruising duty.  Several Funship 2.0 restaurants were installed during the drydock, including Guy’s Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina and Bonsai Sushi Express. Bar concepts new to the ship will be the Alchemy Bar, the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequilla Bar. The candy store Cherry on Top was also retrofitted to the ship.

The Fascination will depart San Juan on Sundays for seven-day round-trip voyages stopping in St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Hurricane-Hit Caribbean Cruise Ports Anticipate Reopening

Hurricane-Hit Caribbean Cruise Ports Anticipate Reopening

St. Croix cruise pier holds up to hurricane; update on USVI hotels

St Croix cruise pier
A cruise ship in St. Croix last winter. Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

The Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix’s deepwater cruise ship facility, withstood the barrage of wind and storm surge from Hurricane Maria, according to U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp.

The runway at Henry Rohlsen Airport has been cleared but relief flights have not yet begun.

The government is working with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to coordinate humanitarian missions to evacuate residents, primarily those with medical conditions. The hospital and medical center on St. Croix were breached by Maria.

The governor conducted a flyover of St. Croix on Thursday and reported that the western and southwestern portions of the island received the greatest damage from Maria’s winds and water.

Until further notice, a 24-hour curfew remains in place for St. Croix, although the curfew is suspended today between noon and 4 p.m. to allow for essential tasks such as refueling or picking up supplies from the four distribution centers on the island.

Curfew hours for St. Thomas and St. John are 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.

FEMA urban search and rescue teams arrived on St. Croix Thursday night.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery. It ain’t gonna happen overnight. We have to manage our expectations realistically and we will get through this,” Mapp said in a media briefing on Thursday.

He called for “all hands on deck” as the USVI expands its recovery efforts. Maria significantly impacted St. Croix and worsened conditions in hurricane-affected St. Thomas and St. John.

Hotel updates on St. Croix:

• Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino reported that the grounds sustained damage and assessment is underway.

• Caravelle Hotel & Casino is operational and will accommodate relief workers.

• Hotel on the Cay survived the storm and will house first responders and the Air National Guard.

• The Buccaneer was spared major damage and guests and staff are safe.

St. John:

• Caneel Bay is closed. Further updates for 2018 will become available in due course.

• Westin St. John is closed until further notice.

St. Thomas:

• Point Pleasant sustained some damage. Guests should cancel all reservations through Nov. 15.

• Sugar Bay Resort & Spa is closed.

• Windward Passage is closed.

• Club Wyndham Reservations advises that all four St. Thomas resorts are closed until Oct. 10, including Margaritaville Vacation Club, Bluebeard’s Beach Club, WorldMark St. Thomas and Elysian Beach Resort.

• Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is closed.

• Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is closed.

• Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is housing relief workers and people in need. It hopes to reopen in the second or third week of December.