The MV Grand Celebration, owned and operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, will be heading to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the request of FEMA. The chartered ship will have responsibility for housing the National Guard - first responders as they help to rebuild the lives of individuals and create some structure after the devastation left behind by Hurricane Irma.
The humanitarian mission is expected to start with the ship's arrival in St. Thomas on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and last through the latter half of December. The cruise line will resume normal cruise operations beginning with the cruise on Saturday, December 23, 2017, with 2-night cruises between the Port of Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island. The ship has 750 cabins and a capacity up to 1,900 passengers.
"We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week," explained Oneil Khosa, CEO of the cruise line. "We feel badly about this 90-day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time."
The island of St. Thomas now must be on alert for the path of Maria, which is a category 5 hurricane.
Individuals who booked directly with the cruise line for cruises through December 21 can contact Bahamas Paradise's customer service department at 800-374-4363 to review all the options that are available to guests. Direct cruise line customers can receive a full refund or reschedule their cruise with a $100 onboard credit. Other booked guests should contact their travel providers.
Media Release provided by: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Director, Community Relations
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Update: Grand Celebration departed from the Port of Palm Beach on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. The vessel arrived in St. Croix, USVI, on Sunday, September 24, 2017.