Pallets of bottled water, generators and other hurricane relief supplies will be delivered to the Bahamas from Baltimore aboard the Carnival Pride cruise ship this week.
As passengers boarded for this week’s cruise, dockworkers in forklifts loaded about 40 pallets of supplies, which also include chain saws, prepared meals and medical supplies, into the hull of the 963-foot ship from the pier at the port of Baltimore’s cruise terminal Sunday.
The Pride’s seven-day cruise is scheduled to arrive in Freeport, where Carnival will drop off the hurricane relief supplies, on Friday. Cruise passengers will not be allowed to get off the ship in Freeport because of the damage.
While the Bahamas might seem like a world away, the people who live and work on the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian are friends and colleagues of the cruise ship’s staff, said Eversen Bevelle, the Pride’s cruise director for the past two years, who goes by “Dr. E." The ship sails to the islands every week, year-round, bringing hundreds of thousands of passengers to the Bahamas each year.
“It’s part of our home; it’s part of our regular routine,” Bevelle said. “Hopefully we can help as much as we can.”
Carnival and the foundation of its chairman, the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, also have pledged $2 million for funding and in-kind support, the company announced.
“Each in their own way are making a difference," Micky Arison tweeted Friday. "Bahamians will persevere.”
The cruise line company is assisting Tropical Shipping and the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency by underwriting the purchase and shipment of goods from South Florida throughout the month, officials said. Another cruise ship, the Carnival Liberty, will also deliver goods to the island during a four-day cruise from Port Canaveral in Florida, leaving Sept. 9.
The companies have expanded the drive to accept donations of ready-to-eat and nonperishable food, tents, cots, hygiene kits, water, cleaning and other supplies for the island from around the world. The full list is available on Carnival’s website, and the address to send donated items is Tropical Shipping Cargo Receiving Location – Riviera Beach, 1489 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Riviera Beach, Florida, 33404.
Carnival also has partnered with a pair of charities, World Central Kitchen, which delivers free meals, and Direct Relief, which delivers urgent medical supplies. The company is asking its employees and guests to consider donating to both organizations.
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Aside from footage they’ve seen on television, the Pride’s crew isn’t sure what conditions they’ll encounter when they arrive in Freeport, Bevelle said. If storm damage and the ensuing debris prevents the crew from docking the ship, they’ll send the supplies to the island’s residents in smaller boats.
No Carnival ship has been to Freeport since the storm, Bevelle said, and seeing the damage firsthand likely will make the storm’s effects more real to all those aboard.
“I think it’ll touch home a little bit more,” he said.
More than 2 million Carnival passengers visit the islands from various destinations each year.