With the vast majority of the Caribbean untouched by recent storms and open for business, the region's momentum continues as cruise line brands from Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company, begin returning this month to Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Most of the nearly 100 destinations in the Caribbean have been fully operational since the storms, and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports that nearly 90% of the region is open for business.
Carnival Corporation brands have operated normal schedules in the aftermath of the September storms, modifying itineraries for only a handful of impacted destinations. Vigorous recovery efforts to restore cruise travel to those affected destinations have led to the re-opening of cruise ports in Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan.
Below is a summary of when Carnival Corporation brands return to these three popular destinations:
– Carnival Cruise Line returned to Grand Turk on November 1, and will return to San Juan on November 30 and St. Thomas on January 9.
– Seabourn visited St. Thomas November 3 and will return to San Juan starting on December 18.
– Holland America Line will return to Grand Turk on November 6, St. Thomas starting on November 8 and San Juan starting on December 7.
– AIDA Cruises will return to Grand Turk beginning November 9.
– Princess Cruises will return to St. Thomas starting on November 12, Grand Turk starting on December 15 and San Juan starting on December 20.
– Costa Cruises will return to San Juan starting on December 17 and Grand Turk on December 23.
– P&O Cruises UK will return to Grand Turk on December 20.
"The Caribbean covers a far-reaching region of more than one million square miles, so it is important to know the vast majority of its islands realized little or no impact from the September storms, and we have been sailing thousands of guests to the Caribbean for great vacations," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "The Caribbean is the world's most popular region for cruise vacations – and its people and businesses are not only great hosts to our guests, but they also have a strong spirit and resilience. So, for those few islands that were impacted, we applaud them for their tireless efforts to recover and rebound, stronger than ever. We are thrilled to have our brands beginning to return to renowned destinations such as Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, and we know our guests will also be happy to have those ports as part of their cruise vacation."
In October, the FCCA announced it launched www.CaribbeanIsOpen.com, a website that is part of its multifaceted, million-dollar campaign to generate awareness that the majority of Caribbean destinations are operating normally, unhindered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and have been welcoming and continue to welcome tens of thousands of travelers every day.
"The landing site is an invaluable resource for destinations and cruise lines to spread information about and footage of the beautiful destinations awaiting guests," said Michele Paige, president of FCCA. "It is crucial to connect with potential travelers and show them that most of the unparalleled experiences in the Caribbean are fully available to them as they plan upcoming vacations, and also to let them know that the best way to show support is to travel to the Caribbean, as the entire region greatly benefits from tourism."
The website – CaribbeanIsOpen – features footage of and updates from destinations, a map showing that nearly 90 percent of the region's ports are open and welcoming guests, a Q&A broaching potential travelers' questions about visiting the Caribbean, testimonials from travelers that recently visited the Caribbean and more.