Cruise Lines Send Ships to Caribbean on Hurricane Rescue Mission

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. are sending some of their empty ships to the Caribbean to help evacuate stranded tourists and bring much-needed supplies to islands severely damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Norwegian expects to pick up 2,000 travelers unable to leave the island of St. Thomas prior to the storm. Its ship, Norwegian Sky, which normally cruises between Miami and the Bahamas, is sailing from its present location off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, and is expected to arrive in St. Thomas Monday. The effort is being organized by the government of St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the government will control the passenger list, the company said in a statement.

Royal Caribbean said two of its vessels would go to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, starting Sunday, and two more were waiting to assist in Key West and Tampa, Florida, should they be needed.

Cruise lines ended some voyages early and canceled others as Hurricane Irma loomed last week. The humanitarian effort is similar to moves made by airlines.

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