As most of you are well aware, we've had an active and strong hurricane season down here in the Southeast. Hurricane Irma just rolled through some of the most popular tourist destinations, as well as my own home. She left devastation in her wake. The Eastern Caribbean islands have a lot of rebuilding to do. At this point in time, some of the hardest hit island predict they will be able to accept ships with tourists starting in December. Many of those ships are currently making humanitarian stops to help deliver goods to the islands. This has brought up questions about future cruises.
No, don't cancel your cruise. Over the next few months itineraries will be adjusted to allow the islands to rebuild the necessary infrastructure for tourism. Alternate ports may be used in place of those that cannot accommodate the cruise ships at this time. If you had your heart set on a particular excursion, you can often find a comparable one at another port.
But, the island was ruined. Why should I go?
The residents there depend on tourism dollars. If you don't go, they lose money. Everything from the port fees collected, the trinkets you buy in port, to the tours that bring you around the islands. In turn, it takes them longer to rebuild their lives. If you had a specific excursion in mind, maybe change to something else available. Get involved in voluntourism while you are there. Bring much needed supplies for people in your suitcase and donate when you arrive. There are countless ways to help the people of the Caribbean islands in the coming months.
How will we know when it will be back to normal?
I have a cruise planned for early December. With stops in St Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. I will gladly report back on the conditions of the ports :) In addition, the islands are very anxious to reopen to tourists and get back to business as usual. I will keep you updated with every ounce of information I get.
Please stay safe if you are in an area affected by the storm. Don't rush to accomplish anything that could put you or your family in danger. Take your time returning home if you have evacuated!