Royal Caribbean International has canceled a planned sailing for a worthier cause: rescue and humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Miami-based cruise line canceled Saturday’s voyage on Adventure of the Seas, scheduled to leave from San Juan on a seven-night itinerary to Curaçao, Aruba and St. Kitts & Nevis.
Instead, the 3,114-passenger ship arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico Wednesday to pick up 1,700 evacuees, some of them Royal Caribbean employees and their families, and the majority residents in need of evacuation.
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San Juan was the first stop in a three-stop humanitarian tour that will stop in St. Croix Friday and St. Thomas Saturday. Royal Caribbean expects to pick up more than 3,000 evacuees across the three islands.
The cruise line is working with the local governments in St. Croix, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico to coordinate the evacuation effort.
Additionally, the line will also drop off relief supplies in the three ports and then sail back to Fort Lauderdale with the evacuees on Oct. 3. The ship will return to San Juan on Oct. 6 to operate its next scheduled itinerary on Oct. 7.
Travelers on the canceled Adventure of the Seas voyage will get a full refund, plus 25 percent future cruise credit if they book in the next 30 days.
Due to damage at the port of San Juan, most future Royal Caribbean sailings that stop in Puerto Rico have been rerouted to other locations in the Caribbean, but Adventure of the Seas plans to continue homeporting on the island. The ship is one of two that call San Juan home. The other, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Fascination, has canceled three sailings due to damage to Carnival’s terminal at the port.
The rescue mission will be the second wave of Royal Caribbean evacuations in the Caribbean. The cruise line sent two ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten following the passage of Hurricane Irma earlier this month.
Adventure of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas evacuated a combined 1,700 people in St. Thomas and St. Maarten after Irma.
The cruise line also delivered more than 25 pallets of medical supplies, 29,571 gallons of water, 13,050 pounds of animal supplies, 9,355 gallons of milk, 7,000 pounds of ice, 110,500 garbage bags, 4,200 rolls of toilet paper, 450 power generators and 30,504 batteries to the two islands.