Crew members on board Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Empress of the Seas ship worked overnight to pack 10,000 meal boxes to deliver to Freeport, Bahamas Thursday morning.
The Miami-based cruise company is in contact with the Bahamas government and plans to set up a relief operation at the Grand Bahama ship yard. For the next week, Royal Caribbean plans to augment its itineraries so that one of its ships arrives in Freeport each day with relief food.
“Its a huge production given the amount of time,“ said Melroy Antao, head of food and beverage on the Empress of the Seas. “This is a mammoth job to undertake.”
Sixty restaurant crew members, 40 bar crew members and 40 cooks darted around the ship’s main ballroom packing meal boxes with chips, granola, apples and cutlery starting at 8:30pm as the ship left PortMiami.
“I need chips! Chips!” one yelled as his supply ran low. Others cheered.
Hot food preparation of rice, chicken and turkey began at 3:30am.
The Empress ship was originally scheduled for a seven-day cruise beginning last Sunday, but the company changed its schedule due to Hurricane Dorian.
The company now plans to take 500 evacuees from Freeport to Nassau on Thursday evening. A separate barge with donated generators, water and food is arriving to Freeport Thursday as well.