With a little more than a month left in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, a handful of Caribbean islands are already on tap to receive boatloads of additional rerouted cruise sailings and tens of thousands of more passengers through the end of this year.
Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria have made this season one of the deadliest and costliest ever recorded and some destinations in the region, such as Puerto Rico, are still without electricity, other utilities and basic supplies after the storms made landfall and passed on. The fallout from the storms comes as the Caribbean’s peak tourism season kicks off in December.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said during an earnings call late last month that about seven to nine percent of ports in the Caribbean were affected severely enough to be shut down for some amount of time.
But many ports in the southern and western parts of the region suffered no impact from the storms. The Bahamas escaped damage. And several that had to close reopened quickly, including those in Havana, Martinique, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada. San Juan’s port just reopened.
Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company, said ports in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Grand Turk, Dominica, Tortola, and St. Croix were all rebuilding and ships are heading to other islands in the meantime.
During the Carnival earnings call, Donald said leaders of some of the affected islands were “cautiously optimistic” that they would be “up and running — or most of them will — before the end of the year, which places them well for the peak season.”
“It’s part of our job to make certain people know that there are plenty of great places to go in the Caribbean and even those places impacted are coming back,” he said.
Taking on More Cruise Ships
Many other islands were largely untouched by recent storms and feel they’re positioned to help their neighbors weather the aftermath and welcome rerouted cruise itineraries.
Martinique, for example,…