Royal Caribbean has transported 810 people and donated almost 150,000 bottles of water as of Tuesday the company said.
Ken Dames, 54, a building superintendent in Baker’s Bay on Great Guyana Cay, one of the Abacos, said in an interview in Marsh Harbour, the biggest town on Great Abaco, that he thought the cruise lines should help “as a good will gesture,” especially considering that they benefit from their relationship with the Bahamas.
“The Bahamas depends on them,” Mr. Dames said, “and they depend on the Bahamas.”
But he pointed out that Marsh Harbour, the hardest hit settlement on the Abacos, is not equipped to receive large vessels, so ferrying evacuees to the ships from the city’s port would be logistically complicated and expensive.
Tracy Quan, Royal Caribbean’s associate vice president of corporate communications, said she believes Royal Caribbean has a moral obligation to the countries its ships frequent.
Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation for the Bahamas, acknowledged that the government’s relationship with the cruise companies has at times been “rocky,” but he said the companies are doing better, namely by designing projects closer to town centers that better integrate into the local economies. The companies are criticized for operating on private islands in the Bahamas, which do little to boost local economies.
For Hurricane Dorian, he said, they have “risen to the occasion.”
Oneil Khosa, the chief executive of Bahamas Paradise, said he is still evaluating how to continue helping the Bahamas: Should he offer cruises to passengers designed for humanitarian aid? Evacuations, he said, felt like “the right thing to do.”
“We were there, we had room,” he said, explaining the company’s reaction. “If you are thirsty today, it doesn’t help you if I bring you water in 10 days. We are close, we can do it, we know the waters, let’s go.”