WHY IT RATES: The Grand Celebration has returned to port after spending nearly two full days distributing humanitarian aid to Grand Bahama Island.—Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse Senior Writer.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration arrived back at its homeport, the Port of Palm Beach, at 9 a.m. this morning, successfully completing its second round-trip humanitarian sailing since Hurricane Dorian. The cruise line teamed up with South Florida non-profits the Bahamas Relief Cruise and Mission Resolve to mobilize the ship for a second time, spending nearly two full days distributing humanitarian aid to Grand Bahama Island.
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Key Facts and Figures from This Cruise:
—Grand Celebration departed Port of Palm Beach on Sunday, September 15 with 400 pallets of humanitarian aid, three times the amount of the first sailing seven days prior – including 30,000 pounds of water, 275,000 pounds of canned and dry food, 150,000 pounds of household supplies, and 50,000 pounds of construction materials – as well as more than 300 qualified volunteers.
—150 Bahamians returned home via Grand Celebration, to help jumpstart the process of rebuilding Grand Bahama Island.
—First responders who sailed were joined by numerous business and philanthropic organizations from across South Florida. This included Bahamas Relief Cruise (comprised of members of The Everglades Trust team, along with a collection of West Palm Beach businesses and organizations including Subculture Group, Titou Hospitality Group and the Downtown West Palm Beach Hospitality Association) and Mission Resolve (who was joined by its partners in the South Florida business community, including Entrepreneurs’ Organization and others).
—Also onboard were representatives from various disaster relief response groups, including Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Department, Big Dog Ranch Rescue, and Hope Force International – plus more than 50 medical professionals – organized by the Bahamas Relief Cruise team.
—Upon arrival in Freeport, the ship’s crew and volunteers prepared more than 10,000 boxed lunches, which were delivered directly to local shelters, homes and neighborhoods by volunteers.
—Bahamas Relief Cruise brought a separate cargo ship filled with 13 pallets of materials to reconstruct the island’s local children’s home, a church and animal shelter, as well as several individual homes; the group also organized a community gathering two consecutive nights at Independence Park, focused on providing a break to thousands of people from Grand Bahama Island, with freshly prepared meals, movies for kids, a DJ and other activities.
—30 cases of water were delivered to Pastor Robert White on the north side of the island, a direct request from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line CEO Oneil Khosa, who learned of the neighborhood’s plight through a family that evacuated during the first humanitarian sailing.
—10 pallets of water and 10 generators were delivered to RAND Memorial Hospital.
—Bahamians who boarded Grand Celebration in Freeport were required to pay $49 per person and provide proof of an address in the United States where they planned to stay. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is donating 100 percent of cruise fares back to the Bahamas relief effort.
—Just over 200 Bahamians traveled back to Palm Beach on Grand Celebration with the necessary documentation required to enter the U.S., and the majority were met by friends and family.
“We are grateful to our partners, Bahamas Relief Cruise and Mission Resolve, as well as the hundreds of volunteers who came with us on Grand Celebration to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Grand Bahama Island,” said Khosa. “Our second sailing was a tremendous success, and we are proud to play such a vital role in the recovery of the island, but we can’t do it alone. We invite other industry leaders and local groups to step up and lend a hand to our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas as they embark upon a challenging journey to recovery.”
Call for Donations: With the completion of this second successful cruise, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line helped thousands of Bahamians receive aid, but there is still more work to be done. Local South Florida residents who wish to drop off supplies to help the residents of Grand Bahama Island can still deliver them to the cruise line’s Riviera Beach warehouse at 301 Broadway Ave., Bay #7, in Riviera Beach, FL 33404. Supplies will be delivered at a later date.