Tug boats maneuver around the Carnival cruise ship Triumph as she rests against a dock on the east side of the Mobile River.
The Carnival Fascination won’t be back in Barbados until February 2018.
This after the cruise line announced today that the Fascination has been chartered by the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a four-month stint. The ship will be used to house relief personnel working in the U.S. Virgin Islands which are struggling to recover after being hit by back to back category 5 storms last month – Hurricane Irma and Maria. The duration of the charter is from October 15, 2017 to February 3, 2018.
As a result, Carnival has cancelled cruises scheduled to operate on the Fascination which is usually homeported in San Juan Puerto Rico and sails a seven-day cruise from Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten, San Juan and St Thomas.
Two weeks ago, Carnival announced the cancellation of its September 24, October 4 and 11 cruises to Barbados, due to the damage Hurricane Maria caused to San Juan in Puerto Rico which was also badly hit by Hurricane Maria in September.
The subsequent cancellation means that taxi drivers, tour companies, vendors and others who count on the Fascination’s 2 600-plus passengers for business will miss out for most of the tourist season.
In a press release, Carnival stated that “guests on cancelled voyages will receive a full refund along with a future cruise discount for the disruption in their vacation plans.” These refunds will be processed within three weeks.
They also indicated that they have reached out to airline partners “to request their cooperation in waiving change fees and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees.”
The cruise line apologised to guests booked on the affected cruises, noting:
“We know this change in plans is going to cause some disappointment and inconvenience and we thank them for their understanding.”
They emphasised however that their history is “deeply linked to the Caribbean” as they have been sailing to the region for “more than 45 years” and they felt it important to partner with FEMA “in support of the ongoing relief efforts in the Caribbean.”
The Carnival Fascination will return to normal service on February 18, 2018.