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When Cruise Ships Come To The Rescue

For the majority of the time, cruise ships serve as relaxing ways to explore the world. However, sometimes these vessels are called into action of a different kind in order to respond to an incident of some sort.

Luckily, the cruise industry in general is very proactively with helping out during these types of events and so there are some great examples of ships coming to the rescue over the years.

Here are just a few.

HMHS Britannic Becomes Hospital Ship During WW1


Whilst many cruise ships were used to carry troops and ammunition during WW1 (due to their size and speed), others, such as Britannic became hospital vessels to help look after the injured. Sister to the ill-fated Titanic, Britannic was built by White Star Line and was supposed to be one of the first in a long line of luxurious ships that moved away from speed and focussed more on comfort.

However, as Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, she was converted to offer 3,000 berths to injured soldiers. Sadly, like her famous sibling, she was eventually sunk in 1916. Not at the hands of an iceberg. This time, it was a mine that brought about her destruction.

The good news is that the majority of the 1,000 people on board at the time managed to survive with just 30 unfortunately losing their lives.

Various Ships Used As Olympic Accommodation

Silver Cloud

When the summer or winter Olympic Games come to town, you can guarantee an influx of visitors in the form of athletes and people coming to watch the events. However, this poses the problem of where all of these people are going to stay.

Over the years, it has become common nature to use cruise ships as temporary hotels to help solve this problem. Certain Olympic teams have even chosen to stay on board ships rather than brave the hastily constructed and not completely sanitary Athletes Village. This was the case in 2016 when the US men’s and women’s basketball teams got relax on the decks of Silversea’s Silver Cloud.

Other cruise ships used for similar reasons include Queen Mary 2 way back in 2004, Fred. Olsen’s Braemar at the London 2012 games and Norwegian Jade at the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014.

Carnival Ships House People Displaced By Hurricane Katrina

Carnival Ecstasy

By The original uploader was Night Tracks at English Wikipedia. (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

After the devastation of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the US organisation FEMA had to act fast in order to find temporary homes for around 10,000 people whose lives had been drastically impacted by the storm.

A deal was struck with Carnival Cruise Lines for the use of Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Holiday (now CMV’s Magellan) and all three ships were stationed on the Mississippi for six months.

At the time, many people criticised the deal as a knee jerk reaction and one which proved that FEMA was not ready for this kind of disaster. The money paid to Carnival ($236 million) was used partly to compensate around 100,000 people who had their holidays cancelled but it was seen as a vast overpayment and one which suited the cruise line more than anyone else.

However, many of the Mississippians who stayed on the ship praised the service and said it was a ‘god send’ to have food, shelter and the opportunity to assess the situation without leaving the city.

Celebrity Eclipse Brings Holidaymakers Home

Celebrity Eclipse

When everyone’s favourite unpronounceable volcano (Eyjafjallajökull) erupted in 2010, it left thousands of holidaymakers stranded all over Europe. Many of these were due to head back to the UK but couldn’t because flights were cancelled for fear the ash ejected into the atmosphere could cause engines to fail.

Around the same time, Celebrity Eclipse was nearing completion and so the cruise line decided to take drastic steps to bring 2,000 Brits home. Cancelling a scheduled preview cruise for travel agents and answering the calls of Thomson, Co-operative Group, First Choice and Thomas Cook, the ship was sent to Bilbao where tourists had made their way to the port in the hope of sailing back to Blighty.

Despair turned to delight for some as they stepped aboard the brand new ship and were treated like paying customers. Sailing back to Southampton, they enjoyed luxury lounges, gourmet food and the chance to be the first people staying in the well-appointed cabins.

Royal Caribbean Offers Aid To The Caribbean

Enchantment of the Seas

Last year, the Caribbean region suffered its worst hurricane season for 12 years and the second-most expensive since 1900. Four major storms ripped through this part of the world, leaving islands such as St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico in ruin.

With a large number of ships in the area, it was Royal Caribbean who stepped in to rescue people from the places affected the worst. The cruise line sent Adventure of the Seas to both St. Maarten and Puerto Rico at different times and Majesty of the Seas to St. Thomas to rescue survivors and offer humanitarian aid. Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas were also stationed in the Florida Keys to offer similar help.

NCL also sent Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas to deliver supplies and assist with the humanitarian effort being organized by the government.

It’s great to see the cruise industry doing their bit to help others, but if you would like to sail aboard any of these ships when they are doing their day job, give us a call on 0808 231 4344. Alternatively, click here and send an online enquiry.

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