BY CHABELI HERRERA
Starting Sunday, a Carnival Cruise Line ship will serve as the new home for relief workers in St. Croix.
The Miami-based cruise line finalized an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday for a four-month charter of the Carnival Fascination, which typically home ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico. St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was one of several Caribbean islands severely hit by Hurricane Irma last month.
The ship will house and provide meals for workers until Feb. 3. Many of the crew of the 2,056-passenger Fascination will remain on board during the charter period, while others will be shifted to other vessels or offered early vacation, Carnival said.
“Carnival Cruise Line’s history is deeply linked to the Caribbean and our ships have been sailing within the region for more than 45 years. We are pleased to be partnering with FEMA on this charter in support of the ongoing relief efforts in the Caribbean,” the cruise line said in statement.
Guests on the line’s scheduled cruises for the period of the charter will receive a full refund and a future cruise discount.
“We have reached out to our airline partners to request their cooperation in waiving change fees and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees,” Carnival added in a statement.
Fascination will return to San Juan to operate Southern Caribbean cruises on Feb. 18, after the ship gets a scheduled upgrade with a new restaurant, bar and other features.