Australia’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Australia, which has multiple cruise brands sailing to the South Pacific, has pledged $150,000 as an immediate contribution to cyclone ravaged Vanuatu.
Carnival Australia is working through its charity partner, Save the Children Australia, which already has a team on the ground in Vanuatu and is preparing to send more people and aid.
And while the line will be making adjustments to schedules to avoid impeding the rescue efforts, it is acutely aware that the Pacific nation’s economy relies on its services.
Carnival Legend sails today to the South Pacific. The cruise was scheduled to visit Port Vila, Mystery Island and Santo in Vanuatu, but it is unlikely the ship will visit those islands as the communities “need to focus on their recovery”, a Carnival spokesperson told Cruise Passenger.
Carnival is working on alternative options in the South Pacific to offer the best cruise experience possible for its guests. Pacific Dawn is scheduled to visit Vila on Wednesday but that call is very unlikely even if the weather improves as “we do not want to hinder recovery efforts in any way”, said the spokesperson.
The Carnival Australia contribution comprises $100,000 to Save the Children’s Vanuatu relief fund and $50,000 from the existing P&O Pacific Partnership with Save the Children.
“It is impossible not to be moved by the stark images coming from Vanuatu with lives lost and unimaginable destruction,” Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said. “Along with our passengers, we feel a very strong bond with the Vanuatu people for the warmth of their welcome over many decades.
“The contribution being announced today is an immediate first step and we will be guided by our Save the Children partners on what more we and our passengers can do.”
Carnival Australia is the biggest cruise operator in the Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific region and represents seven distinct cruise brands – P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Cunard and P&O Cruises World Cruising.
Ships from the combined Carnival Australia fleet account for most of the cruise ship visits to Vanuatu destinations.
“We are very aware of how important cruise ship visits are to the Vanuatu economy and we hope any disruption will be short lived,” Ms Sherry said.
“However, our immediate focus is to work with Save the Children to deliver urgently needed help on the ground in places where villages have been wiped out.
“We have many Ni-Van crew working on our ships and we particularly feel for them at this difficult time for their families and friends.”