Cruise ship turns to humanitarian efforts in Australia
A cruise ship which was left in the lurch by the COVID-19 outbreak has been put to good use by providing humanitarian support and assistance — starting with relieving Australian firefighting personnel.
Cruise company Royal Caribbean confirmed on Tuesday that their ship, Spectrum of the Seas, would embark on two complimentary trips out of Sydney as a way of thanking those who battled the country's recent bushfire disaster, the majority of whom were volunteers.
"We are in a fortunate position to offer these brave and selfless members of the Australian community the opportunity to join us for a few days and let them relax and unwind in the company of other volunteers and first responders," Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said.
The ship is currently excluded from sailing to China due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and Bayley explained that the company hoped to make the best of a devastating situation by using its resources for humanitarian efforts.
A similar relief service will be offered to firefighters from the United States, who battled California's recent devastating wildfires and will be treated to cruises aboard the ship, Celebrity Millennium, during the months of March and April.
The company had also recently completed a shipment of over one million surgical masks to China in order to help with the virus recovery.
"At Royal Caribbean, we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to use our ships in a positive way during difficult times," Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said.
"We admire the all-out efforts of the Chinese government and people to address this crisis, and we want to bring our resources to bear to help their efforts."
Bayley added that when circumstances improve, the company will dedicate a ship to China to offer complimentary journeys for responders and medical personnel whose heroic efforts helped to defeat the virus.