Cruise ship returns to port after providing relief to the Bahamas

PORT OF PALM BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — A cruise ship has returned from the Bahamas after providing relief and supplies to the people who desperately need it.

The Grand Celebration docked at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach on Wednesday after visiting the victims of Hurricane Dorian for several weeks.

Crew members on board the ship said they felt the work they have done during their humanitarian mission in Grand Bahamas has changed lives.

“In a nutshell, this incredible despair and amazing hope,” said Bahamas Relief Cruise official Kimberly Mayo, describing what she saw on the island.

Since the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s first mission to the island nation, officials with the company said hundreds of volunteers have delivered over 800 tons of supplies to the victims and have cooked more than 10,000 hot meals for them.

Once the ship arrived in Freeport, Bahamians lined up outside for much-needed water and food. Cameras captured a family putting an entire pallet of food in the back of a pickup truck.

“We strongly believe they need help, and it seems we are probably the only lifeline,” said Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line CEO O’Neil Khosa.

Some of the meals were hand delivered to the homes of the victims living in the areas that were hardest hit by the storm.

Meanwhile, other victims were able to come on board the ship and were thrown a party to lift their spirits. Music was played, food was served and a movie was shown.

Organizers said to be able to put smiles on the children and parents faces was the most touching part of their trip.

“Our mission was really centered on bringing warm, hospitable relief. That’s what we do for a living,” said Bahamas Relief Cruise official Terry Bode. “Gathering all those volunteers we were able to do this, to go deep in the neighborhoods, touch people, deliver quality meals with a smile, have a conversation and understand the affected people.”

Organizers did not stop their relief efforts there, as they helped to rebuild several important buildings including an orphanage and a fire department. A dozen homes were also rebuilt by the volunteers.

The Bahamas Relief Cruise organizers said if they are able to continue these trips to the Bahamas, they will be able to help the people on the islands tremendously by months, if not years. They also said they cannot do it alone and need help.

“The rebuilding effort, again, was amazing,” said Bode. “We were able to complete our four major buildings that we had targeted but also go into people’s homes and help them put their roofs back and do the drywall, et cetera and get them going again.”

“I can assure you, we’re working on all fronts to keep this mission going, because they need help, and they need help now,” said Khosa.

Cruise line officials said they’re in talks with the Bahamian government in order to help continue their missions.

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