Carnival Boss Confirms Caribbean is "Open for Business"

October 10, 2017
Grand Turk (Photo:mikolajn/Shutterstock)

(10 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Corp.'s President and CEO Arnold Donald says the vast majority of the Caribbean is "open for business" following a devastating hurricane season.

Speaking to Cruise Critic exclusively at this year's Abta Travel Convention in the Azores, Donald stated: "Of the 47 islands we visit, five have sustained significant damage.

"We got relief supplies there as quick as we could, and power has been restored [in St Maarten] after one week.

"All of our brands have adjusted their itineraries, but we'll still give guests a great cruise experience in the Caribbean."

He added: "The Caribbean is open for business."

Which Caribbean Cruise Ports Are Open?

Carnival Corp. encompasses 10 brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard, P&O, P&O Australia and Seabourn. Donald said bookings were down during the worst of the season but have recovered in the past week and a half:

"We have seen bookings [to the Caribbean] bounce back over the last week to 10 days because people understand the different parts of the region have been affected in different ways -- not the whole region. We are seeing that market pick up."

Donald said Grand Turk would be "open in 30 days." Carnival will resume calls to Puerto Rico October 15.

The Carnival brands have adjusted their itineraries that had scheduled visits to the worst hit islands -- St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Thomas and Anguilla -- until the end of the year. It is still not clear when St. Maarten or St. Thomas will be able to accept cruise ships, because of port infrastructure damage sustained by Hurricane Irma and then Hurricane Maria.

Donald didn't speculate on when the affected ports will reopen, saying, "We can't guess when these ports will be open, so we have to adjust itineraries accordingly. But we are hopeful. So we have made changes up until the end of the year, but no changes from 2018 onwards."

--By Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, U.K.