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Cruise Line Promises 29% Nassau Call Rise

Royal Caribbean Cruises has pledged it will make more than 100 vessel calls on Nassau over the next few months in a bid to boost the post-Hurricane Dorian economic recovery.

The cruise line said it was resuming all calls to The Bahamas, and re-opening its $250m Perfect Day attraction on Coco Cay in the Berry Islands, in the wake of the Category Five storm's passage.

Driven in part by demand for stops at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean said its vessel schedule will drive a 29% year-over-year increase in vessel calls on Nassau between now and the end of October.

"It's very important for all of us in the hospitality industry to do all we can in our individual and joint capacities to support business in The Bahamas," said Russell Benford, the cruise line's vice-president of government relations for The Americas.

"Our ships will be making more than 100 calls on Nassau in the next couple of months as part of our effort to boost economic recovery as well as satisfying our guest demand for The Bahamas, which remains our number one destination." The schedule of calls for ports in The Bahamas shows a planned itinerary of 108 calls between September 5 and October 31.

With at least one cruise ship per day diverting to Grand Bahama to deliver supplies and provide some 20,000 meals for Hurricane Dorian victims, Royal Caribbean said it is now moving to get business back to normal.

"While we have been focused on offering assistance with the hurricane recovery, we would like to assure the people of The Bahamas that we remain committed to the long-term success of the Bahamian tourism industry which includes our plans to dramatically transform the Grand Lucaya resort with our partners at ITM through our joint venture, Holistica Destinations," said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean's president and chief executive.

"We are greatly relieved to know that all 370 employees whom we evacuated from Coco Cay before Dorian are safe and back on the island. For those who did not have family to stay with in Nassau or another island that was not expected to be in the path of the storm, we sheltered in hotels and other accommodations, trying to make them as comfortable as possible as we waited out the horrific events of the past ten days."

Photos of staff arriving back at Coco Cay showed team members hugging each other with relief that their fellow workers are safe. "You could see the raw emotion on their faces, and also a sense of relief that work was resuming, which meant life was beginning to return to some sort of normalcy," said Mr Benford.

"Royal Caribbean International's commitment to The Bahamas has never been stronger than it is today, and as we mark 50 years since our first ship sailed into Nassau harbour on our company's inaugural cruise, we join those many entities who want to do all we can to help the beautiful people of this nation recover from Hurricane Dorian.

"We know that one of the most important contributions we can make as a company is to bring guests to the shores of the Bahamas and do all we can to boost business."

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