Since the Covid-19 pandemic virtually annihilated the global cruise industry overnight back in March 2020, repurposing of cruise ships to give them something to do other than sit at anchorage in various sites around the globe has not been uncommon. They were used to return stranded crew to their home countries (which led to a temporary accumulation of hull risk in the Philippines that had not a few insurers concerned). They have been used as quarantine vessels and in other ways far removed from their normal leisure role.
This week yet another repurposing came into action, with two cruise ships, the Carnival Glory (IMO 9198367) and the Grand Classica (IMO 8716502) joining in the efforts to aid New Orleans and Louisiana in recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Ida.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) contracted with Carnival Cruise Line for a short-term charter of the 110,000 gt Carnival Glory, which had recently arrived in the New Orleans area and was due to resume cruises in September. Those commercial trips were cancelled because of the hurricane. The vessel itself rode out the hurricane by diverting west towards Mexico.
The Carnival Glory arrived at the Port of New Orleans on Friday September 3rd and underwent a US Coast Guard inspection. The ship then began provisioning food, water, and materials to prepare to house up to 2,600 hospital workers, first responders, city and utility workers, and other emergency personnel. The ship will stay in port and serve as emergency housing for frontline workers directly involved in the city’s infrastructure recovery and healthcare needs.
Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said that “while we want to provide the city of New Orleans with an economic boost by restarting guest operations, we want to first provide this critical housing support to address emergency needs and to get power restored to the region”.
The current plans call for the Carnival Glory to provide housing through to September 18th. Carnival Cruise Line cancelled its September 5th and 12th cruises, but plans to resume sailing on September 19th.
Meanwhile on September 7th the Grand Classica, operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line from Florida, also arrived in New Orleans. The 52,926 gt vessel has been chartered by Louisiana-based power company Entergy. The ship, which had resumed cruising in July, was loaded with bottled water, food, and supplies in its homeport of Palm Beach, Florida before departing for New Orleans on September 4th.
Grand Classica will stay in New Orleans for up to a month. During that time it will provide housing for up to 1,500 personnel that are working to rebuild the power and communications grid in southern Louisiana.
2003-built, Panama-flagged, 110,480 gt Carnival Glory is owned and ISM-managed by Carnival Cruise Line of Doral, Florida, USA. Commercial manager is Carnival Corp of Doral, Florida, USA. It is entered with Steamship Mutual and with UK Club.
1991-built, Bahamas-flagged, 53,015 gt Grand Classica is owned and managed by Cost Crociere Spa of genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Campbell Cruise & Yacht of Nassau, Bahamas. It is entered with American Club on behalf of Classica Cruise Operator Ltd.