Is it time to go back yet?
As most will remember, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage across thousands of miles in the fall of 2017. The damage was so bad that the Office for Coastal Management at the NOAA reported that “Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total costs of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.”
Since that time, impacted cruise ports have reopened, and popular destinations have continued the rebuilding process. However, some spots have not recovered as quickly as others. Before you prepare for your next trip, explore how hurricane damaged regions in major cruise destinations are recovering almost two years later.
Planning on taking a cruise from one of the many cruise ports in Florida? If so, there is a good chance that your itinerary includes a stop at one of the state’s most beautiful areas: Key West. In 2017, Hurricane Irma slammed the area as a Category 4 hurricane. Thankfully, as of summer 2018, reports were beginning to show that the Island had recovered well. Dozens of restaurants, hotels, and popular tourist attractions have reopened, with a few exceptions. According to Miami.com, several more popular hotels and camping areas (such as the KOA campground) are set to reopen later this year.
Puerto Rico experienced long-term devastation after Hurricane Maria hit as a Category 4 storm. Power was out for months (almost a year in some spots), and many went without a steady source of food or water long after the storm had hit. The first cruise ships were able to return to ports 10 weeks after the storm hit, while others waited five months. As of late last year, some cruise excursions still remained altered or completely changed. In mid-2018, USA Today reported that government experts said that $139 billion is still needed to fully rebuild Puerto Rico.
Various islands in the Caribbean
Cruise itineraries to many of the islands in the Caribbean were changed or cancelled back in 2017, after both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria hit. While many destinations that are closer to or part of the United States experienced these Hurricanes as powerful Category 4 storms, the Caribbean Islands experienced them as Category 5 storms. Popular destinations such as St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Anguilla were some of the hardest hit places. Despite areas that are still under construction and repair, the Caribbean cruise ports are welcoming guests with many of the same experiences that were available prior to Hurricane Irma and Maria.
If your plans for 2019 include a cruise that takes you to one or more of the destinations impacted by Hurricane Irma and/or Hurricane Maria, you will likely see remaining signs of recovery. Almost two years post-hurricane, tourism is beginning to recover, even more popular hotels and restaurants are reopening, and the healing process for those affected continues to progress. Although there is still much work ahead for many of the areas mentioned, tourism is a source of income that can and will help these Islands recover over the long-term.