SAN JUAN – Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas plans to resume sailing to San Juan, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last month, Puerto Rico Tourism Company executive director Jose Izquierdo said Wednesday.
“Pleased to announce that @RoyalCaribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will resume transit calls to San Juan on November 30,” Izquierdo said in a Twitter post.
The decision to resume operations in San Juan was made after several top Royal Caribbean executives visited Puerto Rico earlier this month and met with Gov. Ricardo Rossello.
Izquierdo joined the cruise line executives for a tour of the facilities at the port of San Juan.
“Thanking our loyal partners @RoyalCaribbean for their committed support to Puerto Rico’s relief, rebuilding, and recovery efforts,” Izquierdo tweeted.
Royal Caribbean International said Thursday that its ships would return to San Juan and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, next month.
“On Nov. 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico, arriving with approximately 3,782 visitors to the island that is renowned for its passionate, welcoming spirit. Grandeur of the Seas will follow suit on Dec. 17 as the first cruise ship to sail into, St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived to provide humanitarian relief last month,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
Last week, the cruise line had announced that it planned to resume sailing to the US Virgin Islands, with the Adventure of the Seas scheduled to call on St. Thomas on Nov. 10.
“We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley said. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”
On Wednesday, the editors of the Lonely Planet travel guides said they had selected San Juan as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2018
, praising the capital’s efforts to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico’s government said Tuesday that the death toll from Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on Sept. 20, stood at 51.