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Royal Caribbean sends cruise ship to help evacuate people from Puerto Rico

NEW YORK – Royal Caribbean is using a cruise ship to help evacuate people from Puerto Rico and deliver needed supplies to Caribbean islands.

The cruise line announced on Tuesday that it is canceling its September 30 Adventure of the Seas trip so it can use the ship to help victims of Hurricane Maria.

The 3,800 passenger vessel will bring aid to San Juan, as well as St. Croix and St. Thomas, which were hit by both Maria and Hurricane Irma. Adventure arrives in San Juan on Wednesday and will take evacuees to Fort Lauderdale before returning to Puerto Rico next week.

The evacuations come as people remain stranded inside Puerto Rico’s main airport, which is running on fumes. Only ten flights made it in and out of the San Juan airport on Tuesday, and just 18 are scheduled for Wednesday. Security checks are being done by hand because TSA equipment was damaged in the storm and airlines are having a hard time printing boarding passes.

A week after Maria hit, people are desperate for provisions.

Royal Caribbean is donating water, medical supplies and more to those in need.

The company started offering aid after Hurricane Irma devastated a wide swath of the Caribbean earlier this month. So far, it has helped evacuate more than 1,700 people and has promised to match donations of up to $1 million to help with Irma relief.

Other cruise lines are also pitching in.

Norwegian Cruise Line is working with the disaster relief group All Hands Volunteers to help rebuild schools and infrastructure in Puerto Rico. The company is donating $600,000 toward rebuilding efforts in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, and has promised to match up to $1.25 million in donations to All Hands Volunteers and Happy Heart Fund's relief efforts from its guests, team members and partners.

Following Hurricane Irma, Carnival deployed 11 ships to bring supplies to islands in the Caribbean. The ships have been making stops in Antigua and St. Kitts to drop off deliveries to Barbuda and St. Maarten during regular cruise trips.

In addition to making donations, Carnival Corporation joined the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation and Miami HEAT Charitable Fund in pledging up to $10 million in funding and support for Florida and the Caribbean following Irma.