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Royal Caribbean Is Using a Cruise Ship to Evacuate Employees from Miami Ahead of Hurricane Irma

Sep 08, 2017

Employees of Royal Caribbean (rcl) based in Miami will be evacuated on one of the company's ships as Hurricane Irma hits Florida this weekend.

Workers and their families will leave Friday noon on the Enchantment of the Seas, sailing to calmer waters before heading back when the Port of Miami reopens, reports CNN.

This was made possible when a canceled trip to the Bahamas freed up Enchantment of the Seas. "That sailing was canceled. So we offered our employees and their family the option of evacuating on the ship," Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez told CNN.

Two other Royal Caribbean voyages were also canceled in anticipation of the storm, while journeys operated by Carnival, Norwegian and Disney Cruises have also been amended or axed entirely, according to CNN.

With a capacity for over 2,400 passengers, the 988-ft. vessel has an outdoor movie theater, a solarium, bungee trampolines and a video arcade, among other perks.

As it hurtled towards Florida, Irma wreaked havoc on a series of Caribbean islands Wednesday and Thursday, killing at least 14 people. The island of Barbuda — one of two islands making up the nation of Antigua and Barbuda — was reduced "to rubble," said Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

St. Martin, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico also saw extensive damage from Irma.

Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever formed on the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center, bringing with it a potential economic damage of up to $250 billion.

Two other storm systems, Jose and Katia, have also formed in the Gulf of Mexico.

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