Carnival Cruise Ships - Temporary Katrina Housing
Three Carnival cruise ships will provide temporary housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina. This seems like a perfect solution, as the "floating hotels" can easily move in to pick up passengers.
The 3 ships hold around 2,500 passengers each, and each room features at least a shower, toilet and bed. This seems to be an ideal solution for the thousands of people left homeless in the aftermath of the terrible hurricane. The ships can float right up to a nearby port, pick up all of the passengers, and then stay somewhere near shore as needed.
Cruise ships have a number of cabins set up for various needs - they have handicap-friendly cabins, cabins for singles, cabins for families. In fact, as cruise ships have restaurants on board, they could even provide food for the families at reasonable prices. This is probably a far better alternative than most temporary shelters - like school gyms or town halls - could possibly offer.
Carnival is offering a full refund to all of the passengers who had already booked cruises on those 3 ships for the next 6 months. I realize that some passengers are going to be disappointed that they could not take their dream cruise to the Bahamas or whereever they had planned on going. However, we are talking about people who simply have no place at all to live. A cruise, no matter how much we look forward to one, is a pleasure trip. It is a leisure activity. You can always vacation elsewhere, you can get married elsewhere. That is not the end of the world. Given that these people in Katrina's wake have lost everything - completely everything - that they might have the tiny decency of a private room with toilet and shower is going to be a life-changing benefit to them.
I am thrilled that this solution has been worked out to handle at least some of the homeless people in the southeastern US, and I hope that equally suitable solutions can be found so that every person without a home can find shelter and food until the rebuilding can begin.
If you are a cruiser, consider donating a portion of your cruise entertainment budget to the Katrina relief efforts. You might not to get to go SCUBA diving on one of your vacation days - but a family will be able to eat and be sheltered for quite a number of days on that same dollar amount.
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