ORKAAN IRMA & MARIA: KLANTEN UPDATE – 26 September 2017
September 26th 2017 UPDATE
Responding to this year’s hurricane season, Caribbean Dream Yacht founder, Loic Bonnet, says: “Our fleet and business remains strong after the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, which hit St. Martin, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Puerto Rico particularly hard. We thank our customers for their understanding and flexibility and I’m proud of our staff who worked so hard to relocate bookings and give advice to affected customers.
“Hurricane Maria hit islands that escaped the worst of Irma, and we are saddened to see the infrastructure damage on Puerto Rico and Dominica. Our hearts are with the Caribbean people who are salvaging and rebuilding their lives and businesses. We fully support this employee fund set up by some of our yacht owners, which is raising funds for our staff on the ground in St Martin and the BVI who have lost their homes and all personal belongings.
“Our team’s diligent preparation meant our fleet avoided major damage during Maria. Our Guadeloupe fleet was moved south out of Maria’s path, and the Puerto Rico fleet was well prepared to ride out the storm with minimal damage.
“There’s good news coming from the islands about recovery progress, which is great to hear. We’re working hard to be fully operational in St. Martin, the BVI and Puerto Rico by November and our Caribbean fleet capacity will be restored to pre-2017 hurricane season numbers by the end of this year. We’re rebuilding as fast as we can to support the Caribbean tourism industry and help them get back on their feet. Most of all, they need you and will give you the best Caribbean welcome you’ve ever seen!”
We remain overwhelmed by the support of our customers and staff at this difficult time. Our teams on the ground have started the difficult task of rebuilding our bases and we plan to be fully operational in Puerto Rico by mid-October and in St. Martin and the BVI by mid-November.
Dream Yacht Charter had 70 boats in St. Martin and the BVI when Irma hit and we anticipate 60% will be declared a total loss. This is a significant figure but we have a large fleet of +900 boats, spread over +47 bases, and the loss represents a small percentage of our overall Caribbean fleet. Our bases in Antigua, Martinique, St Vincent and Grenada and Guadeloupe are fully operational.
Since the the hurricanes, we’ve worked to mitigate the impact on our customers by:
- Purchasing 20 new replacement boats for the St. Martin and BVI fleets to be delivered by the end of 2017. They will include Lagoon 52s, Bali 4.5 catamarans, Dufour 520 and Sun Odyssey 519 monohulls
- Purchasing the Regis Guillemot fleet in Martinique, adding about 30 catamarans to our fleet in this popular destination
- Planning to fully re-open our St Martin & BVI bases mid November
- Relocating customers with St. Martin and BVI charters in September and October to other Caribbean bases or destinations, such as Grenada, Antigua, and Martinique, or the Mediterranean, Seychelles, Asia, Pacific, Bahamas and Mexico
- Relocating replacement boats from other bases or relocating customers bookings scheduled for St. Martin and BVI charters in November to other locations
- Planning to fully re-open Puerto Rico by mid-October
If you need help, get in touch with our team. Our lines are busy and your patience is appreciated.
September 19th 2017 UPDATE
Dream Yacht Charter founder, Loic Bonnet, says: “Our priority is the well-being of our staff, customers and partners in areas affected by Hurricane Irma and those now feeling the force of Hurricane Maria. We’re in contact when communications allow with BVI and St. Martin and all other bases are operational. We’re also focussing on customers with future bookings in the region and keeping them updated and supported as the recovery progresses and the weather situation develops.”
“The community spirit and generosity from those living outside the affected areas is so heartwarming to see. We fully support this employee fund set up by some of our yacht owners, which is raising funds for our staff on the ground in St Martin and the BVI who have lost their homes and all personal belongings. Our people are facing such hardship and it’s wonderful how much our yacht owners care for our staff and to see such community spirit in action.”
“The economic impact of this year’s hurricane season is particularly hard for people living and working on these islands, as they rely heavily on tourism. For us at Dream Yacht Charter, we’ll be able to bear the loss of business in these regions and our boats and buildings are insured. However, I’ve been in the charter business for many years and I have total faith in the Caribbean’s ability to recover and rebuild such a special part of the world.”
St. Martin: We’ve received initial reports for St. Martin and a triage assessment of our fleet has been made. Our team is working hard to restore operations, liaising with insurance teams and reallocating bookings to available boats. Based on current information, we expect to be operational in St Martin within the coming weeks.
BVI: Our BVI staff returned to Tortola after regrouping and stocking up with much needed supplies in Puerto Rico to commence the complex task of assessing all boats in the fleet and restoring our base facilities to operational. Operations were re focused in preparation for the arrival of Maria, our priority is the safety of our people. The authorities are in the process of restoring the island’s infrastructure and communication and power networks are intermittent. We will share further update as soon as we can.
Cabin charters departing from St Martin and Tortola for October are being rescheduled to other departures and we plan to resume normal operations from mid-October/November.
We are so proud of the commitment our ground staff in the affected areas continue to show to the company, our customers and the industry. While we are working to resume operations, we’re mindful that it needs to be at a pace our staff and the locations can bear.
If you have a booking for St. Martin in September or the BVI between September and October, our team are available to help you to reschedule to other locations. Charters are being accommodated from other unaffected bases throughout the Caribbean and Worldwide. Our lines are busy and your patience is appreciated. We have reallocated numerous boats from other locations and added many new yachts to our fleet, and plan to be ready to accommodate November charters in this part of the Caribbean.
11 September 2017 UPDATE
Dream Yacht Charter founder, Loic Bonnet, says: “Everyone at Dream Yacht Charter has been so truly touched by the messages of support and it’s humbling to see the best in community spirit coming together at a very challenging time. We know many of our customers have been concerned for those who work at Dream Yacht Charter and for those sailing in the Caribbean. We are so grateful our staff and guests are accounted for and safe, which was of course our first priority.”
“Our thoughts are with the people of BVI and St Martin as they come to terms with the impact of Hurricane Irma. The Caribbean economy depends on tourism and the islands need our support now more than ever. Keep faith in the wonderful Caribbean people to rebuild and recreate the paradise that we all know and hold so dear. You can support personally by continuing with your plans to visit and relief funds have been established to which you can donate using the links below.”
As you may appreciate, there are power outages and communication is still difficult. We have started to make an assessment of the damage and already begun to reorganize the fleet for forthcoming bookings. With the exception of St Martin and BVI, all of our Caribbean bases remain operational.
Customers with September and October bookings for St Martin and BVI should reschedule for other locations. Contact our team to reschedule and for advice and support. If our lines are busy bear with us, we will assist as quickly as possible, your patience is appreciated. Our Virgin Islands Dream and Tortola Dream Cabin Charters are not affected. Catamarans dedicated to these cruises are intact and the departures scheduled from October will be assured.
How You Can Help
Many people have asked how they can pledge their support. Here are some of the relief funds which have been established:
Nederlandse Rode Kruis: https://doneer.rodekruis.nl/orkaan-irma
Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-irma-relief-fund/
Virgin Unite: https://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal
The effects of hurricane Irma have been truly devastating but, with support, the community that has led these islands to hold such a special place in many peoples’ hearts will once again thrive and flourish so they fill the hearts of many more in the years to come.
7 September 2017 UPDATE
Dream Yacht Charter founder, Loic Bonnet, says:
“We are deeply saddened by the reports of Hurricane Irma’s impact.”
“We have staff all around the Caribbean and our thoughts are with our people and all those affected by this devastating storm. Strong, resilient nations make up this special part of the world and we’ll be supporting their recovery.”
“We are incredibly proud of the efforts made by our staff to mitigate the damage and protect the wellbeing of our guests and yachts as the storm approached. Unfortunately this is a storm of unprecedented magnitude, and extensive damage has been sustained”
We are currently assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on our bases in the Caribbean. All our bases remain operational and delivering service except:
Tortola & St. Martin
Clients with charters scheduled to be departing from the affected bases in September should contact our booking office to reschedule.
For Customer Advice
We will keep our customers updated here and customers with Caribbean charters can call our sales team for advice. For more information on getting in touch, visit our Contact page. Our teams are doing the best they can to restore communication with the teams on the ground during this very challenging and difficult time. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.