St Thomas suffered terribly during Hurricane Irma, with electricity and water cut off, roads blocked by debris and thousands of homes and infrastructure destroyed. The tourists who were there on the island to enjoy their holiday were reportedly shocked when the staff on the ship told them they could not accommodate anyone who had not booked their stay with Marriott. The ferry departed St. Thomas Friday, September 8, with the Marriott guests on board.
Howard posted his frustrations on Facebook.
"They shut the lights off here in order to get us to go".
Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, damaging many houses.. We do not have food or water or places to go.
Ms Ayala wrote on her widely shared post on social media that the group had initially been allowed to get on the boat by the captain.
Reports state that after the ship left, Naomi researched the passenger capacity of the Marriott rescue boat, and found out that it could hold 1,800 passengers. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about the impact of the storm should call the Marriott International toll-free number in their country. The company officials said they "didn't want the liability", according to Howard.
Ms Ayala was able to make her way to safety and Puerto Rico the following day, on a private vessel.
Marriott reiterated Sheldon's explanation in a statement to the Post.
El Conquistador Resort, The Meliá Coco Beach, Hotel El Convento and all Marriott and Hilton properties on the island, among others, are also in full operation, taking reservations for future travelers, and welcoming new guests.
'We very much wanted to assist these other travelers to Puerto Rico, however, the Marriott team on the ground was told they had no authorization to board additional passengers.
"With Hurricane Jose on a path to St Thomas, the ferry had a tight window to pick up passengers and safely depart".
'In this case, we weren't able to help and as grateful as we are that we were able to transport our guests, we are saddened that we were not able to do the same for more people'.
The company defended itself in a statement that it didn't have authorization to take passengers who weren't staying at the hotel. The people on the island feared that the second storm could boom in, bringing more misery to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Howard posted on Facebook that he finally left the island by a cruise ship on Tuesday.
People had no idea how long they'd be stranded and were bracing for Hurricane Jose when a large ship for all the tourists unable to catch a flight ahead of the storm approached the island Friday night.
Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Royal Caribbean used one of its ships to evacuate residents.