Royal Caribbean using its own cruise ship to evacuate employees

Wrath of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean
Wrath of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is putting its employees aboard one of its own majestic ships to get them out of the path of Hurricane Irma.

The employees and their dependents will board the Enchantment of the Seas, a thousand-foot ship that can handle almost 2,500 passengers, and churn to calmer waters before the hurricane slams into Florida this weekend.

They'll be escaping in unintended style: The cruise liner has swimming pools, an outdoor movie screen, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, a video arcade and multiple bars and restaurants as well as a solarium and hot tubs.

The ship became available after the hurricane forced the cancellation of a scheduled cruise to the Bahamas.

"Enchantment of the Seas was scheduled to sail on Friday for a weekend cruise," said Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez to CNNMoney. "That sailing was canceled. So we offered our employees and their family the option of evacuating on the ship."

The ship will depart Friday at noon, go out to blue skies and calm seas, and then return once the Port of Miami has reopened, said Martinez. Royal Caribbean would not say where they were headed for calmer seas.

Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Florida on Sunday morning. The storm already lashed St. Barts, St. Martin and Barbuda with 180 mph winds, killing at least 9 people and causing extensive destruction.

enchantment royal caribbean irma
Royal Caribbean canceled its Bahamas cruise for its ship Enchantment of the Seas, pictured here in Haiti in 2013, so it's using the ship to evacuate Miami employees ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Related: Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc on cruise lines

On Thursday, the storm is expected to move near or over Turks and Caicos and then the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Royal Caribbean didn't say how many employees would be evacuating on Enchantment.

The Enchantment cruise was one of three cruises that Royal Caribbean canceled because of Hurricane Irma. The storm delayed the return of three other ships, which are also waiting out the storm in calmer waters.

The cruise lines Carnival (CCL) and Norwegian (NCLH) and Disney (DIS) also canceled cruises or changed itineraries because of the storm. All the cruise ship companies have offered either a refund or credit towards future cruises for travelers impacted by Irma.

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