St. Maarten airport officials swung into action to assist more than 4,400 stranded Carnival Dream passengers, according to Regina LaBega, managing director of the Princess Juliana Airport.
The airport team served complimentary breakfast and lunch for the passengers in a central area of the terminal on Friday, before the passengers flew back home on chartered Delta flights.
"We are keeping the airport open later than usual and have rearranged flight schedules to assist with the evacuation," said Larry Donker, director of airport operations.
Extra airport staff and controllers also are on hand to meet "this unusual surge of passengers leaving the airport in one day," Donker said.
The Carnival Dream sails from Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship was on the
last leg of a seven-day cruise when a malfunctioning emergency generator
kept the ship in St. Maarten's port.
The first flight to leave with Dream passengers departed St. Maarten at 9 a.m. A total of 10 Delta flights will transport 2,184 Dream passengers on Friday.
Another six Delta flights carrying 1,318 passengers will depart on Saturday, and the last batch of 986 passengers will leave on four Delta flights on Sunday.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.