By Alana Wise

By Alana Wise


(Reuters) - Carnival Corp's <CCL.N> chief executive said on Thursday damage from recent devastating storms in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean will temporarily disrupt the cruise operator's business, but a robust holiday season is still expected as the region likely recovers by Christmas.


"The resiliency of those people and the focus they have, I would be very surprised if they're not up and running before Christmas, which is the time for the peak season. Very surprised if they're not," Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald told Reuters.


Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in Puerto Rico last week, drenched the U.S. territory with torrential rain, wrecked its electricity grid and killed at least 16 of the island's 3.4 million residents. The Trump Administration on Thursday took new actions to accelerate delivery of relief supplies to the island.


The storm was one of several powerful hurricanes to wallop the region over the last few weeks, following Harvey and Irma, in a devastating tear through the Atlantic.


Aspects of the tourism industry, including airlines and hotels, remain largely crippled in areas that suffered the worst damage from the storms. Cruise ships, however, were able to sail out of harm's way and were mostly spared the worst of the fallout. Cruise lines are now re-routing voyages to Caribbean destinations bypassed by the storms.

Donald said he expected San Juan, Puerto Rico, where most residents still lack power and other resources days after the storm, to recover as a transit port within a relatively short amount of time. Related industries, especially hotels, which suffered significant structural damage in Puerto Rico, will take longer to rebound, company officials told Reuters.

Marriott International Inc <MAR.O> Chief Global Officer Ray Bennett projected that some of the chain's hotels will be closed from several weeks to a year or more due to the extent of damage sustained.

Other hotels and chains were also ravaged by the storm, halting operations and leading to costly reconstruction.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)