WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – When Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration arrived at the Port of West Palm Beach, nearly 1,500 passengers could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

“It was very intense. You couldn’t sleep. I prayed a lot, and asked God to calm the storm,” said Ceva Seymour. “Because you know you could imagine being inside the house and you can see the roof lifting. It was really, really dramatic and I don’t want to go through that ever again.”

Two women from Freeport found the silver lining in this dire situation. They hadn’t seen each other since high school. As fate would have it, their reunion happened while they were waiting to reunite with family members coming from the devastated islands.

“I was teary-eyed driving in when I got to the boat area,” Kathleen Lightfoot said.

“All my family is over there – everybody,” said Doreen Campbell. “Probably only have five and counting here.”

The family coming in can stay for 30 days before having to apply for visas.

Video from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed the first round of evacuees being processed.

“Many, many got hurt in this, many don’t have a home or no place, they don’t even have water and nothing to eat,” Lightfoot said. “We’re still grateful because they’re still alive.”

But while those who made it to the U.S. and their family members are happy, they say their hearts and minds are still with the people left behind in the Bahamas and of course with the ones who have lost their lives or are still missing.

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