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A leading Caribbean cruise line has pledged to provide $1 million in humanitarian aid to Haiti, as it continued to ferry holidaymakers to the earthquake-hit island.
Royal Caribbean International’s CEO, Adam Goldstein, told CNN it would be wrong to abandon the hundreds of Haitians employed by the company, despite media reports suggesting some of its passengers had voiced concerns on blog forums about vacationing on the island while so many suffer nearby.
Despite the huge international effort, vital supplies of food and medicine have been slow to reach the estimated three million people affected by last week’s 7.0-magnitude quake
Goldstein told CNN that its Labadee resort in northern Haiti, which includes a new pier and private beach, is almost 100 miles from the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince, but that it would be available to receive aid being dropped by its vessels.
On Friday, a statement from the company said its vessel “Independence of the Seas” had already visited the island, delivering rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water and canned goods.
Despite the best efforts of Royal Caribbean to aid the humanitarian effort, would you feel comfortable about relaxing on a private beach in Haiti in such circumstances?
Please leave your comments below
As with the tsunami, the best support you can show is to continue visiting the areas struck by disaster, but obviously timing should be somewhat fair. They need to get whatever economy they have going, and every cent counts. Ditching them and letting them live off of aid isn't a good option.
NO way. I think that the cruises mindset is so skewed. i think though that this info about a WORKING PORT should not be kept so quiet. and that other vessels not owned by the company should be allowed to use it.
I would not feel comfortable relaxing on the beach while others are suffering so closely. I think the cruise line is doing a wonderful thing of dropping off supplies but it shouldn't allow the passengers to leave the boat.
Frankly no I would not feel comfortable arriving at Labadee resort for a holiday! Although I understand the Mr. Goldstein does not want to abandon their 100 or so employees I think it would be particularly distasteful and tactless to flaunt wealth and plenty in the midst of abject poverty and misery. Maybe they, Royal Caribbean International, should instead consider using their vessels solely for the delivery of relief goods to the island using their pier at Labadee or maybe turn their luxury cruises into missions of mercy. Their guests could disembark at Labadee and then spend their holidays repairing homes, caring for those who are ill in other words doing some real good. What do you say Mr. Goldstein?
Cruise ships bring money to not just city's but countries. The minute you stop allowing ships in there is a nice bit of Haiti's economy which could help pay for the disaster is now gone. Disaster relief organizations should also be utilizing the cruise ships more. Putting supplies on board from the US.
I completely agree with Brent and Billy. This port should used for bringing in aid and supplies. I just don't understand the mentality. While supporting the economy is important, what Haiti needs desperately right now, is HELP! C'mon people, put aside revenue and profits for once.
I am from the Caribbean and visited Labadee during a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2001, right after 9/11. I, along with other Caribbean colleagues, took the small trip to the artificial beach, and saw the line of shops in buildings that we understood were built by ROyal Caribbean. It also seemed that the vendors were not necessarily getting to keep the majority of their profits. We got back on the next boat back to the ship, and stayed there for the day. We were not confortable with the atmosphere of the island, nor were we convinced that profits were really going back to the Haitian people. In each island we visited subsequently in the course of the cruise, we made a point of avoiding the ship-organised tours and activities, which cut out the profit to the islanders, and made our own arrangements. We had a blast!
But tourists need to be more discerning and ask locals some hard questions if they really want to spend their money and see it directed to the local economy. I love Royal Caribbean cruises, but Labadee in particular, which is an island specifically upgraded by Royal Caribbean for its stops, will never be visited by me. I will take a rest day onboard!
Haiti had abject poverty before the earthquake and people didn't have a problem visiting the resort. A big difference now is the destruction of what limited infrastructure existed, the destruction of homes and businesses, and the terrible loss of life. Pulling the economic benefits the resort provides would send the wrong message. I agree that it is good that the cruises are bringing supplies. I'd also like to see "humanitarian excursions" offered to the guests allowing them to make a difference on their vacations. It would also be good to see the port opened to additional relief ships if needed.
I think it would be nice if the cruise lines could some how work with the relief effort and offer the passengers a chance to somehow help while they are in port. They are usually there for just a day, and spending a few hours unloading supplies, or helping at the port in some manner, could really make a difference. It may end up being the best cruise offered.
It is not an issue of "comfort". If one has cruise booked which stops at Labadee the passengers have no choice, the ship will stop there. If the passenger does not wich to go ashore – that's their choice.
Really though – what difference does it make that the people are suffering 100 miles from the port, or two miles away or half a world away? Wake up folks – all of you and me – are taking vacations, eating heartily with people suffering in our back yards, in our communities, in our cities, in our nation and in the places we are visiting. I have not yet heard from anyone to say they will not take a trip because somewhere in the world there are people suffering.
If the ship stops visiting the Labadee – then the Haitians that are employed have no income, which causes the domino effect of more looting, more violence. Is that better than the ship not making their stops?
Seems some of the commentators on this blog have not thought this issue through prior to commenting. Always, always remember that for every action there is a reaction. The not stopping reaction would be devastating to an already poor and politically corrupt country that needs all the money it can get – even if it from cruise ships with passengers that relax on the beach and buy the locally made items.
Earthquake and human tragedy aside, why would anyone want to spend their holiday or money in the 10th most corrupt country in the world? Even if the earthquake never happened, with all the island destinations in the Carribbean, Haiti would be one of the last places to visit, unless you are doing a study on crime, corruption, human slavery, disease, and/or sub human living conditions, just to name a few.
If you have to visit the island, go to the Dominican Republic side.
My knee-jerk reaction was shock that cruise ships would visit Haiti under the circumstances. But upon hearing the reasoning from the cruise line, I must agree that what Haiti needs is MORE tourism, not less. If the dock can also be used for humanitarian aid, so much the better. The cruise line could also take up a collection from passengers for a local charity, but the local Haitians should not be made to suffer by the withdrawal of their livelihood. There is a good chance many of them have relatives in Port au Prince whom they may need to support.
My wife and I spent a day in Labadee in 1989 during a cruise for our honeymoon. It's a beautiful natural cove on the northern coast of Haiti, far from the capital and most of the population. Having no deep water port we had to be ferried ashore on smaller boats.
Then, as now, I thought about how beautiful this place was – being part of the poorest nation in the hemisphere yet possessing such natural beauty. It is still one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I also felt guilty initially when I met local Haitians selling their wares. It was and is an unfortunate part of life for Haitians – seeing those who are better off than they are. However, if we were not there they would not be earning the dollars we and others spent on souvenirs, carvings and artwork, and benefiting from the millions of dollars the cruise line invested in infrastructure in the area.
I was also disappointed that there were no tours to nearby Cap Hatien, an historical city/fort but I realize that given the instability inherent in Haiti that it would be beyond the risks any company could take with ut;s passengers and crew. Haiti has always been a terribly heartbreaking place. The earthquake has once again brought the plight of Haiti into the world spotlight. One thing I commend the cruise line on is selecting, and sticking with, Haiti in the first place to develop a 'private beach' stop on their cruises for passengers. I don't see many other companies, particularly in the cruise industry, committing themselves to developing the tourist industry of this beautiul island.
The question should be, does the inolvement of a cruise line that brings thousands of passengers a week to a sparsely populated cove, invests millions of dollars in its infrastructure, employs Hatiians and pays fees for docking to the government of Haiti outweigh feelings of pasenger guilt? A moratorium of 3-6 months perhaps to allow use of the area to bring in supplies, but I say no to abandoning the stop, or Haiti.
FYI, I am disabled, having had to leave my career more than 10 years ago for health reasons. I am on a fixed income and in no way affiliated with any cruise line. I hope that keeps comments about that to a minimum and keeps focused on the topic. ;-)
Welly, if in fact the shops at these fabricated resort beach are built by Royal Caribbean (and the trinkets are made in China – let's hope not but imagine if you will) do people on the cruises actually get duped into believing that they are experiencing the real Caribbean? I've never been on a cruise and likely never will go on one. I've often thought that the best way to see a place like the Caribbean is to get there and then hang where the locals do and not in some place that looks like it's straight out of Disneyland. I personally like Lisa Ds idea, that might be a cruise I'd sign up for!
The cruise ships should be permitted to continue to moor in Labadee....Tourists who wish to step off the ship can do so and those who do not want can remain on board. The cruise line owner must now act and be a corporate citizen by using its ships to deliver food and other basic commodities. to the relief organizations helping those desperate people outside the perimeter of the capital of Port au Prince for the forseeble future.
I would be more unconfortable than when a visited Labadee a few years ago. I still remember that right behind the food area there was a fence that divided us from the haitians. It was evident the haitians behind the fence were hungry and it was disheartening to see plates of food in the trash. I asked if they would give them some food but the employees said they could not. We were also warned not to approach the fence for safety reasons.
I am sure their operation somewhat helps those few employees but I think they could do more. So much food goes to waist on cruises that they should donate or have guests donate at least a plate each to a neighboring community. I know their port is not that big but it could certainly be of service to unload some aid.
Haiti needs help and money. So why don't Royal Caribbean creates a project to help Haitians and the area. The stop in Haiti could be a "Positive and productive" way to spent one day of your holiday. Like, going for a day planting trees, cleaning up beaches, teaching a child for a day, painting a school, helping build houses...there are several ways and if a project is well set imagine how much the town would benefit if a Cruise stops every week to do that.
I am sure that many people would give one day of their holiday to do something for Haiti
If people from the Cruise don't want to do anything they can stay in the ship.
S. Torres from Dominican Rep.
I have been on three cruises with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Had a grand time every time.
I feel the ships would be much better utilized by relieving the stress in Haiti, by offering some of your larger ships to feed and house some of the victims, women and children preferably. They would have to chose wisely who will board their ships; no rebels, for sure, and maybe small families. Families that would not mess up their ships.
It is not the cruise industry's fault that there are issues getting help to the people who need it. It is the fault of the people responsible for coordinating these relief efforts who are dropping the ball. I say keep cruising to Labadee. I have been on a RCC which stoped at Labadee, and you would never know how poor the country truly is. We have to realize that Haiti has always been in need of help. It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. They unfortunately are no strangers to poverty, famine, and natural disaster. The part of Haiti where the cruise ships tender do not reflect the living conditions of it's residents. These same residents travel to these "private islands" to work and earn whatever living they can because of tourism. We will never know how much of the money actually goes to Haiti. But unfortunately something is better than nothing.
I would not be comfortable visiting Haiti but stopping will make the situation worse.
The economy of Haity need what ever income it can get now.
But i think RCL should make a big contribution. part of the revenue of the Haiti cruises to Haiti
I have also visited Labadee when I was younger on a cruise. My memory does not serve me to well as to all that occurred, but I did buy a hand carved wooden sword when I was there around 20 years ago.
As of now I object to the idea of tourists being on the island completely. I do know that Royal Caribbean is the greatest contributor to tourism in Haiti, but at a time when the main port is closed, this should be used as a route to ferry in supplies in any manner possible. I am sure the people running that area can deal with helping in the relief effort. 100 or more people there does not really justify a vacation spot at a time when millions of people need help in any and every way possible.
Getting supplies, doctors, food, water and aid to the people should be the main concern to anyone who lives on the island at this time. Once the distribution networks are setup and the main port is fixed then bring the tourists back. Right now its not the time or the place for vacationing in Haiti.
Labadee is an island owned (or leased) by Royal Caribbean. The shops are owned by them too. This island has been developed especially for to entertain tourists on their ships and all proceeds go to the company.
So, I would not mind going there, as long as they make some of the proceeds available to the local community.
Yeah definitely, I would enjoy relaxing on the beach. The company is correct that if they abandon their port in that nation, Haiti will suffer even more.
Good work Royal Caribbean! The people of Haiti now they need to work more than ever before! Of course you wouldnt feel ok to get your sun tan under those circumstances, but every single passenger must "do what they have to".
RCL and Haiti keep walking!
Sounds like the location on the island is more created specifically for the tourists....so...as long as it is safe and not destroyed, why not?
They must have created quite the resort for the tourists to justify a cruise ship visit... I'm sure the locals benefit so its all good.
If you ever considered to visit Haiti on a cruise before, why would you change you mind now? Poverty and misery were there before the earthquake too. I think the best thing to do would be to go there and take one day of your relaxing trip to help those poor haitians.
Having been to Labadee last year, I would feel very uncomfortable going back under current circumstances. Would rather send money.
No way for me to have a pleasure on Haiti
while thousands are suffering.
NO....it do feel as though it would be safe either.
No..I couldn't imagine sitting on the beach enjoying my holiday when there are so many without food, water, medicine & shelter. Maybe they can transport people who want to go to Haiti to help instead?
If I was sat on the beach I'm sure this verse would be my contemplation and that is something I wouldn't enjoy.
"But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented".
People, its a PIER, not a port! Look the meaning up and find out the difference. And I agree, Haiti shouldn't be abandoned, especially by industries that can manage to still bring money into the country, despite all the devastation caused by the earthquake.
If you have a business or a home that has been recently devastated but there are people who still support your business, it would mean that you could get back on your feet faster then if no one supported it.
Same way the Haitians that work in Labadee in turn support friends and family. If they are deprived of this income you will not only hurt them but the ones they support.
I think Royal Caribbean is doing the right thing by continuing to visit. Yes, RCL could let the port and it's ships be used in relief efforts and also setup a collection (if they have not started one already) onboard for the victims.
I agree Royal Caribbean is doing the right thing. Passengers who have a problem with shore visits to Haiti should just stay on ship. However, Royal Caribbean employs Haitians, and they need every job available. It would be unfair to desert them, when their part of the island is intact. Furthermore, the added aid being delivered just has to help over all. People who are voicing concern about relaxing on a cruise while Haitians suffer, should ask themselves why they don't stay home and donate the cost of the cruise to the Red Cross. To take away a cruise line is devastating to an island economy. We on St Croix have fought hard to get cruise lines coming back. Allow the Haitian economy to at least keep one constant revenue stream. God knows they need it.
It is amazing that the question was even asked. That means that people, along with their bottom line are willing to practice the most horrendous form of "Social Darwinism". The fact is that they, the tourists, get off a ship that relishes about unlimited buffets, hot showers and beds, to go to an island of which the employees who serve you have nothing and have to kiss up in order to get the scraps so they can feed what little is left of their families. Go to the Mediterranean people! Haiti need your food and help, not your clean shiny ship or covered noses.
No, I would not. These people need to be dispersed throughout the countries who are willing to give them refuge. This rebuilding effort is a lost cause. The past monies that the U S has given, was stolen by dictators and Aristead. So, we'll throw more money to rebuild a renegade govt. who abuses their people ? Sounds about right to me. More money to steal and deals to make. It'll never reach the poor !!!
while my brother &sisther suffering different way ..you thank i will be able relaxing on your beautifull pv beach labadee.god say something as to be change. when you lookat somany countries big country exem canada moore and moore did they have president kno kno ...haiti dont need a president it's about time for you .haitian gvm is a corruption that sade when they keep say over&over haiti his the poores country because.of usd gvm nerver look for country .tey look for them self .open your eye look cant the gvm help the people kno i hope haiti change like any orther place
The new dock at Labadie might be useful for offloading some supplies, but the larger port just over the little hill in Cap Haitien might be able to take more off of a ship at a time. Use both? The problem then is to get the supplies from Cap Haitien/Labadie to Port au Prince. National Route 1 is in bad shape on any stretches and there is probably refugee traffic from the opposite direction. But if the trucks are there and the people are willing, then go for it.
Until the recent construction, the beach there was open to Haitians and other locals on days when the cruise ship was not visiting (most days). I hope they open it again that way now that the construction is finished. Many of the crafts are made in Haiti (cheaer labor than China why would they make them there?), I don't know about the profit split.
Royal Carribbean could run tours out of there for people to visit Cap Haitien (minutes away), the Citadelle(hour drive) and the ruins of the Palace and the local province. This would be interesting for the tourists and, if done well, would increase income for locals. Roads are still rough and the tour would not suit most, but enough would try it and all would come away educated...
Yes I would. Haiti needs the tourism $ right now and a boost to moral. The quake hit. Lives were lost unfortunately, but there are survivors who need our help. Now is the time to help boost the tourism on the Island so jobs that are depended on the cruises are safe. If we chose not to go to Haiti because of the destruction it will not help Haitian economy.
Well I think that the port in Labadee should be used for ships to bring in food,water and medical supplies. Forget about the Royal Carribean cruiseline. This is an emergency situation, just because the rest of Haiti,meaning further up north of Haiti was not affected by the earthquake. It does not mean that they are out of danger. The survivors that are not injured and don't have a home anymore, are heading up to the country side of Haiti. The country side will be suffering soon because they don't have electricity and they are going to run out of food. My husband and his mother and other relatives are on the country side. Thank God they are fine and no damages to the their houses. Safety is an issue there on the country side. I can't send my husband money because the banks collapsed in the city and w/o a city, how can the countryside function. He told me they have food for at least 2weeks. The whole entire country needs help,not only Port-au Prince. Royal Carribean owes that to Haiti
To LisaD and Brent: a cruise where passengers could actually help locals.... that is truly an enlightened idea!
On Brent's question: I think, as with all tourism, it is a matter of does the tourist CARE if they are seeing the real country or not. To each their own of course. Many just want to escape, and be entertained and pampered, and you can't argue with that. However, in an ideal world, we could balance escapism and some sort of 'ethical tourism' (not sure what phrase to use!).
When a cruise company negotiates to use an island country port, the negotiations are largely governed by the relative wealth of the country, and their ability to sustain themselves without the cruise ships and largely US tourists. Some islands rely more on European tourists, and so have a bit more bargaining power. But if the consumer or tourist could make a case for also wanting some ethical tourism, it would go a long way to helping island nations truly benefit from cruise ship tourism. Idealistic: I KNOW! :-) But we can dream.
So expand on LisaD's idea: Why couldn't Royal Caribbean keep Labadee on their schedule, but for some time to come, permit some sort of option for volunteerism if you didn't just want to bake on their man made beach? That would burnish their corporate image, and permit those of us better off, if we felt like, to reach out for one day of our vacation, and assuage our guilt about making such stops on our luxury vacations. A win-win situation eh? :-D
I would go to Haiti as long as it was not on a Carnival Cruise. As for the people that feel bad about the hatians suffering, yes it is a terrible disaster but do you feel bad because of the proximity? Or do you feel bad because you are exposed to it? There are trajedies happening daily around the globe that we are not exposed to in as much depth yet we still go on vacations. I do believe the area is safe to visit as it is 100 miles away.
Gus makes a good point. After the tsunami, there was a lot of emphasis on tourism getting back up to speed. Now, five years on, a lot of the areas that have recovered are booming with tourism, some even stronger than before.
Aid is rolling in, and that's good. But you can't rely on a downpour in order to flourish. You need a steady stream of finance, and tourism can help
Tourism is the lifeblood of the Caribbean. And Haiti has not been getting her fair share of it, compared to much smaller destinations. The entire country wasn't destroyed, but certainly stands that chance if the remaining opportunities for work and trade and shuttered. People don't feel guilty any other time, vacationing in beautiful, but poor countries. Why should now be any different. In fact, I would encourage even more people to go spend money in Haiti. After all it is trade, not aid, that helps countries stand on their own feet and provide opportunities for themselves. Even after the earthquake, Haiti has something to offer the world and we should take her up on that offer.
Of course, and particularly closer to Port au Prince, the theme of the tours should be somewhat shifted from the usual in light of the earthquake. One idea could be to set up something in the style of 'Alternative Spring Break' where students could elect to go there and help in the recovery, while enjoying the opportunity to visit a different country in a wonderful climate. This would be a win-win situation.
I echo Gus' comments...economic activity is what is needed NOT perpetual aid, NGO and Blue Helmets!
Ronald......Labadee is not a separate island, it's an integral part of the Haitian mainland.
Indeed, many people have a couple of weeks vacations time during this season... they probably booked their Caribbean Cruises or resorts ahead of time. What happened in Haiti is terrible and they need help... however people are not going to cancel their hard earned (at least in some cases) vacations, if they are not going to spend it in Haiti, they will spend it somewhere else... so better to spend it in Haiti and through that effort at least leave their $$ there.
Yes take me there, but leave me there to help. I can not understand how anyone could be in Haiti and not HELP!!!
This may be ignorant, but most of the comments seem to only reflect that the tourism element may be offensive, yet nonetheless necessary, and that the port should be used/made accessible for aide.
Lets keep in mind the tourists probably booked these tickets months ago so they are essentially sitting ducks to the whim of the cruise line.
More importantly, and my concern is, are the cruise ships adequately secure? The first priority is the safety of those on board. I suspect the cruise lines are operating under the incentive to keep the clients happy along with a humanitarian motive of supporting the poor vendors in Haiti-and therefore the tourist fueled economy there-however, are the cruise ships not at risk for attack from looters or gangs? How can the lines answer to their cruisegoers that land excursions are even safe?
Drop off aide, and keep the passengers on board. Rethink in a few weeks to months depending on the security climate.
Of course! It´s a great way to help all the people in Haiti. Imagine what would happen if everybody cancels their vacations and don´t get any money to Haiti? I don´t have the numbers but I guess the tourism is really important in places as Haiti.
Even though the coverage of the situation in haiti is well intended,it remains polarized.It's been 6 days of coverage focused only on few areas of Port-Au-Prince.Areas like Petion-Ville,Laboule,Kenscoff or outskirts have been totally neglected.This is not good journalism.It appears polarized.The haitian misery is not about attending only Black skin people.Every class of person should receive attention.Maybe this is being done on purpose.As far as cruising during a catastrophy like this ,shame on you.Cruising can be good any other time.I empathize with all the foreigners whose family members are patiently waiting for some news.This is supposed to be about saving as much lives as possible.
How vain the readers of CNN.com must be.
More importantly, how vain the editors at CNN.com are to ask such a patronizing question. What a great idea: ask Americans to justify why they should spend money on a vacation in Haiti.
How insiduous readers are to want to shut down an industry because, in their vanity, they think It's The Right Thing.
Imagine if another earthquake struck San Francisco. And then helpful people on a website in another country said, OK, no one in the Los Angeles tourism industry should have a job for the next 3 to 6 months, because Companies Shouldn't Profit In The Time Of A Crisis. That was their contribution; not cutting a cheque to the Red Cross but preaching on a website.
Labadee is a beautiful area (yes, I've been there), but it's isolated from Port-au-Prince and as a port is of limited benefit. Of course Royal Caribbean would mobilize the port if it would aid the effort. You think they wouldn't want that kind of publicity?
Frankly, I WISH my next cruise would visit Haiti. I WANT to spend my money in an economy where the people need it.
I wish that cruise lines would make a commitment NOW that, when normal has returned to Haiti, that they're going to invest in resorts & jobs and give people some hope.
But I guess that news wouldn't satisfy the vanity of CNN editors wanting to guilt Americans into hurting Haiti even more in its moment of need.
Keep up the great work, CNN.
Haiti is a beatiful country, used to be one of the wolrd richest in natural resourses, Election is coming soon 2012, hope that they elected a good leader Wyclef should run for president.
Ok, I would NEVER say that anyone I know is working on that specific beach for that specific cruise line as that would certainly cause them to get FIRED, BUT i can say that feeding tourists at a buffet while 20 yards away armed guards & razor wire fences keep out the people on the other side who can smell the food and have come begging for both food and water while the company takes the line that there is nothing wrong does NOT work for me. And to say that MOST of the people of the area who work for that specific cruise line are MISSING and have not been to work since the quake occured would of course not be something I could say, not knowing anyone that is working on that specific beach for that specific cruise line... my personal opinion SINCE last Thursday when I read Royal Caribbean's ads saying nothing is wrong with their beach and cruises were scheduled to bring in tourists on Friday, is that they should discontinue the one day tourist visits, continue to drop off medical and humanitarian aid and donate the use of the buildings for a month or two to medical personel, given that it is one of the only somewhat undamaged sites in the area and has clean water, generators, electricity, etc. Having a beach party while people are dead, dying and suffering minutes away hardly makes me want to cruise that particular line.
While I sympathize with the people who are suffering so greatly in Haiti, I do not agree with the sentiment that cruising passengers should spend their vacation building homes. It is ridiculous to think that people are going to take a cruise and want to build homes or create infrastructure in a country that they normally would not be able to see.
People in a cruise that stops by Labadee should be happy that they contributed to the Haitian economy and their ship delivered some humanitarian aid to Haiti (indirectly, the passengers paid part of the transportation cost). Why would anyone stop visiting this destination because an area 100 miles away has been hit by an earthquake?
Jerry is right. If there's a disaster that hits San Francisco, are you going to advise people that they should not visit Disneyland in Anaheim? Did they close Disney World in Orlando when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans?
Labadee does not even have good infrastructure to transport aid to Port-au-Prince. That should be the city of Cap-Haitien which has both an airport and a container port and also not damaged by the earthquake.
Unless anyone here is really going to cancel their vacation altogether and donate the money to the Haitian victims instead, there is really no reason to stop going to Labadee. Relaxing in Labadee is probably better for the Haitian economy rather than one relaxing in the Bahamas instead. And I do hope people will stop saying they want cruise passengers to stop by Port-au-Prince in order to volunteer to help. It is not safe and most people on cruise ships do not have the skills to help these victims. You can ask them to donate their money but most don't have the necessary skills to help in such situations. They may likely become victims themselves and just make matters worse in Haiti.
I am cruising on RCL and scheduled to stop in Labadee the first week of Feb., I want to help bring supplies BUT I am very conflicted...how can I lay back sipping a drink knowing how thousands are suffering there???
Not sure what is the best for all.
Folks- it's a wonderful thought about sending vacationers into Haiti to assist. But as Scotty said, single day volunteers with no training to skills should NOT be shuffled into a disaster to 'help'. I'm with the American Red Cross, and NO volunteer goes to a disaster without months, even years of training and education in local customs, laws, first aid, etc. Go to Labadee, put some funds into the Haitian economy, and if you're really troubled, make a donation to the American Red Cross.
Contary to popular belief cruise passengers deliever care parcels around the Caribbean almost every week. The very day of the earth quake in Haiti we were in Roatan / Honduras and a group of American passengers got off with a lot of boxes and crates and upon asking I was told this was a delivary to a local orphanage.....It had everything from clothes to food, medicines and toys.
Bearing in mind that over 70% of Haitians have steady income stopping the ships going there and cutting those jobs would mean even more damage. If this is such an unbearable stop to then go with lots of bills and tip the locals well!!! You would be suprised just what a difference you will make for those families.
Poor excuse for lavish indulgences on the part of the cruise line. Presently life is not normal there, If cruise company that concerned anchor a ship and use it for feeding and housing workers, pay haitians some stipend any way.
I too visited Labdee during a cruise with RCL. It was during christmas time. RCL passed out gifts to the children. I was not happy with the type of toys that were passed out felt that they (RCL) could do more for this part of Haiti since they make such a great amount of money off of them. At this moment I feel that this part of Haiti could be used for a temporary living areas/hospital. This is something that RCL can contribute to. (Food/medicine) Once this trauma is over then this part of Haiti can return to the tourist.
I am booked on "Oasis of the Sea" in May going to Labadee – I am very uncomfortable going to a paradise island while many people suffer. The haitian people may need that island to receive goods – I think the ship should visit another port
If there is another port available, great (I was once on a trip booked to Monserrat which was destroyed by a volcano...we visited another area instead). If changing ports is not an option, go to Labadee and pump some money into their economy!
I have wanted to visit Haiti for some time. I would pick Royal over other cruise lines because they have invested there. Hopefully, they will add a more representative port of call.
Do people realize that this port would not be a great benfit to bringing in large amounts of aid, if it were why wouldn't aid be funneled in through the port when it idle most days days of the week. For those concerned about vactioning while other are suffering, then people shoud stop going to the Domenican Republic and there other surronding Islands, because of their proximity Port-au-Prince.
I'm scheduled to leave for a cruise this Sunday and will arrive in Labadee on Jan. 26. I know that it will be surreal to arrive in a port that is within 100 miles of complete devastation and not one second will pass while I'm there where I'll forget that. So many people are saying they wouldn't go or wouldn't get off the boat, but for those that have had a trip scheduled for so long and have pre-paid excursions, it is too late to cancel at this point. So, I am going and I am carrying out the two excursions I've already booked with all the respect in the world to this country and this horrific disaster.
There really aren't many options that will make a huge impact in this situation, staying on the boat or not staying on the boat. To me, the port, nor the country, can just lay down and give up on tourism right now. The government of Haiti knows this which is why the port remains open. Many of us have no idea what Royal Caribbean's real impact on the Haitian economy is but it has to be better than nothing. (If you do have the numbers, please share.) I'm sure we can all speculate and criticize, however, it won't do any good. The cruise lines aren't going to stop going there or use their vessels for supplies alone, so why not revel in the beauty of this country? Why not give them the recognition they deserve by continuing to patronize their port and beautiful beaches despite the tragedy nearby?
Many people may disagree, I think tourism and RCL makes a difference. I will be donating to the on-board relief fund and buying the majority of my souvenirs at this port. Maybe it won't help as much as I'd like, maybe not at all. Then again, maybe it will and that is all I can hope for. My heart goes out to those affected by this unimaginable tragedy.
I was just in Haiti on the Independane of the Seas on Friday. The ship delivered food, cleaning supplies and all kinds of other things needed. The ship took montary donations to deliver. Vendors were able to come to the beach resort to sell their products and the people on the ship purchased all kinds of things to take back. Haiti is a huge island and you really had no idea the devastation on the other side of the island. It was good for the ship to go to the port there, RCL employees hundreds of Haitians. If an earthquake happened a hundred miles or so from where you live now, would it change your day to day life.. no. Would you leave you couch to go help.. probably not. You can't go there to help, there is no food or water and no where to stay. Having people there would just burden the crews there trying to help. It's easy to arm chair quarterback about what you would do.. but at this point you haven't left to do anything. You might have made a donation to the Red Cross but really you haven't done anything to help these people. At least the cruise line was able to take food and supplies and some money. If you watched CNN you would clearly see the U.S. Coast Guard is having issues landing there.
I wouldn't let passengers disembark right now, but RC is also dropping off supplies when they head to Labadee, and they should continue to do so. And I would definitely go to Labadee and support tourism to Haiti in the future. I was considering it before the earthquake, and I definitely will now.
My heart goes out to all the people of Haiti, suffering due to the Earthquake. Yes, Haiti is a poor country as are all the Islands, however vacationers visit, via ship or air they never get to see the true picture of how people actually live.
I will be visiting soon, since it was planned prior to the devastation. If I or any members of our party would be of help for the few hours we are there I hope RCL advises us while on board!
If your concerned about visiting Haiti, then be concerned about visiting any Island. Other than the earthquake they are all poor Islands, except for the vacationers. Go help by supporting the people in any way possible.
If the aid workers are not able to get supplies out of the airport that is within the city limits, how do you think that they will be able to get large amounts of supplis from a port a hundred miles away. Remember that we are talking about driving through mountains, jungles, and a road system that is made out of dirt that has bridges that have been damaged by the earthquake. i wouldn't be able to enjoy myself there, but if other people can, then its ok with me for them to be spending their money there.
We are booked on the Jewel of the Sea in March along with friends from Victoria, BC. We would rather give Haiti a miss, however; if the ship does stop in Haiti we will be staying on board. There are always pros and cons and ultimately we make our own decisions.
Realistically, if Royal Caribbean stopped letting passenger out at Labadee they would be rerouting to another port and Haiti would be losing out on the aid and supplies brought by the ships, as well as the tourism dollars. I read somewhere that between last Friday and tomorrow over 13,000 tourists will be brought to the island. RCL is collecting donations for Haiti on their ships as well as donating profits from the Labadee visits back to Haiti. While it may feel uncomfortable for tourists to enjoy themselves relaxing on the beach they are bringing enormous help to Haiti just by visiting.
I have only been there once and it was the week after an attempted government coup, but I still felt safe and enjoyed myself. RCL would not take passengers to the island if it wasn't safe, too much of a liability. That being said, RCL won't take passengers into Haiti because that is too much of a liability, it's not safe. I remember hearing through the years of other islands being skipped by cruise ships as not safe enough for passengers – maybe Puerto Rico at one point? Visiting Labadee isn't visiting Haiti and cruise passengers know that – it's a beautiful beach for water sports and drinking daiquiris.
While it is thought RCL could have waited a couple weeks before visiting the island, what would that really help? As mentioned on here, Labadee is apparently not easily accessible for bringing in aid. Also they would be missing out on money from tourists, money which is needed more now than ever. My only question, are their permanent buildings in Labadee that could be used to house refugees? I don't know that and even then it would be a question of which would benefit Haiti the most – the money and aid or shelter.
While it may seem bad to lay out on the beach in labadee while 100 miles away people are dying, we're all comfortable and happy at home, on our computers, going out to eat, seeing movies, etc. while people are dying several hundred miles away. I don't think that makes us better than the people on the beach.
OMG People, give your heads a shake. All this whining over Labadee is ridiculous. I have been to Labadee twice aboard a Royal Caribbean Ship. These people need the revenue now more than ever. Basically what your saying is after all the destruction and despair, Royal Caribbean should pull out and leave the haitians without their #1 source of income? These people need the dollars generated by the the passengers on these cruises now more than ever. The one thing I would suggest is during these time, don't haggle, give them a fair price for their wares and services. Other than that, continue to go to Labadee and enjoy the beauty of Haiti and help out best you can. As for the poster that suggested the passengers should disembark and help build houses......relax pal, they are on holidays and are helping just by being there.
On another note, for all you people whining about big companies such as Royal Caribbean and others lack of effort and donations......what have you done or donated to the people of Haiti?
As the old saying goes, "you have to help yourself before anyone else can help you." All the aid going to Haiti is of course deserved and needed. But what will Haitians do once that aid is gone? They will not be able to do much if there is no economy or if the government has no money. This is what will happen if you stop people from going to the resorts. No money going into the resorts = job loss = resort closing down = money not going into the economy. Is this what we really want for Haitians? I realize it might be hard to think how people can go and vacation right next door to such devastation, but they need that financial injection. I think Haitians, just like Americans, are a proud people and will not want to take handouts forever.
I have taken several cruises on another cruise line, including one that stopped in Roatan (Honduras), a poor but beautiful island. We spent the day at a private resort that was literally a little paradise. We had to walk a bit to get to the resort's dock and we constantly had young children grabbing at us, young men trying to sell us drugs, etc. We had been warned by the owners of the resort that we would be approached in this aggressive manner but it was still unnerving and my hands stayed firmly on my bag. I didn't feel at all guilty about spending a lovely day at a modern, pleasant resort with local staff who were genuinely happy to help us. We paid handsomely for the trip (including fees for the ship to dock in Roatan) as well as for our day at the resort and tipped the local resort employees generously.
Look, I feel as bad about a natural disaster as anyone. We've donated to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders for the Haiti quake. But we save up all year for our vacation, and we're aware that when we take a Caribbean cruise most of the places we will be stopping are developing countries. Some have heart-wrenching poverty, and that is sad. However if we didn't take our vacation, and buy food/drinks/souveniers at the ports of call, then that'd be a little less income for some of the locals whose livelihoods depend on the cruise industry and other modes of tourism.
I spend 50 weeks a year working full time at a challenging job so that I have the financial means to care for my family AND to donate generously to charitable organizations – oh, and a little extra left to spend a week on vacation. I want to spend my week on a cruise or at an all-inclusive resort escaping that workaday world. I don't WANT to drive around and see poverty, slums, etc. I don't want to spend a day doing disaster relief or touring the earthquake ruins. I want to have a good time. If I was on a cruise stopping at Labadee, I would go ashore and make an additional "contribution" via buying food/drinks/souveniers and giving nice tips to the cruise line employees and vendors whose families are now depending on their income more than ever.
The economy needs to start moving again. They were hit by a natural disaster and now they need support and they need to start getting money by themselves. LET THE ECONOMY START MOVING!!!
It's better to give them back they way to make money than to give them help.
I heard Mr. Adam Goldstein on NPR this morning. He should be working for NBC! I can't stand this guy. Listen and "feel" his lack of compassion. It's all about business and making money.
Go, enjoy, buy.. most importantly donate cash. After reading the many saying the damage would be more if you didn't go, it makes total sense. When you're in Mexico, there is terrible poverty there. In India, the same thing, etc. These people need the money by having a job to keep going.
The other points people have made are just as valid. If everyone infiltrated the country to help. Where's the water to drink, bathe, cook; where's the food to help you while you're there, the transport, the housing? This needs to be a good faith effort that the money we send to the organizations who's trained people will in the end help the Haitian state.
Horrific beyond comprehension, however, I see a strength in these people that is beautiful. I see the help from around the world for them inspirational. Speaking for the USA, I have always said, we are the most giving and kind people in the world. When pressed we do great things. So pleased to see the rest of the world doing the same.
Let me begin by saying that, I did not read all of these comments. But do any of you know what it feels like to have a major section of your own home land sectioned off. One which you as a "native" is not welcomed into, unless you are a worker (who must enter showing a passport), and once your work is done you must leave? Parts of Haiti like Labadie are being literally seized by other countries due to debt owed that cannot be repaid. And Haitians are being treated as outcasts on their own land. furthermore those who work there, the money that they make is not enough to sustain their families. the monies made own that part of the island is not going into help rebuilding an already devastating country prior to this catatropique event; the mony is going to a foreign country.
The most honest comment I've read on this topic is KT @ January 19th, 2010 1728 GMT
Oh you bloody idiots, what ever little revenue and jobs the cruise lines provide the Haitians is important. Whether there is an earthquake or some type of disaster,. Haiti is and has always been an unstable poor country....The Haitians themselves should stop depending on other countries to consistently bail them out and start helping themselves. I see from the news cast quite a few of the Haitians walking around aimlessly, maybe they are still in shock, who knows, but man get your @#$% together and start assisting with the clean up of the city as well as aid your fellow Haitians.
I will be cruising on RCCL in two weeks with a stop at Labadee. Truthfully, I have mixed emotions about getting off the ship. However, I think it is wonderful that they are taking supplies to Haiti. My concern is the safety of the passengers and disease control. I have faith in RCCL that they would not put their passengers in any dangerous situation. Another concern I have is how do the Haitiaans feel about RCCL coming into their island for R&R – and hope there will be no sort of violence between the vacationing and the residents.
I will be embarking on a RC cruise soon and one of the stops is Labadee. I am so on the fence about visiting the Port. I honestly don't feel comfortable about visiting a devastated island. I am aware of the suffering in my back yard, however there is help that is much more accessible in my back yard. Not so with Haiti. This country has suffered Political sabotage, economical devastation, weather challenges and lawlessness just to name a few. I am honestly confused. My family and I have donated to the Haitian cause. Will probably stay on board. Thanks for the frank and honest comments. Will be deciding soon.
Why not continue cruises there and continue vacationing in Haiti...Make some of the excursions....work/volunteer excursions. People couls go help clean up, distribute food, water, clothing...working with the larger orgnizations coming to area to help. Keep tourism dollars coming in as well as give back by volunteering. I think that more of their tourism dollars should go toward an overhaul of the entire populations living conditions anyway, improvement for all.
I was at the Royal Caribbean portion of the island as part of a cruise a couple of years ago. And, as I have read, the Haitian government approved the continued visits. While I would be very uncomfortable cruising there with the unfolding tragedy, Haiti needs all the help they can get. Perhaps other Cruise Lines could ask to use RC's area. It would be one great way for those that have to give a little to those that do not. Way to go Royal Carribean.
I see no problem with RC continuing its stops at Labadee. The stops at Labadee generate a living for 100's of locals and would create even further hardship if RC disconitued calling there.
It is like suggesting that cruise lines should have stopped calling at other US ports when Katrina devestated New Orleans.
After reading all your comments. I am scheduled for a cruise on the Royal Carribean 5/20/10 out of Norfolk, VA. One of my stops in Haiti. I will still be going. I have read the comments. It is such a tragedy but we are making a difference by contributing. I was not aware that the port of Labadee was a man made resort. This is very disturbing if in fact this port is not made available for the benefit of the Haitian people for rescue, supplies and medicals needs. I will boycott the island and stay on the ship if the Royal Cruise Line does not step up to the plate and offer help as it is a matter of survival and could do a tremendous amount of good for those that need help and those who are helping.
Almost all the countries visited by cruise ships are poverty stricken compared to the US. There are people starving and dying everyday all over the world, but we continue to go on vacation. It is a horrible thing that has happened in Haiti, I have put forth my donation in hopes of helping. The other thing that will help is by not taking away any of the limited dollars that go into the country, some of which are from cruise lines. The cruise line should make its port available for aid if needed. If anything more cruise lines should stop there so the island can create more jobs and more income to help overcome this disaster. By not going there because you feel bad you are actually hurting them more. You are only going to take your money and spend it somewhere else... Now, if you are going to cancel your vacation completely and donate your vacation fund to Haiti relief that is completely different...
Having cruised to Labadee back in 2006 aboard a Royal Caribbean ship, it is a great place to visit. Staying on the ship is an option if you are not comfortable visiting the island but the Haitians do live off of the money that we spend on their island. My partner and I spoke with one of the Haitians working for Royal Caribbean and that was his only employment. He had purchased a house, which he pointed out to us, and helped support his family (mother & father). Not visiting the island would hurt him and his family.
I agree with many of you bone heads! The cruise ships should be banned from visiting the country for the next year. This would add another 1000 unemployed people to this beleagered country. Just what these folks need more poverty. End of sarcasm.
Get a grip folks, until there is more investment, not temporary aide these poor people do not have a chance. A market economy, the end of corruption, and true representative form of government is their only hope.
To be honest, I don't know what to do. I had a cruise booked for months for my family (four adults and one child) that will be visiting Labadee in February. Obviously I didn't know that this was going to happen and now, like many others I'm not sure I feel good about getting off the ship in Labadee when there are so many suffering and dying 100 miles away.
I feel the cruise companies should continue going, its 100 miles from port-au-prince. its going to be to difficult to get aid that far. especially since the US has taken over the airport, they can get supplies in there quicker. also, if the cruises stop going, then they stop sending supplies too. private companies aren't going to go into labadee to drop of aid, when its 100 miles from the center of where they need help.
I think it's in everyone's best interest to continue the ships going into Labadee. Any influx of money into that country is helpful and if the ship can take any amount of aid, it's a bonus. Having been to Labadee many times the people that work there depend on the tourists. Most of these trips were booked by the tourists LONG before the quake. So go, get off the ship, buy products and tip big. They are proud, hard working people. Every dollar will help.
It's not a functioning port! It's a pier that the cruise ship can tie up at load and unload passengers. There's a big difference between a port that is made for handling cargo ships and a pier to tie up a cruise ship. Cranes, truck parks, container stacking areas, etc, etc...
I think it is much to early to start back with the cruise stops. The country is in disarray, crime is rampent, health care is at a premium, infectious diseases are on the rise. Any citizen of the country should be working to help their fellow countryman, not serve drinks and towels to tourist who are there to have a "GOOD TIME". There is work that needs to be done and the people of Haiti should not be off working for themselves, while relying on the US and other counties to do the clean-up and restoration of their own land; again.
RCCL has somewhere between 500 – 600 locals working for them on Labadee. If RCCL stopped going to the port some 1200-2400 family members would be without funds. RCCL has been donating bedding for years to Haiti and now with the Earthquake they are not stopping. I will be there in November and plan on buying from the locals and giving them extra $$ to help them.
If cruise ships stop going to every place that a major event happens then it will take 4 x times as long to rebuild as millions of dollars will not be coming into the ports. I.e. Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica after the numerous Hurricanes.
Yes its sad what happened to Haiti but without the tourist $ many countries would hurt even more.
The best way to support the people of this country is to support their tourism efforts. In many of these third world countries, tourists giving money to the natives is discouraged. However purchasing their goods and services creates a sense of pride and dignity, and also creates a strong work ethic. If you really care, then help by keeping these people employed. So go there and spend!!
i strongly feel that they should bring food and other much needed supplies over and bring the children that are hurt the most out of this ordeal over here with them to get the help and medical attention that they need i understand that some people are so self centered that they worry more about a vacation in a place in such need bull all and all they need help and the kids need it the most yes fill those ships up with bandages, iv's, food and help not spoiled americans that are worried about sitting on a beach and relaxing while so many others are dying and hurting. we americans do not relize that their is much more to life then luxury and the ones that are worried have never had real tragedy. get your heads out of your *** and do something useful in life give these children at least a fighting chance to life
I, personally, would not be comfortable vacationing somewhere that is experiencing so much tragedy. I understand RC's position but I do not think earning money is foremost on the minds of Haitians right now. The cruise lines should be respectful of what has occurred and allow the people an appropriate time for mourning their losses.
The cruise companies are doing a good thing. They're helping others without hurting themselves. They should keep doing what they can to help. And if you're on the cruise, you don't have to just lay around the beach. With a disaster area nearby there are all kinds of things you can do to help. Take an hour and volunteer.
This is a hard decision. If the cruise ships stop docking, you add to the poverty that is already devastating by taking away money from the locals. If they continue to dock – will they use space that could be used by aid ships? That should be the determining factor. If the cruise ships REALLY have empathy for the Haitian people, they could offer the ships normally docking there for relief efforts. Do they really care about their employees?
Yet we lounge around on the beach all the time with abject poverty just around the bend where we can't see it. All of a sudden it is different? I am a frequent cruiser and I know first hand that many residents of these island stops depend greatly on the money spent by tourists. Why should the residents at Labadee have to suffer even more just because they are near Port-au-Prince? You are talking about taking away their livelihood to satisfy your own conscious.
I completely disagree with CSH– misses the point, like most people in understanding economics. RC pays port fees per person. That money can be then spent on new infrastructure for Haiti to rebuild. In addition, Haitians work in Labadee and are supported by the visitors who come. I'm going on a cruise there on the Navigator of the Seas at the end of the month and I intend to spend money there. CSH also doesn't know that RC is one of the few institutions that is bringing in supplies for the island. My boyfriend and I are going to try to help out with the ship's relief effort when we are there as well. I will have no regrets being there.
Really? With Haiti's infrastructure destroyed, we should avoid sending cruise ships so we can crush what remains of their tourism industry. Keep the tourists' money on the ships without letting anyone go onshore to spend it.
Folks, the cruise ships are not planning to stop at the capital city. THAT would be inappropriate. We are talking about a stop that is 100 miles away. As someone else said, did Disney World shut down after Katrina?
If you're planning a cruise to that destination, go, and enjoy your vacation. Donate money to help the relief effort. Tip outrageously well while you're on the island, and try to buy local souvenirs. The economy needs you.
People, RC is helping bring in supplies. Please listen to the interview that was on National Public Radio's Morning Edition this morning.
Pull into the port, tie up and let those hungry, homeless survivors see how the rich enjoy life.
Rub it in a little.
Tell them you donate to the Red Cross!
Maybe give them a "mint" you had left over from dinner last night.
By all means stop in Haiti. Go ashore and tell the people you "feel" for them.
BTW, was this questions posed by some wacko lib?
I agree with "Welly" most of the hotels and packages belong to the cruise lines that visit. Yet, go three blocks inland where you find poverty, crime are so abundant. Some cruise lines bring in their own employees without providing jobs for the residents of these areas. This is the sad truth. I agree that these lines have a responsibility to help the residents of these affected areas. I, myself cannot bring myself to go on a cruise where they do not hire locals and do not contribute to the community. I also live in one of these comunities, so I am a little bias.
Again....the thought of sending interested people into the countryside to help is noble, BUT IS TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE! Volunteers sent to disaster sites are trained in safety, first aid, local customs, international law, charitable law, as well as specifics ie construction, medicine, distribution. Sending some 'day labor' off a cruise ship, with no training, no idea of what they're getting into is just a recipe for disaster, which no Haitian needs right now. I agree with KT....spend your money on Labadee, donate through RCCL or your local REPUTABLE charity (Red Cross for example) and if you're not comfortable soaking up rays on the beach, stay on the ship.
I gues if Ihad the vacation previously scheduled I would be ok with going to Haiti. Let's face it tourism is the only thing they have to offer so why not contribute to the economy in that way, no matter how minor it is, Right?
I would want to get off the cruise and help. I understand not everyone has that time or the funds or really cares. But I feel that if I was on a cruise ship at that time that happened to be going that way, It would be a big sign that I should get off and help in anyway. Whether that be by bringing money, food, my able body to help, or just a small piece of hope. I will be sending my prayers there daily and hope that they get any messages of hope they can. I think the world as a whole needs to continue to send out positive, love filled messages.
So, changing the port from Haiti to somewhere else will make it easier for tourists to forget that Haitians are struggling? Get real....the best thing for the Haitians right now is to keep them working.
Right, I'll be on a cruise ship drinking a pina colada knowing the misery in Haiti. RC, find another island to visit.
I am compelled to comment as I was Director of Out Island Operations for Royal Caribbean for several years in the 90s. I have no love for the company now but believe me, the best thing RCCL can do for Haiti at this point is to continue to call at Labadee as usual. The loss of monetary benefit to Haiti through passenger taxes, workers' salaries, and craft market revenue would be a crushing blow and needlessly create another needy area in a desperate country whose meager resources are needed elsewhere.
The trickle down effect of the couple of hundred Haitians with direct involvement with Labadee feeds many thousands in the area. Tons of food are offloaded from the ships each day, much more than the passengers require for their lunch, and ALL the excess stays ashore and finds its way into the local economy. Even the trash left behind has value as fuel in a country destroying its trees to make charcoal. Further, donations of clothing and useful items have always been carried to Haiti by RCCL ships, and the attitude of the company has always been one of generosity to the locals. During a political embargo in the early 90s, the resort was closed for several years, but the company continued to pay the workers through a complicated process involving offshore banks and selling local assets. In the process the site was maintained and the livlihood of the workforce was sustained. And Royal Caribbean has long had a program of bringing promising workers from the Labadee site to work aboard the ships, where they can pursue opportunties otherwise out of reach of the average Haitian.
The ships and pier are NOT designed to recieve or transport cargo. The road out of Labadee is so poor and mountainous, it is ludicrous to consider transporting any volume of goods from there. Nor is it realistic to even consider taking a ship off line to serve as a hotel or aid station. There would simply be no way to implement such a plan regardless of desire, and the cost to the company would be in the many millions and would consequently never happen. The scenario of passengers somehow pitching in for the day to help out building things and administering aid is beyond ridiculous. Labadee is a hundred miles and hours by land and even farther by sea from Port au Prince. The logistics alone make this impossible.
Royal Caribbean has for years been the largest single cash source in Northern Haiti. Since starting Labadee in the 80s, Royal Caribbean has contributed tens of millions to the economy. Yes, a fair portion of that bounty has found its way into the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt government officials. Yes, by US standards the workers are poorly paid but yes, it is very good pay by Haitian standards. And yes, everyone who goes to the real Haiti for any amount of time thinks they know a better way to save it, but it is what it is, and we learned that the best we could do for the country was to do what we did best – bring Americans with fat wallets to the shore.
Any company cannot always control to whom the benefits of their business ultimately flow. But that is the cost of doing business in the third world, and one must balance the cost with the return. It would have been very easy to abandon Labadee and relocate to a more stable place. Over the years every single island in the Caribbean was checked out with this in mind. But in the end we always returned to Haiti for the beauty, the industrious workers, and the mutual gain.
It may surprise the cruising passenger to learn that calling at ANY port costs the company more than staying at sea. Royal Caribbean would benefit monetarily MORE by eliminating Labadee from the itinerary than by keeping it in, so it is not for greed that the company has opted to continue calling during this crisis. I like to think the decision also has some altruistic roots, and by doing so they are really doing the most they CAN do for the country, not just during this crisis but for the years to come during recovery.
Don't feel bad about getting off the ship at Labadee. Your soul, sensibilities, and the country of Haiti will be far more enriched if you spend your whole souvenir budget at the craft market and heavily tip the beach boy who gets your well-meaning butt a lounge chair and a pina colada.
I fail to see why cruise passengers should feel uncomfortable stopping in Haiti. After all, they are insuring some Haitians a steady job. I also fail to see difference that people are hungry about a 100 miles away. If stopping on another Caribbean island, it would be just a couple of hundred miles difference from the still hungry Haitians. Many Haitians were hungry before the quake anyway. Just enjoy your cruise and make a donation to silence your social conscience.
Bypassing Haiti would be a lot worse for Haiti..
It would be a humanistic gesture if the cruise ships companies would get together and figure out how to convert one or two cruisers into hospitals which might save the lives of injured Haitians.
what kind of lunatic splurges on a cruise and then wants to stop in to visit haiti??? that is like getting to a first class trip to heaven but taking time out to stop and visit hades. haiti is a drug and disease filled country wasting away, i personally will never be taking a day out of my life to "visit" there. that is a project for any/all celebrities who need the "personal" human factor to save their souls.
Absolutely would feel comfortable- What happened was a tragedy. Should we stop living? Should we stop supporting the Hatians employeed there? What good would it do if Royal Caribbean stopped going there for a time? A momment of silence and reflection should be honored while ships are docked there. What other industry do they have?
My own humble opinion is that the cruise ships should keep stopping. In the wake of a tragedy, it is best to keep life as "normal" as possible. Life goes on.......no matter how sad or tragic the event the fact is........life goes on. Perhaps the Haitians who sell their goods at Labadee will help their fellow countrymen & women who are suffering.
I have been to Labadee on a Royal Caribbean cruise. While it would not have been a stop I would have picked, the cruise we booked included it..........so to Labadee we went! I found the scenery to be breathtaking and thourghly (sp?) enjoyed the day lounging on the beach and splashing in the turquoise water. The Haitian vendors can be overwhelming, but they did have beautiful wares.
Kudos to Royal Caribbean for dropping off relief supplies while they are docked in Labadee. They are under NO obligation to do so! Perhaps the dock could be used by others when an RC ship will not be calling in port.............just an idea! Thanks RC for stepping up and helping the Haitian people. You are the only cruise ship line my husband and I will use!
I want to know how rice and dried beans is going to help people in a devastated city with no electricity, etc. People are sleeping in the streets! How and where are they going to cook rice and beans?
I say the cruise lines stop there with a empty cruise boat- move as many from the capital- so they have somewhere decent to stay- thats better than money right now. And yes open the port ASAP!
Gail, I'm so glad you stated what should be obvious: no one but those who have had a lot of training should be allowed into Haiti to "help" or volunteer to work. Tourists wanting to insert themselves into an effort serve only to make themselves feel warm and fuzzy. But they would probably cause more problems than their one-day's worth of work would generate for the people and infrastructure of Haiti.
I wish people would stop and think things through just a little.
I agree with others that there has been horrible suffering and hunger in Haiti for decades and decades. People have eaten at luxurious buffets mere miles from abject hunger and disease and need and have never felt this guilt. To say that all of a sudden they just couldn't take a cruise to Haiti and eat with poor people just feet or a few miles from them is silly. I guess they've never eaten, then, in New York, New Orleans, anywhere in Mississippi, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, etc., etc.
Haiti needs ongoing money and support flowing through responsible organizations like UNICEF or Red Cross. THAT is the best way that the average citizen can help. If you are a professional in some category that is needed over in Haiti and you can commit to a few weeks or months of assistance, then by all means contact the Embassy or other appropriate organization that is over there and volunteer your services. If you don't have specific skill sets or you are unable to dedicate yourself to volunteer work for more than 8 – 24 hours, then you're probably not needed at this time.
Let the cruise ships stop, but use them to provide housing for the people who have nothing. At least they could be out of the refugee areas while recovery is ongoing. These people need a little taste of luxury, if only for a short time!
I agree that the cruise lines are doing an amazing job of brining aid to Haiti.....where as by aid/supplies or by stimulating their economy. I also don't believe they should avoid this port. The Hatians need the money more than ever right now. I can completely understand how many of us would feel uncomfortable vacationing so close to all the destruction BUT with that said I would swallow my uncomfort so that the ships can get aid to the port and I would also spend $$$ there....and maybe just go back to the ship versus frolick on the beach.
The cruise lines are doing the best they can!
It's a once in a lifetime event and won't be repeated. Passengers on a current cruise re-routed to Haiti can see anything which was missed later. What they see now will be more valuable than just a regular cruise. However, just to travel in luxury to a devasted Haiti will not be a commercial success, as it's much faster and easier to get there by air. Haitians don't need sightseers looking at their misery. They need helpers such as medical personnel to get them out of this trouble.
Ultimately I think the cruise line is making the right decision by bringing Haiti business and supplies that they desperately need, so long as they are not hindering disaster relief by taking up needed port space. However cruise patrons probably won't see it that way because they don't want to feel guilty on their vacation.
I see no difference in laying on a beach 100 miles or 5000 miles away. The principle is the same.
I would rather send half the money for the cruise to the Red Cross and work with my church to set up a mission to help with the other half. Then, because most of us really can affod it, take the cruise and enjoy the time away knowing I have helped in some way.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is the largest single direct investor in Haiti. So why would anyone want them to pull out now? RCCL is bringing aid and giving money to the Haitians, in addition to continuing their investment in the country. I can see how this appears "insensitive", but I'm sure their decision not to abandon and to give above and beyond is appreciated.
They should continue to deliver aid and supplies to Haiti but bringing cruise passengers is not appropriate. It is also a health concern right not. Once Haiti has gotten through this horrible tragedy, then the cruise lines should resume there as a port of call.
RCL... and all the other cruise lines have a golden opportunity to be the conduit for massive relief to Haiti. Turn Labadee into a major relief site with a triage hospital along with HUGE amounts of food, water and medical supplies. I would be cheering the Captain and crew to hear an announcement that 'our ship' is delivering 'tons of relief aid' to Labadee. With 'choked or non functioning airports' why don't we have a seaborne 'surge' of supplies. I would volunteer to help offload and distribute at Labadee. Have you ever watched the massive and day long efforts of restocking ships at the Everglades Port...? Those skilled logisticians are brilliant...!!! The answer is not only C-130's (Berlin Airlift) to Haiti... it could be a major seaborne logistics move via the enormous capabilities of the cruise lines. "Oasis of the Seas'..., 'Ruby Princess'..., where are you... set sail for a day of aid to Haiti...?!!!! Then stand back and 'feel the love' of your loyal cruisers...!!!!
Please read the above comments of DavidE, who was once employed by Royal Caribbean as Director for Out Island Operations. He's not crazy about his former company - but he has REAL knowledge about Haiti, the logistics, the people, and exactly what happens on Labadee. I have not read so many cold facts or as intelligent an analysis on CNN, the Manchester Guardian, various ranting, blathering blogs, or anywhere else. CNN should find this fellow and interview him.
Some might find it in bad taste, but I have no problem with the cruise line visiting the island. They are not putting passengers at risk. They are not interfering with the relief effort. In fact they are supporting relief to an extent, if only supporting their employess on the island. Some may feel that they may be taking advantage of the situation, but I don't see it.
I think it is amazing how few people actually take time to research a subject before commenting on an article. It is clear that the stop in Haiti is a private resort, leased by RCCL and they pay dockage, visitor fees, and taxes to the Haitian gov't, as well as open up the stalls to local vendors, as well as salaries to local workers. That's called commerce, and for Haiti, probably "unusual" to have foreign money coming in.
RCCL is also donates $1M to Haitian relief, so give them a break. Would I feel comfortable? No... but I don't feel comfortable 3000 miles away either.
BTW.. I am not a fan of big cruises, but for a large segment of our country, they are the cheapest and best way to visit the Caribbean.
It would be inhuman to not feel uneasy while lying on a beach while so many suffer. Whether you're on a beach, at work, 100 miles away, or a thousand miles away, you should think about these people who have lost everything and feel uneasy. You should feel hope as well. I would say though, keep sending the cruises and the tourists regardless of timing. They need it now more than ever. How much money are those tourists and the ship spending/bringing to the island? Taxes, tourism revenue; it will all play a role in getting the country off its knees.
RC Go Haiti!!
Beth, you are extremely ignorant. Some people made reservations for the vacation WELL before the earthquake happened. And you've obviously never been on a cruise before......
i have been to labadee, the port is so far away from port au prince it wouldnt matter. That place is a lawless mess even before. If a cruise ship entered the main port under normal conditions they would destroy it, labadee is very very private and far away. Haiti was and always will be poor and corrupt.
I think the cruise line would have done better to have waited a few months before returning to Haiti. The country and the people need the time right now to get out from under this disaster. There are still people trying to be found, food, water and clothing and housing to be found and given to these people, who right now have nothing. The cruise line could have made a donation to the rescue efforts that are already underway by the Red Cross etc. They should also allow other ships loaded with rescue personnel and supplies to dock at their private port to help these people. During hurricane season they quite often have to divert to another area, they could do the same thing now. There is no way anyone can possibly enjoy themselves swimming, eating BBQ and drinking cocktails while just a few miles away people lie dead or dying in streets and children and people are looking for food and shelter. If the cruise line really cares about these people then just help them out by donations till things are cleared up and they at least have shelters built on the island. If you have lived through a disaster such as this or a hurricane you know that it takes more than one or two weeks to build back again. The infrastructure is no more, there are no jobs, cruise ships coming into port is not the answer. The cruise line is trying to carry on business as usual but I suggest that it would do better to dock elsewhere.
Shame on the cruise line, for going there and not really helping, just a few pallets? What is wrong with who is in charge. Why is this another Kartina? I'm sick just to watch this mess unfold. We can start wars but we can't even help these poor people? It should't take a major disaster to help other countries in need. Too many millionaires every millionaire should have to donate! The cruise line could of made that ship into a hospital. They should of sent many more ships!
there should be more help from around the world
I can't believe that anyone in their right mind could enjoy themselves in Haiti knowing what's going on right next door. Have some respect for these people. The only activity that should be going on in Haiti right now is disaster recovery. Waiting on a bunch of fat American tourists from a cruise ship shouldn't even be on the list of things to do there.
Of course they should stop on Haiti. The last thing they need in Haiti is for the few jobs they do have to dry up. Their economy will take a big enough hit without people treating the country like it had suddenly developed leprosy. If nothing else, more businesses should be looking at how they can bring jobs to Haiti. it is the only way to bring them up out of their poverty, earthquake or not.
What the Haitians really need right now is a bunch of tourists walking around taking vacation photos. You could pose with a few local corpses. I can just see it. "Excuse me. Could you please stop digging through the rubble long enough to snap a picture of me and my wife next to this pile of bodies?"
If a cruise ship is going to stop it should just be to drop off aid and then get out of the way. If they don't have a considerable amount of aid they should stay away from there. Cruise port destinations can easily be rearranged.
I think it's a bit unfair to ask people's opinions without giving the full story. As a long time Royal Caribbean cruiser, I can tell you they're doing the best they can to continue supporting the people of Haiti as they have for years. In addition to delivering supplies during the already scheduled stops, Royal has also donated a large sum of money and has set up the option for guests to donate through their onboard charge cards. Understandably some people might feel uncomfortable going ashore, and they are free to do as they please. But the quickest way for Haiti to recover is to bring tourism. While the earthquake in Haiti was a very tragic disaster, life must go on.
I would go back to Labadee in a heart beat. Its absolutely beautiful. It's a shame that individuals think that all areas of the world are actually that disgusting. Have you ever traveled outside of the United States? Many countries including Hait have poverty (Mexico, Jamaica)and for some, I guess you can't handle that. But for others, it's merely a chance to explore. My personal opinion is that it doesn't make that person bad for wanting to visit other countries outside of the U.S. Parts of Haiti I wouldn't recommend going to, but thats a persons choice..Heck we have pockets just like it in the U.S. We aren't in Kansas anymore dorothy...
We have had our devastating moments in the U.S when 9-11 happened, but should that stop people from traveling to NY? My thought is once the pieces are picked up which isn't going to happen over night people should get on with the lives that they had. I am not a celebrity or someone that is trying to "Save my soul" it's merely a vacation. Mexico has poverty and drugs? How many of you have gone to Cancun? I think the cruise line employs those people, however they may not be making a whole lot or to our U.S spoiled standards, but it's more than what they would normally get if the cruise line didn't have a stop at Labadee. Kudos to the cruise lines that are helping and all other individuals who are trying to assist.
really? i'm surprised you even have to ask this question! we watch NASCAR for the car crashes, we watch boxing for the KO's!! What makes you think it would be any different with something like this?
Why should sitting on a beach in Labadee during Haiti's current situation be any different than sitting on a beach anywhere in the world at any one point in time? Across the world, people are suffering from everyday conditions of poverty, war, or natural disasters (we sure didn't react this much to flooding in Indonesia). Just because Labadee is in a country where a large portion of its population and its government is under distress, doesn't mean day to day life in other regions should be halted. Having been to Labadee, yes, it's specifically set-up for Royal Caribbean, but they still employ a large number of Haitians in the region; whether they're getting what they deserve or not, should we just decide that cruise lines are immoral and completely cut-off ANY income to those employees? Besides, does it matter if someone takes the day off and lays on a beach in Haiti or stays at home and lays on a beach in Florida? Doesn't mean they aren't involved with trying to help our world society. Doesn't mean they are, either.
For those who say they would not want to take a vacation on the beach while so many are suffering 100 miles away, I have a question. Is it OK to vacation on the beach somewhere else instead? If I was a Hatian and my choice was to see you laying on the beach and know that I was getting some kind of economic benefit (maybe food) or starving while you lay on the beach in St. Thomas, it would be an easy choice. I pick survival.
I think that the cruise lines need to wait awhile till the island has had time to rebuild. I doubt that many of the islanders are actually employed by the cruise lines, they mostly have their own personnel.
They can go elsewhere for a few months, then back to Haiti when things are more normal.
Drop off the supplies and leave. Sorry but I consider this an absolute disgrace. Why not help get much needed doctors to the island instead? Royal Caribbean will never see me as a customer.
Vacationing in the middle of abject poverty, misery, dispair, and corruption has never been my thing anyway. And that's Haiti on a good day. If some of these comments are the typical mindset of people on cruises then I'm glad I've never been on one.
I have never Cruised on RCL but will now because they are doing their best to help and have pledged millions to this poor Island Get off their backs and cruise with a firm that cares read the letter from their CEO and match their commitment
Having been to Labadee, I for one would avoid any cruises that stopped there. While I am all for supporting Haiti's economy, quite frankly, the staff at Labadee was the least friendly, least helpful, and least gracious of any place I went in the Caribeean. Also, it looking up the sides of the hills and seeing barbed wire did not put me in the "kick back and relax" mode.
A cruise ship should only stop in Haiti if they are going to let the affected people on board for a shower, meal, water, medical aide and perhaps a safe place to sleep. The did it to Katrina victims – why not Haiti?
I visited "real" Haiti, I mean not Lavadie, last year. My brother is a Royal Caribbean employee and all what David says but also mentions that passengers get a special mystic when visiting Labadie rather than other destinations.
I believe Royal Caribbean is doing the right think and the best way people can help is when looking at their vacation plan for next year and plan a trip to Haiti.
I was in a meeting with the Tourism minister last year. Lavadie is essential. The strategic plan that Clinton was mentioned included the development of excursions for passenger from cruises to discover the country. Particularly the "Citadel", a marvelous fort in the middle of the forrest. One of the projects planed is to build a train from Lavadie to the "Citadel". I hope they can make it happened.
I will be embarking on a RCL cruise at the end of the month, with a stop in Haiti. I admit that I am confused as to what I should do. I have already donated $$ to the Red Cross and plan to make a donation while I am on the ship.
There are a lot of good comments here for and against getting off the ship. I do believe that it would be an disservice to Haiti to discontinue the port call there...just adding to an already bad situation. I am hoping that there will be some opportunity to offer assistance...bringing supplies from the ship, etc. But I admit that I am torn.
I dont understand why the cruise ships cant forgo their normal cruises and go to the island so that the people of haiti could use that as a refuge. That way the people that are not injured can get out of the way so that rescuers and aid workers can do their work more easily. I'm sure that their are ships that can be pressed into service for that purpose.
Why should the cruise lines stop going to Hati? If the cruise lines stop going in then this would affect the livelyhood of those who sell goods to the tourist on these cruise ships. The cruise lines are bringing in aid to the people, this seems to be more effective then using the small landing space for aircrafts. I think the cruise lines are doing the right thing.
Consider that Haiti (and many of its surrounding islands) were always in a state of poverty and miserable living conditions – does this mean no one should vacation any where near that? Consider that many of the countries in the Caribbean economies rely on American tourism dollars. To cut that source of money and income out would be tragic in the long term.
Lets say it is in bad taste/uncomfortable to vacation near a disaster area – what is the appropriate geographic distance for it to be conscionable to relax on a beach with a pina colada and playing in the sea and surf? 100, 500, 1000 miles? What is it?
I'm not saying that knowing what is happening on the mainland of Haiti would not be a sobering thing and it would not be carefree. But frankly, I feel that sobering sense here in my living room and don't need to be in Labadee to feel sad, guilty, fortunate and grateful for my good fortune all at the same time.
Next time you're in the islands, talk to a local and you'll find out just how vital tourism dollars are. And btw, "borrowing" the pier for other ships doesn't free up congestion and Port Au Prince. It's a vacation spot, not a freight dock. RCI is making the best out of their obligation to run business as usual and I commend them for their commitment to Haiti in the short and long term.
I've been to Labadee shores and Port-au-Prince. I have four children that we've adopted from Haiti.
Keep going. Absolutely! Even if the cruise line is making most of the money from Labadee, they still employee Haitians. And, in fact, I'm sure the Haitians compete fiercely for those high paying jobs.
Most Haitians live on $2/day. If you feel guilty on the beach, use your cell phone and donate through the text donation numbers.
The port at Labadee would be more trouble than it's worth if you are trying to get supplies to Port-au-Prince. The issue in the capital is not an issue of getting the supplies off the ships/planes. It's the getting the aid into the city when the roads are destroyed/blocked. Shipping the supplies 100 miles overland in Haiti when you could simply sail into Port-au-Prince and unload them via helicoptor would be counter-productive.
Haiti has always been the poorest of the poor. It's tragic that it took this kind of disaster to get the world's attention. Prayers to those people and organizations that have been working there for years. AND thanks to all the millions of people who are now offering help/prayers and money.
Pray for Haiti.
Certainly I would be comfortable relaxing at Labadee and I would be certain to tip very heavily because those folks would rather earn their livelyhood rather than accept charity. I say to those going to Labadee, get out your wallets and give them American (cash) money.
I absolutely agree with David E! Has anyone of you with your self righteous indignation about stopping at Labadee when so many are suffering so close even bothered to learn anything about what RCCL has been contributing? Royal Caribbean brings about a half-million visitors to Haiti each year, and is by far the largest contributor to tourism in Haiti. In a country where unemployment was 80 percent before the earthquake, those visitors - and the money they spend - are desperately needed, especially now. Royal Caribbean is going to provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti, they are also partnering with Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation and other organizations. Royal Caribbean also says 100% of its net revenue from cruise ship visits to Haiti will be contributed to relief efforts. Not to mention that when they bring food onto the island for the buffets for their customers, they bring much more than is needed and donate the rest.
Royal Caribbean also announced it is setting up a system on board its ships to let passengers donate to Food for the Poor's Haiti Relief Fund via a charge to their onboard account. They also have been dropping off food, water and supplies with every ship that comes in. And they also have always in the past, and will continue to donate their extra furniture and matresses to the country and have donated much to help make a make shift hospital for the refugees. They offered their PEIR ( NOT PORT) to be used to drop off aid but it is not a good location since the roads to Port – au- Prince are very poor.
The Dominican Republic shares an island with Haiti, and some of its cities and towns border Haiti, should all of the Dominican Republic stop doing business and refuse it's tourists ( it's major source of revenue) because people on the other side of the island are suffering? What good would that do? Then EVERYONE would suffer. I swear I can't STAND that mind set.... Because some are suffering, everybody should..... well if EVERYONE is suffering, then NOBODY will be able to help them! DUH! I think that RCCL is doing all that can be expected of them and more. They are in the cruise industry, that is their business, and they are contributing as much as they can, they are not a charitable organization, why should they be expected to give so much more than any other business out there in the world???
As for the people who work hard to be able to take their family on a nice vacation, you should not have any guilt about getting off in Labadee, you are helping the locals, if you want to contribute more give to the Red Cross, tip well when you are on the island and buy their stuff, it will ALL go to their aid.
For the people who wouldn't DARE get of in Labadee because of the suffering that is so close, but think they should relocate to another island to sip their Margaritas while the Haitians are suffering, well I hope that eases your conciences because guess what, no matter where you are having your vacations.... the Haitians are still suffering. It only makes you feel better, not them.
ABsolutely, they should stop. AND they should disembark. SO THAT THEY CAN GO HELP DIG PEOPLE OUT OF RUBBLE, COMFORT THE DYING, AND SHARE THIER SUPPLIES.
That would be the cruise of a lifetime, to pull in with that much aid! To hop off the boat, paddle in the water, sip lime rickeys and ignore the suffering, would be abominable selfishness.
I've been to Labadee. It's beautiful...the kind of "tropical paradise" most northerners imagine, based on calendars and desktop graphics. The fact that it's Haiti is practically a secret, or was at the time anyway. The cruise company takes great pains to isolate Labadee from Haiti. Locals who are allowed to work there are supposedly hand-picked by Royal Caribbean for health and security reasons. It's not an island or a port. It's a tiny peninsula, more like a spit.
I agree that it would be great to bring more tourist dollars into the country, but how do you justify a $1000 cruise ticket so you can be on Labadee for eight hours and spend a few bucks on trinkets? How about if you take your cruise money and send it to the Red Cross? It's nice to think of getting off the cruise ship and doing good works, but you have less than a day, and you're starting 100 miles away. It's just not feasible. Also at the moment they have no use for untrained volunteers.
Right now, it's too soon. Let Haiti start rebuilding before you bring cruise passengers . Cripes, at least let them bury their dead.
It's great the Royal Caribbean is bringing relief supplies, but they could do more. How about tendering near Port-au-Prince to serve as housing for volunteers and military? How about turning the health spa into a hospital? Cruise ships are all wretched excess...put them to work for a while.
Of course it should stop,, it will help with the economy and most tourists will give and lend a hand
Yes they should. Many people may not realize the relief they provide during the time they are docked. They bring with them much needed supplies and donate funds to the rescue/rebuilding efforts. I'm all for the help they provide. I was on one of their ships (first to dock on some islands) after Katrina and was impressed to see the help they were providing.
I probably wouldn't want to go but I see no reason for the cruise ship to not go. The people that get off that ship support the economy with money.. I think it would be a double whammy if travelers were shunned from the island for no reason.
I don't think that Royal Caribbean helped Haiti before the earthquake. You only have to look at how the Hatians lived to see that. The docking of the cruise ship after the earthquake is a perfect example of what has truly happened to mankind. Indifference and self-indulgence masked behind a phony face of good intentions. The rest of the world has been given an opportunity to actually see how a part of their fellow man lives. Hopefully our world can come together and do something to actually help.
Boycott Haiti? Don't travel there to spend money until all of the injured have died and been buried. What about the other half of the island (Dominican Republic) – should people still be allowed to vacation there?
Royal Caribbean International has invested many millions of dollars to create a beautiful place to visit in Haiti. This tropical oasis provides a place for each of the lunatic passengers (including our family last year) to spend money which helps the local economy. RC has also has a long-running relationship with the country in which the Haitians are provided aid. Anyone who believes RC is wrong for stopping some 80-plus miles from the terrible disaster is simiply foolish. The people of Haiti still need money; they still need to work; they need to earn an income just like everyone else. I'd go back to Haiti in an instant, knowing my visit was doing good.
Ask the guy that is able to feed his family because he had work when the ship stopped there.
SHOULD TOURISTS FEEL GUILTY FOR BEING ABLE TO AFFORD THE LUXURY OF A CRUISE SHIP?
My Dad once told me: "Despite your best efforts, you cannot single-handedly solve poverty issues for the entire World. You can give away everything you have, and there will still be millions upon millions starving and dying."
The travel industry helps the economies of poor countries in hundreds of ways that you are not obvious to the traveler. This is also true with Haiti. That said, there is an extraordinary need for basic services in Haiti, which will require a military force to dispense (ours).
The cruise ships should be canvassed to get donations while they are in Haiti. But it is unrealistic to allow passengers off the ship until security concerns are properly met.
YES! Of course. This country desperately need this hard US currency. Even more now that eight days ago. The best thing for the country is for people to get there and spend some money with the locals. Not just the swanky tourist shops, but out on the streets. It will make its way further into the locals pockets that way help far more people in the long run.
The people of Haiti don't need handouts and welfare,they need jobs.They want and crave dignity,especially now,in a time where they probably feel that they have none.The people of Haiti can use every dollar that they can get there right now.I think people should not only show their support of the Haitian people by donating money and supplies to help them save themselves in this time of need,but they should also look to the long term and think that,perhaps,our money spent there via tourism, can afford the Haitian people some dignity too.
I find it funny that so much emphasis is placed on the fact that this resort is in Haiti. There are people sitting on resorts in Dom Republic right now. They are close to the disaster as well. Why are they not held to the same standard? Or even the cruise ships themselves. Is it wrong to go ashore and enjoy luxuries but its somehow less offensive if the same is done on the ship just offshore? Further, why does proximity matter at all. Wealth can be transferred all over the world with ease. Should anyone on a resort anywhere on earth feel guilty right now?
This is one of the deepest questions of human life. Should we all go without luxury of any kind until everyone on earth has everything they need? I suspect even the most charitable among us does not practice this on a daily basis. My point being, those of you who critical of this resort visit are also indulging in luxury of some kind right now.
Also, its not like this resort visit is taking food out of the mouths of people in Port au Prince. There is more than enough charity pouring in($1 million from RC itself!) from the outside world. The problem is the logistical nightmare of getting the resources to where they are needed most.
I absolutely support RCCL's decision to stop at Labadee. We were on the first cruise ship to stop in Grenada after hurricane Ivan devastated the island. While it was sad to see so much devastation, it was heartwarming to see them waving to our ship and celebrating that the cruise lines were coming back. Several locals came up to us, didn't ask for a handout, but told us how thankful they were to have tourists back to help the economy. They told us that they hated the handouts and wanted to help themselves. They are wonderful people and it is one of our favorite islands. We bought more than we originally intended from the locals and did not haggle.
We are on a RCCL ship stopping in Labadee in March. While normally we don't really spend much, we will go to the local straw markets and buy trinkets without haggling and we will buy some drinks and generously tip the wait staff. Have a good time while so many are suffering perhaps not, but we will be satisfied knowing that we are doing our share to help the local economy.
You can't just abondon the stop...Royal Caribbean employs many local Haitians and if they quite going then those that have a job won't have one anymore and that would add more heartache. Some of those that have jobs there have families in Port au Prince and this is a means of somekind of support for them. RCCL is also bringing in relief supplies for the earthquake victims. For those of you who would be worried about 'having a good time' so close to Haiti...get a grip! What difference does it make if you were having a 'good time' close by or far away??? Don't abandon the stop!!
It seems that these muddled thinkers would be perfectly comfortable relaxing on a beach and sipping cocktails on Grenada, just as long as they are not reminded of any human suffering happening in Haiti. This is ludicrous. If you are going to cruise, then you may as well stop in Haiti. The suffering will be no less if you avoid Haiti, but it will be a little tiny bit better if you don't.
I think it is a good thing the Cruise LIne is stopping in Haiti to give a sense of normalcy and stabilization to the catastrophe. It is a sign of hope and support to an area that has been afflicted with this eartquake.It is a sign that shows the magnitude of the quake and that not every part of Haiti was affected by this tragedy and that life continues on normally in areas of Haiti that was not affected by this natural disaster as well as the entire country of the Domincan Rebublic which consists of the other half of the island that was not affected at all by the earthquake.
I feel the cruise line should deliver much needed supplies to the Haitian people, but absolutely not have their passengers get off the ship to have a fun filled carefree day. As a person who has cruised I would feel very guilty and uncomfortable to enjoy myself in Haiti while there is so much devastation and suffering going on.
The question is should anyone be vacationing anywhere in the light of this disaster, or famine in Africa or the problems in Afghanistan?
Support Haiti, support the island is the best anyone can do. The Cruise line is bringing supplies and money to a poor country. Is that on its own not help?
I absolutely agree with RCI to NOT stop going into Haiti.
At this time of need, both the tourist dollars and the ability to provide and contribute aid is exactly what is needed. To abandon now what is a very dire situation is irresponsible at best. Haiti has been in a desperate situation much longer than the just 12Jan2010, and RCI continued then, as it does now, to support the local economy and the local peoples. For this, I give gratitude that RCI and tourism continue on and support both.
Dan Brown...that's the best idea I've seen on this post. Well said...for those of you who missed his post, see below:
Dan Brown January 18th, 2010 2231 GMT
I can see both sides now, initially, my response was no! Reading this has been pretty educational, but my comment doesn't concern the cruise line. My son was approached today about going down to work as an employee for an American company going down for cleanup. This made me sick at my stomach, but now I'm wondering if it might not be a good experience for him. He says he'll go if they want him to!
If the resort is not in the area of devistation, I would continue to visit the area, it does bring money and aid. The cruise ship could even get involved taking guest to areas that could use volunteers for the afternoon stay. I understand it is a day camp for the passengers.
bring on the money
As others have said, timing is crucial, and one week after a country has suffered it's greatest catastrophe is not the time to be frolicking on the beaches and sipping Mai-Tai's. If Royal Caribbean cares so much about the people of Haiti, they can use their ship entirely for humanitarian purposes and instead of allowing visitors to disembark, ask them if they would be willing to make donations to the local economy and relief efforts. Bet they'd get a lot of cash and those poor cruisers could find somewhere else to jet-ski. Give the country time to bury it's dead for God's sake....
I think Royal Caribbean has made a mistake to continue to visit Labadee at this time. I would not feel right about spending the day at the beach there or having a nice lunch at their Labadee facility. I know they are bringing supplies for the people effected but after seeing all the images from the disaster I think their pier should be used to help the Haitians 100% of the time currently. I would like to think that senior mgmt of Royal Caribbean will rethink their decision and come back to Labadee after an appropriate amount of time whatever that might be.
I agree with RCI and not stop going, this is providing income to the people and Customers on the cruise have the choice to go to the island or not.
Get rid of your passengers, go fill up with supplies and the go to Haiti
Royal Caribbean is performing a sickening act to me by taking tourists to Haiti – no matter how far away they are from the disaster area.
They should be using their vessels to deliver rescue workers and relief aids. Their liners could also be used as hospital ships if they're going to be in an accessible port.
Bringing tourists to the island is akin to bringing customers to a hotel that has just burnt down and justifying it by saying "they could use the business." It's just plain disgusting, and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines should be ashamed of themselves as should any passengers who disembark for partying while the rest of the island is in such dire straits.
It's amazing how short sighted and incredibly uninformed many of the posters here seem to be. Here is a much needed source of income to the locals around Labadee. The cruise port provides about the only jobs in that area of the island. Hmmm, let's see, how can we help them in their time of need? I've got it, let's take away that only source of income in the name of pius indignity, sitting here on my warm couch up in the US. You want to do something to help? Stop pontificating on blogs on subjects you know nothing about and break out your check book. Make a donation or go volunteer to collect money for Haitians. Stop worrying about where people are going on vacation. Unbelievable...
R U cracy? Stopping in the toilet bowl of the universe? CNN needs to see psychiatric help immediately asking this question....
sun, surf...the works! let's party while the world ends. why should one feel guilty? "PIERRE? WHERE'S MY DAMN champainge." And make it a double while they all starve and fight for their slithers. My vaction is important/
Guilty? If you're rich and white this is a good time to feel better about yourself. Look at Anderson. Look at Sanjay...they seem to be doing all right.
I think that the cruise line should keep visiting the resort. The passengers should consider making a donation to relief efforts through their account on board the ship. The ships should continue dropping off supplies. The passengers on the ship should get involved by off loading the donated supplies by hand and put in a few volunteer hours on shore in some type of humanitarian effort. The local Haitian authorities could use the time in making some type of presentation on the disaster to the passengers that come to shore and ask them to be get the word out when they get back home as to what Haiti needs in way of help.
I think my mindset would be different vacationing there but I think I would feel worse about the cruise ship completely skipping the location. The cruise ship docking in the area is a net benefit and I don't want Haiti to lose any help it can get just bc someone thinks in inappropriate.
I think the cruise line should utilize one of their ships just off Haiti for refugees to live in, as one line did off of New Orleans after the hurricaine. These people need a place to live and on the ship would provide a safe place until permanent quarters can be found.
They could still employ Haitians to run that ship.
This is a situation I feel should only be commented on by people who have ACTUALLY seen Royal Caribbean's operations in Haiti. Haiti is a country I would not have visited if I had not been on a Royal Caribbean cruise last year. The amazingly well run operation there at Labadee is what hundreds of the local Haitians count on for their income from tourists like me who would not have visited otherwise.
We witnessed RCLs generosity to the people there long before this tragedy. They donate food and gifts to the people and have been since long before the earthquake. My parents watched as Royal Caribbean staff delivered presents to the children around Labadee at Christmas time.
It is unfair to point fingers and judge when RCL is one of the only cruise lines (if not the only one) to have invested in Haiti prior to the earthquake.
To those suggesting "humanitarian excursions" – yes, brilliant idea. Send a bunch of black sock and sandals wearing seniors out to do what exactly? Dig through rubble? They can hardly coordinate getting aid out via proper organizations, sending in an army of retirees to get in the way and need assistance themselves is craziness. And to force them to do it as part of their cruise is also just plain crazy. They didn't sign up for the cruise in the first place to be exposed to the "real Haiti."
The Haitians that work at the resort will continue to get paid – vital to survival. They will take their earnings and spend it on food sold by someone else, water sold by someone else, gas sold by someone else.
Yes, this country needs aid and from what I can tell, a lot of organizations have raised millions upon millions of aid. Marines are landing, hospital ships are on their way, rescue teams are searching buildings, engineers are shoring up structures and making them safe. Unless you are one of these types of people, the only contribution you should be making is with your dollars – even those spent while vacationing on a cruise ship.
I wondered 20 years ago, why our Cruise stopped at Haiti?Back then Haiti was destitute.People sleeping in mud huts w/no running water,children running naked in the streets begging for money,selling bananas&sunglasses stolen from tourists;poverty stricken/filthy. Haiti leased a portion of its island to Royal Caribbean.The Haitian gov't.(now Rene Preval) got paid HUGE $ for the privilege of Cruiselines docking.Haiti got lots of $ since then. So,where's it all?Maybe gold plumbing in the Haitian Palace & pockets of cronies from previous administration? (Papa/Baby Doc)What a crooked regime.No infrastructure, no emergency services,no security for its citizens after 30 years of tourism?I wouldn't give them 1 dime now!Don't blame the the tourists.Haitian gov't. never said 'stop docking at our ports' due to the tragedy.Even as the Haiti gov't. is asking for donations from the world, its corrupt administrators are benefiting from this disaster!
It has been 25 years since our visit to Labadee. It was great, however I suspect they still use a tender from the cruise ships.
So if you care about helping Hati , either donate to the Red Cross, or book as RCL cruise and spend as much money in Labadee as you can afford. RCL does a lot of good in Hati. Get out and spend as money as possible in all of the poor countries.
I think that the cruises should continue but not yet. It's to soon and while they are performing a good deed by dropping off supplies there is no reason tourists should be out and about the disaster stricken area until all searches have been ceased and the economy has at least started to recover. Otherwise what does bringing in tourism do? Nothing. There is no economy for the tourists to support with their money.
Share that 80 plus Metgawatt of generation capacity with the nation of Haiti ! 1 13.8 KVA triad submarine cable and one cruise ship could power the whole port.
Shore excursions: Yes, charge the tourists $200 Dollars to feed the people instead of the Dolphins and the like.
How could anybody not want to "Roll Up Their Sleeve" and do some WORK. (Typical Vacation for me, no matter where I go- I seem to fall into it.)
The vacationers are only there for a day-stop (perhaps this could have been mentioned in the article!). They wouldn't have time to offer aid, and it's silly to expect them to – they're on vacation. If people want to help Haiti and her people, they should dedicate some time (or money) to do only that.
Another question-why are we not using cruise ships in this disaster like we did in Katrina. The cruise industry is an efficient one. Using the dinning facilities could feed 1000s a day. Provide shelter for aid workers and a place to recover for the injured. Also, just their ability to transport large quantities of supplies and can their water plant convert sea water to fresh?
Just a thought
Hey Fastrider, John and all the others who worry about the tourists wandering thru the rubble...the people who disembark in Labadee get NOWHERE near the disaster...they are 100 miles away.....there's no 'tourist' trip to see the disaster, there's no 'photos with corpses'. Try using common sense for once.
AGAIN....I hate to be a broken record, but to those who insist the tourists 'roll up their sleeves' and go rescue people.....THINK ABOUT IT! The rescuers and emt's who are there are TRAINED in emergency services. They spend YEARS learning how to deal with disasters, not only physically but mentally as well. Do you really think Aunt Sally from Paducah KY can get in and do the work without becoming a liability herself??? This is a horrible situation, and instead of spouting stupid suggestions (pull all the RCCL money out of Haiti, let tourists do the work of professionals, use cruise ships for temporary housing), DONATE your money to UNICEF or the RED CROSS. Let those agencies, who are TRAINED in disaster relief and support DO THEIR JOBS!!!!!
Sure the ships can be used for cargo, I'm sure that the banks that loan the billions of dollars to the cruise lines for ship building will understand if they don't bring in the $10-$13million a seven day cruise makes. I know my bank would understand if I skipped a few mortgages because I gave the money to charity. There are 200-300 locals who benefit from the cruise line every day, that and supplemental supplies are good enough.
And where are the toourist supposed to stay???
I have been to Labadee and would encourage everyone to continue to go! It is not just a beach. This is not just income for Royal Caribbean. This is income for Haitians who work and sell their products there. It is another way to help the country recover in addition to the humanitarian aid provided by Royal Caribbean.
Labadee is not a resort area with hotels and stores. It is a beach with small shops where Haitians sell island type souvenirs. The ships only stay a few hours while tourists swim, eat picnic style and browse the shops.
Couldn't agree more Paul. That's why I sent money to Doctors without borders and the Red Cross before I blogged. I'm also preparing to send other donations of food and clothing goods to the Haitians.
I'm sure the Haitians who get paid to pamper the tourists can use the money to buy loads of food for their families from the non-existent stores that were crushed under the earth quake. -Good call.
Maybe the tourists can get some wonderful snapshots of the armed guards keeping their part of Haiti blocked off from those in need for their vacation scrapbooks!
Where do you people live? RCI need to keep the operation going to help pour money into the economy there. The "port" is a 40ft pier used mostly for passengers. It is serverd by tenders. The ships have to moor way off shore. It has no facilites for moving large amounts of cargo.
If you want o complain look to the UN. The US ( As usual) is taking the lead and supplying more goods and man power then the UN. I beleive the quote was that the UN will be sending 2500 troops and police. The US militarty is ramping up to 10,000. Most of these will be for logistics and secuirty. The bigest problem is moving peorple and materials in country – not getting it to Hati.
There are clearly a lot of people who have no idea what the difference between a pier and a port is. Labadee does NOT have a port by any stretch of the imagination. They have a small craft pier, that's all. Anyone can build a 'pier' with scrap materials and hand tools. That does not mean he has built himself a seaport and can receive cargo. There's a HUGE difference.
In short, it is very sad what happened to Haiti, however the cruise ship industry as well as business in the US needs to get its act together, re-start producing quality American goods and get its economy back on the road, before it can even begin to help Haitian survivors...The US is out of touch with its own reality and is constantly bombarded with helping other countries when it has forgotten how to make good, lasting products on its own, and not having to import them from Japan and China. In the past in the US, when a buyer read the labels "Made in Japan or China on a product, it signified inferior junk....now those same labels signify the "Finest quality item made"........
No, I would not feel comfortable being among the rich. They try to ease their "uncomfortableness of luxury" by donating beans and buying "trinkettes".
How much more diverse can you get on the wealth scale? Pure luxury beside pure agony; divided by birth. "Let them eat cake" pales in comparison to this event.
I've been to Labadee, from inland. While it might be a "working port" in the eyes of some, the road from Labadee to the nearest town (Cap Haitien) is probably not suitable for transporting anything of substance. When I was there, it was little more than a one-lane dirt road suitable only for four-wheel drive vehicles or motorcycles. Haiti is suffering enough; the few people with jobs in an area relatively unscathed from the earthquake shouldn't be deprived of income – let the cruise ships come!
2nd earthquake today – is it safe to take anyone to that area?
I was on a cruise in the Caribbean when the earthquake hit. I spoke to
people that were sailing on Royal Caribbean. Did you know that as soon as they heard about the earthquake, they stopped by ( royal Car) and were the first to drop off supplies to Haiti!!! I feel that they should continue to stop at the Island and help support Haiti with MUCH needed jobs as well as aide. I feel more cruise ships should stop there in the future to help give them jobs.
I have always said that if our country ever needed help, who is going to help us? nobody.We need jobs in country,every thing is made in China ,japan. We need to take care of our own back yard first
I was at Labadee in December on a RCI cruise. First, it is no longer a tender port; there is a pier where the ship can pull up and dock. Second, it's not equipped for overnights. There are no hotels or restaurants. Supplies are brought in by the ship, I believe, and cooking, etc. is done on site barbecue style or simply offloaded from the ship. In other words, it doesn't appear that continuing the tourism would in any way cannibalize food, water, etc. from the Haitians whom, we all agree, need it much much more.
Third, to the extent that tourists would continue to buy crafts, artwork and souvenirs from the rather large otdoor market on Labadee, or to the extent the site employs Haitians (rather than just cruise staff), it would seem that RCI continuing the stops there would help the Haitians to recover from the earthquake disaster. In addition, to the extent supplies can be rbough in by cruise ship and taken overland to the quake region (and I'm not sure what the road is like), it would seem that would be a help, too.
Absolutely the ship should stop. All the cruise lines should add more stops there. Not only will this bring in desparately needed financial support, but will raise awareness about the plight of Haitians to many people who might not have realized it otherwise. Its one thing to hear about a disaster, or a poor country, and another when you actually see some of the people and how they suffer.
Haiti needed more cruise lines to stop there before the earthquake and certainly needs more now. How can anyone say its better for the line and its passengers to bury its head in the sand, pretend Haiti doesn't exist and go vacation on some other island!
Imagine if you were a Haitian whose income came from the tourists on the ships, and you expect to be able to feed your family (some of whom may be sick or dying from the quake) when that boat comes in, and then found out it wasn't coming just when you need it most!
Folks need to think about things from more than one side before becoming "outraged."
People should keep taking these cruises . your not helping Haiti by staying away .Money from these cruises will be helping some one -and if you feel bad for these people , then donate money.. Haiti has enought problems...DON,T cancel these cruises–I have traveled to some of these islands .I know how it is to be poor and hungry -CANADA should let more of these HEITI people into our country as we are blessed and have so much
Having traveled there myself. I feel I can see both sides of this. But in the end it is not fair for those in the North of Haiti to suffer financially because of the aweful disaster that happened in the south. Many of the people that live there survive off of the crafts they sell to the tourists. It could wipe out their entire income. Possibly this income is providing care for family memebers who were affected in Port au Prince.
It isn't as though people did not vacation in other towns in the US after Katrina.
Royal Carribbean cares nothing but their bottom line. When during the H1N1 out break last year all cruise lines were moving cruises and passengers, RC was the last one to move their cruise. And get this ... they moved a May Cruise to Mexico to british columbia where it was 45 degrees. Now that Haiti is struck with disaster... they dont want to alter course because it cost them $$$. if they really want to help they would send a ship full of supplies and not have passengers aboard. Typical RC taking a cruise line to a country where hundreds and thousands of people are dying.
The ports are already overcrowded with emergency teams and transport ships trying to help those people....there is not need for a cruise ship full of tourists in there, we should give priority to the emergency crews and the relief ships.!!!!
A single lane dirt road between the RCL pier and Port-au-Prince – 100 miles away.
Can those suggesting the ships solely be used for aid and refuge explain exactly how they plan to transport all those supplies down the 100 mile, single lane dirt road to Port -au-Prince and then, return the 100 miles back up the dirt road with the injured?
I feel that some of you are responding picturing a cruise ship just off shore of the devastation. As if from the rubble, Haitians could see the gleaming white ship. They can't. 100 miles away.
If you're at home, in your warm house, full belly, hydrated and well rested – how can you live with yourselves when so many are suffering 500 miles away? 1000 miles away? 2000 miles away? At what distance do you no longer feel guilty? At what distance, do you stop putting on airs of sympathy and start actually demonstrating common sense and logic that will actually provide help?
If you're at home enjoying life and feeling comfortable, you have no business commenting on vacationers on a cruise ship.
I have been to Labadee several times and the locals NEED these stops. There is a large section with local vendors selling their wares. Last time I was there I saw a boat arrive full of deck chairs. I asked the locals what that was about and they said that the cruise ship uses a local man to repair to chairs and every week they pick up fixed chairs and drop off others. These stops do good too and I think everyone should remember that.
This my be good for some, however; this is wrong. Why don't we have vacations trips to look at the poor. We know thy have no say. Totally, WRONG WRONG.
I myself would feel fine with relaxing on a beach in Haiti, when I knew that a part of the money that I spent on the trip is going to the Hatian Gov. itself, and take pride in the cruise line I chose is not just worried about its own pockets, but is willing to burn extra fuel and reduce cargo space to insure its part in aiding Haiti is upheld. So yes I could drink a mojito knowing my trip gave more to Haiti than some ten dollar text donation.
Sure, best way to support Haitians is to boycott their services. That makes SOOO much sense....
The cruise ships need to stop carrying vacationers and all should go there and allow their ships to be used as hospitals.
I believe that time and space is essential when it comes to this type of disastor. You can't have cruise lines visiting in times such as this. Labadee is a Royal Caribbean built resort. It has nothing to do with the island itself, and most of the profits brought in are taken from the locals and put into the Companies pockets. It is ridiculous. If Royal Caribbean had any sense of being "humanitarian" they would post pone all land excursions to labadee and focus on helping with the delivery of medical supplies, water, food, and other essential resources. I am disgusted by Adam Goldsteins views on this particular issue.
I agree with Erin and others. From what I read, RCL pays the Haitian government $6/passenger in addition to the benefits to the economy already mentioned. It would be asinine for RCL to stop aiding the Haitian country by ceasing its visits to Labade.
In response to the comment from Jim "why are we not using cruise ships in this disaster like we did in Katrina?" Because who is going to pay for it? Do you really think Carnival offered to have their ships sit there for free? Of course not. They were paid for using the ship, and were also given millions of dollars to renovate the interior afterwards. Everyone wants to help, but these are businesses, they can't just stop operations and become a hospital/hotel.
What does "comfortable" mean? Does anyone feel "comfortable" where they are right now thinking about it? Will I feel "comfortable" next week? No. But would I feel "comfortable" about going to an alternate port knowing that Haiti lost another ship's worth of supplies and thousands of passengers worth of tips? NO! The Labadee stop is ONLY a beach. They don't have trips into the island and cities of the island. There are lots of things to do, but all of it is on the beach and in the water. The passengers stay on the beach in Labadee only. Its not like we're going to be running around the destruction and the dead yelling "Where are the damn t-shirt and trinket shops, what's wrong with this place?"
Jessica said: The ports are already overcrowded with emergency teams and transport ships trying to help those people....there is not need for a cruise ship full of tourists in there, we should give priority to the emergency crews and the relief ships.!!!!
Jessica...the pier where the cruise ship docks is hundreds of miles away from Port au Prince, The RCCL ships are in no way hindering the arrival of emergency crews.
And to those who would like the ships to be used as housing/hospitals, etc....no company, no matter how humanitarian, is able to forfeit millions of dollars in business, not to mention the cost of upkeep of the ship, or repairs after the disaster subsides. Let RCCL continue to pay port fees (in the thousands of dollars per hour), employ Haitians and pump sorely needed $$ into the Haiti economy.
Mitch- you say "Why don't we have vacations trips to look at the poor. We know thy have no say. Totally, WRONG WRONG."
Labadee is an isolated area. Have you never traveled to a country where the standard of living is lower? Have you never even gone to parts of the US where there is hunger and poverty?
To those who think it's a crime that RCCL is only donating millions of dollars, food and support to the area....what have YOU done? Have you donated? Have you decided that now is the time to approach your local Red Cross to learn about what it takes to be on a disaster team? Did you sign up for the classes so YOU CAN HELP the next time? I thought not.
After 911 people from Oregen went to NY on an "Oregon "hearts" NY" trip to continue bringing money into the state, to keep the local economy going, and to promote tourism during that dificult time. If Oregon hadn't sponsered this trip, would NY have continued to funtion? Yes!! If people stopped traveling to, going on mission trips to, or stopped funding restoration of and for the people of Haiti, will Haiti continue to function/survive? Probably not. Every little bit adds up (even cruise ship stops)...lets continue to supports the needy of the world. We are all human beings, and they are grateful for it, trust me!!!
I don't think I could personally enjoy a cruise there, but I think it is in the Island's best interest for the cruises to continue. Tourism must be some portion of their national income, wether it be from taxes or other fees it leverages on the companies running that tourism. I think now, more than ever they need income from whatever source they can find.
Isn't the real question: do the people of Haiti want the cruise ships to stop at their island? The cruise industry does employ Haiti citizens and can be used to deliver supplies. As a passenger, yes, I would feel conflicted about stopping at the island.
The ships stop at a private island OFF THE NORTHERN SHORES of Haiti
The people in the North need the business – that's how they will be able to help the folks in the South hit the hardest. The ships also carry food/medicine etc each time it stops. what is wrong with giving tourism money to the people who desperately need HELP.
Cruise ships should be sent to Haiti to be used as floating hospitals.
I am actually scheduled to go to Labadee in Feb via a Royal Carribean Cruise. I think Royal Carribeans choice to return to Labadee was a good one, as not going would mean a loss of thousands of dollars and unemployment to locals. Not only is the Royal Carribean ships bringing in supplies, but also the tourists are spending money.
I see nothing wrong with the ships stopping there. AS another poster commented people are/were vacationing all over the world woth all kinds of poverty and other devistations going on. This is part of their economy and abandoning it would not be the righ thing to do right now. If people don't feel comfortable they can always stay on the ship. But I am sure no none felt unconfortable stopping there before with the same poverty and corruptions going on. just was not the world headline at that time and it was easier for them to ignore.
Brent said; "Maybe they, Royal Caribbean International, should instead consider using their vessels solely for the delivery of relief goods to the island using their pier at Labadee or maybe turn their luxury cruises into missions of mercy. Their guests could disembark at Labadee and then spend their holidays repairing homes, caring for those who are ill in other words doing some real good." REALLY? REALLY? Have you ever paid thousands of dollars for a vacation Brent only to spend it "repairing homes"? What is so wrong with decent, hard working people enjoying the fruits of their labors by taking well deserved vacations that THEY PAY FOR? Why all of a sudden are people who make a decent wage and perhaps save up to enjoy lifes little luxuries now the bad guys?
Since when do we look down our nose at those with money and say they need to foot the bill for all who haven't the decency to go find a job or save what they do make instead of squandering it on drink and drugs.
I'll say what so many are thinking; maybe some of the poor people in the world need to stop having all these babies that they can't afford, stop trying to suck on the tit of the rest of the world and boo-hoo about what you don't have, trying to make those who DO HAVE feel guilty. I feel absolutely NO guilt for the upper class life I live because I HAVE EARNED EVERY PENNY of it, I've saved money, I've gone without in order to have better, and I've lived responsibly. I give to charities as I see fit, but for some jerk to suggest that someone who's paid their hard earned money should use their vacation to "repair houses" – get a grip Brent and others like you!
I've made my donation through the American Red Cross to help Haiti ... what have YOU DONE BRENT?????????????
Life goes on, no matter what happens elsewhere in the world – no one is complaing about the people at the resorts in the Dominican – what is the difference?
Can you imagine the poor sap who won't get a paycheck because some rich jerks are boycotting his countries tourist industry? I went to NO after Katrina. They needed the tourism dollars that I would have spent elsewhere.
Don't add to the problems that the everyday people have by removing their paycheck; they need that paycheck even more after a disaster.
Cruise lines make plenty of money, why don’t they support the effort by providing beds for all of people that are now left homeless. I am sure that they could go without one of their ships for a month and it wouldn’t hurt. There are so many children and elderly that will not make it in the conditions they are living in. So what! A CEO might not get his new sports car, I am sure he will survive. Do the right thing and help in the time of need.
The simple matter of fact is that I like every other person boarding a cruise ship with a port of call in Haiti made these plans and PAID for the them weeks or months in advance. Current events are just that...current events. The only difference between the suffering before the earthquake and after it is the size and scale. I resent people who try to demonize other people for continuing with there long awaited plans. Each person in there own heart will help in the relief effort as they see fit. I have no problem spending the money I planned to spend in Haiti, which will do real good, and am very comfortable docking and enjoying Haiti.
To all those people who say that the cruise ships should be used for hospital ships and that the passengers should help in the relief work, need to take another look at the demographics of people who go on cruises. First off, hospital ships are designed just for that, being hospitals, they have operating rooms, intensive care units, wards, and hundreds of medical staff. Plus the ships are designed with patients in mind. Patient beds are large and need many power outlets and special equipment to allow them to operate. Anyone who has ever been on a cruise ship should know that space is limited and cramped. Also those persons who are going to Haiti at this point are trained in disaster response, medicine and body recovery, extrication, and construction. Having TOURISTS going to Haiti to provide relief will only endanger those people and cause problems for those who are specifically trained in disaster response. So stay home, donate money and let us who are trained to respond to incidents such as this (I am a Firefighter and EMT) do our jobs.
This comment from someone in Canada summed it up well. thanks....
My knee-jerk reaction was shock that cruise ships would visit Haiti under the circumstances. But upon hearing the reasoning from the cruise line, I must agree that what Haiti needs is MORE tourism, not less. If the dock can also be used for humanitarian aid, so much the better. The cruise line could also take up a collection from passengers for a local charity, but the local Haitians should not be made to suffer by the withdrawal of their livelihood. There is a good chance many of them have relatives in Port au Prince whom they may need to support.
A few years ago we were on a RC cruise which stopped at Haiti. The biggest attraction for me was the art and craft fair which is always there. Haitians bring their handmade wares to sell and I bought a lot of handmade dolls and beadwork and jewelry. What will those poor artists do without the cruise line. The cruise line tourists spent a lot of money there. I hope RC continues to support the Haitians and artists.
Where were all you people before the earthquake? Do you really believe Haiti was doing all that well before the quake? If you are so concerned for the people of Haiti, why haven't you left yet to go help? And do you really believe it's RCL responsibility to rebuild Haiti? Do you really think that Haiti is the only island that any cruise line goes to that needs help. Hello.. just about all the islands need help!! If you have ever been you would know!! In case you were wondering.. you wouldn't last two minutes in Haiti. Very unsecure place to visit, just ask the rescue teams who have had to pull out because of fear for their safety.
Quick survey.. how many people in the United States stopped living their lives when California was hit with an earthquake just a few years ago? How many of you went to help? At least the cruise line is providing something.
How come news crews can land in Haiti but planes with medicines can't?
Haiti need all the help they can get right now. let us not be selfish and help each other. This can happen to us here in the U.S. wouldn't you want anyone and everyone to help in every way possible. To all of you who said you don't feel comfortable having a good time while people are suffering near by. Anyone can understand that but Haiti can benefit form your trip. As children of God Almighty we need to help each other any way we can.
I am well travelled in the Carribbean, europe Africa and central America. Haiti has the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. Why would anyone not visiting in a cruise to Haiti. Most of my friends are always tempted to visit this unique, vibrant, mountainous island. Once It is rebuild, Haiti should be considered the no ! destination vacation in the Carribean. Have you ever visited the beach in Port Salut?
I have actually been to Labadee with Royal Caribbean and it was very nice. I do think that cruise lines have a responsibility to help with the aid to the island. One million seems a little low compaired to the profits they make. A nice jesture would be to continue to pay the employees while visits are suspended until the island can begin to recover.
I cannot answer for any one else but if I were leader of a ship or vessel that traveled the waters; I would do my best to stop by at least near the dock and leave all the food & water I could give,and ask the people for extra clothing on this cruise ship,giving them also any extra bed linnen and blankets etc.May God be with you. How and where could I donate some clothing to the elderly? possibly hygiene products as well?
Cruise ships pay a great deal of money to dock at various island ports – we heard as much as $250,000 per ship per day. That is a lot of money that could go to the rescue and aid of the Hatian people. It would be shame for them to loose that money at such a critical time. I have been to the Hati with RC in the past and they do have a secluded beach, and set up a "taste of Hati" with the shops. It's not like tourist would be walking through the disaster zone. I say give those who are still able to work a sense of normalcey amoung great grief and disaster.
When this is over .then wats next for these people ..another DICTATOR SHIP.. THESE PEOPLE NEED TO RAiSE CATTLE SHEEP -CHICKENS RABBITS -PLANT GARDENS - THEY NEED TO MAKE A living – and not have there hands tide by dictators -aldo we live in CANADA we have a lot of freedoms but certin people rule the roost - but it is a beautiful place to live – and i feel so bad for these people -these are good people they need a brake – GOD love THEM – TONIGHT MOST OF US WILL BE SLEEPING IN A NICE WARM BED – WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLANE ..I HAVE MORE THEN I NEED IN THIS LIFE –GOD BLESS THESE PEOPLE-
If the UN and world agencies can't get help and supplies to those enveloped in this horrible mess, how can you and I and RCCL. I'm due to stop in Labadee on Valentine's day..think about that one people..I chose this cruise excitied for this stop that we made last year as well.Our first cruise was after 911. While so many suffered it's effects, how could we enjoy a cruise? It was tough, but a couple days into it, we avoided the t.v's and our world was only the ship and the islands(No we didn't stop in N.Y. but from what I remember NO ONE did for some time after out of respect, but those unaffected were pleading with tourists to please come and spend $$.) We really can't do anything to help but give money to the right people. You can watch CNN for the next few weeks all you want and feel horrible like me but they too will stop the intense coverage and leave. Come on Canadians give like you do! all those who want to follow me off the ship we'll take a deep breathe, walk the plank and dammit we will enjoy and be thankful for being alive!
As much as I would like to go ashore and help paint a school, teach a child, build a house....do you all really think that is a afe alternative for "rich" travelers? With the looting and violence right now, the last thing that is needed is for a bunch of tourists wandering around the streets. Who would provide security? If you want to help, make a donation to the Red Cross or some other reputable charity.
I WOULD MOST DEFINITELY ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO CONTINUE VISITING THE ISLAND. HAITI'S DIRECTOR OF TOURISM, MR. DELATOUR IS WORTHLESS AND DOES NOTHING FOR THE COUNTRY. I THINK THE HAITIAN GOV SHOULD ENCOURAGE YOUNG EDUCATED HAITIANS TO GO BACK TO HAITI AND USE THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO REBUILD THE ISLAND AND ALSO FOCUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL WORLD TO INVEST IN HAITI AS WELL. AS FAR AS ROYAL CARIBBEAN, THEY ARE WELL DISLIKED FOR NOT TELLING THEIR CRUISERS THAT LABADDEE IS HAITI, BUT AT THE SAME TIME AT LEAST THEY ARE INVESTING THERE.
Yes – it is my understanding that the cruise lines are bringing relief supplies to Haiti in their stops there and they probably already have a system in place to offload so I think it is a positive thing for everyone to help in any way they can.
I would be uncomfortable going to Haiti for a vacation because I would not want to experience an earthquake or better still on a ship..a tsunami! Otherwise I don't see a problem with vacationers going there on a cruise ship! Vacationers spend money and in Haiti's current predicament, money is a good thing. Why disrupt or cut-off an honest cash flow at a time like this! I highly doubt any of the vacationers are going to flaunt anything in front of the Haitian peoples..in fact the vacationers are liable to be even more generous! Not all people are greedy and selfish!
yes keep stoping there life goes on and that is revrnue for the nation dont punish the people eventually everything will come back to normal
Interrupting cruise stops at Labadee would hurt Haitians even more. The cost of a cruise includes port charges for every stop on the itinerary. By-passing Haiti would deny this needed revenue.
Oh, come on people! This is not a big deal. Labadee isn't ANYWHERE near the earthquake site, and docking the ship there helps provide jobs/income to the people of Haiti. Plus, I bet many of the passengers choosing to go to Labadee are giving out extra tips and buying more goods than they normally would. Please tell me, how in the world is that hurting anything???
If every person who visited Haiti gave 50$ for the relief efforts, something positive could come out from such stopovers.
Not going to Haiti will not make the problem go away, on the contrary, it would make a bad matter worst. The island desperately needs everything it can get, even if it means a few tourists enjoying their beaches.
I, and I'm sure many,many others, would be most happy to pay a week each for use of a cabin by the women and children and the injured. Royal Carribbean and other liners could have full capacity for months and save so many lives. Wht a PR exercise that would be for them.
And to answer Lauren's question on if permanent buildings exist in Labadee that could be used to house refugees. The answer is no. Labadee is more like a resort/amusement park type beach that the cruise lines created and it is isolated from the rest of Haiti. It is not a town or village, just a beach resort with lounge chairs and some rides. Plus it is so far from Port-au-Prince. It's not like people could be transported there easily anyway.
People who feel strongly against RCCL stopping at Labadee should read the comment by David E. It clarifies A LOT of the misconceptions I see on this board.
On three of my Royal Caribbean cruises, we left Miami in the evening. When we got up the next morning and looked out at the beautiful scene, we were in another world – the beautiful cove at Labadee. On my first visit to Labadee, we went to the lovely beaches, had wonderful barbeque in the RCI pavillions and took tour boat excursions – one followed the route Christopher Columbus took so many centuries ago. Entertainment was provided by the "voo-doo" dancers, who did the beautiful, and traditional dances of their culture. This is a wonderful first day for the western itineraries of Royal Caribbean International, which has done so much for the economy of this small and different part of Haiti (Hispaniola).
In my mind it's like rubbing salt into a wound. Any ports in an emergency should be used ONLY for aid. The cruiselines do not really care about the haitians and if their revenue is so important, why hasn't it benefited the Haitian economy thus far. I believe it is correct, they pocket the money, use slave labor and treat Haitians like dirt. Same story different year. Pitiful.
And one more thing! You hear everyday the aid is not getting from the airport to the people. Yet the Canadian ships docking at Jacmel port, immediately unloaded, triaged hundreds of people, are feeding them and literally moving faster than anyone I've seen on TV in the week I've watched and i watch everyday, CBC and CNN coverage. They are doing the same in Leogane. Seems to me there is a purposeful stalling from goods at airport, and "inventory" needing to be done, why don't they do inventory BEFORE it gets to the area of need, whoever heard of anything so dumb.
Also, I personally am not giving another dime to ANY relief organizations, until I can see the money being donated by the millions and millions is aid actually GETTING to the people, not warehoused or stuck at an airport. Seems to me "super power" has turned to "stupid power" I can hardly believe the death being caused and the extreme hardship and horrible treatment of these people. Enough money has been raised now to give every Haitian a million dollars each and say go build, go buy your food, go get a tent. Seriously, if it costs "pennies a day" to feed someone, where are the millions and millions and millions of dollars going? It's sure not to the thirsty, starving, the doctors in haiti, or clinics or meds, nope. It's a pity with all our wit and intelligence we can handle a situation so stupidly. Get the supplies to the people, show us that our donations are actually getting to the people. I believe if not, people should stop giving donations to these classic few and start other charities that really do care.
Thank you to the Canadian miliitary and navy who actually did get boots to the ground and are making a difference, not acting like body guards, but literally feeding and treating people and finding them shelter!
Ellen- I agree, if you don't know your money is being used the way YOU want it to be, don't give. DON'T give to the door to door people asking for funds, because you can be assured that too often, that money is not going anywhere near Haiti. But you say give each Haitian a million dollars and let them buy a tent or food. WHERE do you propose they do their shopping? Organizations like the Red Cross and UNICEF are indeed there, digging people out, trying to get to the hill people and provide medical care. If you are interested in speaking intellegently about the problem and learning WHAT goes into disaster relief, and WHY things aren't fixed 'overnight', go attend a disaster prep class at your local Red Cross. (and the Canadian military didn't have to act 'like bodyguards' because others were doing it...it's not a safe place right now, and there are fears for people's lives- don't put down those who have placed themselves in harms way just because they aren't performing to YOUR high expectations)
I think tourists need to be spending as much money as possible because of the destruction in Haiti. So many other sea-fairing islands cash in on vacationers, Haiti needs to start.
While the idea of partying on the beach while others are suffering nearby may at first thought seem repulsive, it is the right thing to do. Can you imagine if we had encouraged people not to visit New York or D.C. after 911. "Oh no those poor people in New York have suffered such a tragedy, don't visit Times Square or see a Broadway show when people have suffered nearby". It's ridiculous! The people of Haiti rely heavily on the money from tourism, just as New York or D.C. do, and to avoid the area simply because it makes us feel uncomfortable, given what has happened, is only to injure them more by denying much needed money to their economy.
We should be encouraging tourism to Haiti, so more corporations invest more money in building resorts that are update in construction and will employ as many of those people who have been devastated by this event as possible. Those of us who can afford to vacation or who simply live in largely populated areas, are always enjoying ourselves while others suffer around us, the homeless, the destitute, those who have recently tragically lost a loved one are always nearby. Do we help them by not contributing to our local economy, or the economies of popular tourist destinations in the U.S. or elsewhere? Of course not!
I applaud Royal Caribbean for continuing to stop in Haiti, they could have quietly rerouted their ships elsewhere and ignored the plight of the Haitians, but they did not they faced the controversy and decided to help Haiti by not treating it like a leper colony to be avoided.
At first when you hear that a cruise ship is stopping in Hati it does tend to give one the creeps. But lets really look at the situation.
First the stop is 100m miles away from the center of the the earthquake. There are resorts in the Dominican Republic that are much closer than Port a Prince but no one is complaining about those.
Second, the last thing we want to do is stop the economic boost in the arm that they get from Royal Caribbean. Its millions of dollars a year from taxes they get from tourist and the cruise line. If they stopped going there it would just punish the people that are working and cause more of a problem.
We where encuraged to go to New York after 9/11. The mayor begged the tourist to come. Not going would hurt the people more. Recovery is not just feeding people but putting people back to work.
Lets not make the situation worse.
My Royal Caribbean (RCL) trip, with its first stop in Labadee, has been paid for for months and has taken many logistics (i.e. flying grandparents across the country to watch the kids). So I won't be canceling my cruise, which is scheduled to stop there on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.
I do feel right that RCL is stopping in Labadee because so many Haitians depend on Labadee for their income. (The average Haitian makes less than $2 a day.) In fact, I read that 80% of Haiti's tourism revenue comes from Labadee. And the Haitian government gets $6 per passenger – regardless if the passenger leaves the ship or not.
The real question is, "What is the cruise line passenger going to do with his/her time at Labadee?" It could be wasted lying in the sun, getting drunk or used to benefit others.
I've already donated money to the American Red Cross. But I want to do more...more directly. I'm not a medical professional or a relief aid worker...so what can I do?
Right now, individual Americans or American families can't ship goods directly to Haiti. Both FedEx and UPS have suspended operations for the time being.
So, I look at RCL's stop in Labadee as a unique opportunity to help Haitians face to face. I intend to bring an extra, giant suitcase full of supplies like bandaids, gauze, clothes, sanitary pads and baby wipes. I know that this small donation isn't going to help the entire country, but hopefully a few people.
So if each RCL passenger stopping in Labadee uses their time wisely by bringing helpful goods, then we can make a (small) difference! I encourage every passenger to pack supplies to help Haitians!
RCL could avoid some more bad press by organizing humanitarian activities for passengers at Labadee. I'm sure that many would join me in bringing goods from home, unloading supplies or assembling medical kits. RCL simply needs to announce that there will be voluntary opportunities to meet with Haitians and/or relief agencies. I'd also like to participate in a prayer service for Haiti while there.
About the cruise ships landing on Haiti as one of their excursion stops and the concern some people have about the disconnect of playing volleyball and sunning on the beach while so many people are dying so close by. Why don’t they load onto the ship some needed supplies for Haiti. The excursion could be a humanitarian one and I bet it would make everyone feel better about it – Haitians, passengers, and cruise staff.
Certainly not. How could a normal sensitive human being be comfortable traveling for vacation to a place where over a 100,000 people have recently died and countless thousands are starving and suffering gruesome injuries? Only insane and money driven insensitive execs would approve such a thing with ridiculous excuses like "it helps their economy" and with the backing of "organizations" like "Sustainable Travel International" who's on their payroll and under their back and call to support them (cruise lines) they try to excuse their ambition.
Personally I think that Royal Caribbean should be boycotted for good measure.
I ask you reader... would you host a party when next door they're mourning the loss of a loved one? Would you feel OK serving a feast for you and your friends while next door they have not a piece of bread to eat?
I understand that Haiti will get benefit from the cruise stops so I don't blame the cruiseline. However, if I were a passenger I would not be able to enjoy my stay knowing how much others very near are suffering.
people seem to forget that there are young innocent children out there who need help
well my knee jerk reaction was "sick capalist bastards" making money wile so many suffer near by and all the tourists going are just as morally guilty. I for one cannot even imagine myself enjoying the food and sun/fun of a beautiful beach and compfortable cruise ship and a few pina coladas while people starve and bodies rot on the street...it's selfishness taken to a whole new narcissistic level. With that said i agree w/ Nathan and some others...its about timing. It's WAY to early to be thinking that tourism is a Help at this time. That's just really bad Rationalization. I do agree that tourism will help in the long range. I have often said (having traveled to the DR before) that Haiti needs to develop tourism to help the economy as it has on other islands but again its timing and calls for sensitivity, something the CEO and managemnt of RC (which i will never cruise on again BTW) and some tourists seem to be sorely lacking (sensitivity and conscience).
I am disgusted with this CEO. How can he feel comfortable allowing this to happen knowing he is endangering lives with earthquakes still happening. I feel its not right and I would feel uncomfortable period. I feel he is more about money than human lives. Sickening!
Anka makes an excellent point and one i will reconsider. Thank you. Indeed every action has a re-action. I would stay on the ship. But i know i still would not feel comfortable and i would be anxious for the ship to leave ASAP. While i can't stop living because there is suffering somewhere int he world i do not have to be enjoying the benefits of food and luxury comfort while someone so near by is left bereft of all basic sustenance.
"Would you feel comfortable about relaxing on a private beach in Haiti in such circumstances?"
Of course not. I'm a human being with something called EMPATHY.
Why deny these Haitians who depend on the resort for a paycheck to feed their families? That makes no sense. If the tourists don't come, you can add those working people to the disaster.
I agree that the cruise ships should be dropping off supplies, BUT, I absolutely disagree with the disembarking of passengers. Out of respect for the atrocity of suffering in Haiti, no decent person could lay on the beach and sip rum runners at this time and for years to come. I blame the cruise lines AND I blame the passengers themselves for even supporting the decision. I personally could never ever have a "beach day" on the island of Haiti since this EQ. So for all of you that have your prepaid cruise tickets, SPEAK UP and call your cruise line and tell them to bring aid as they should -but then turn and leave out of respect for the insurmountable suffering of the Haitian people right now.
Docking in Labadee is what Haiti needs right now. The survivors need the money, as well as the money that the Haitian government will generate from the cruise lines. While my conscience would not allow me to play on the beach, I would still visit the markets. To me, this would be no different than going on vacation to the Dominican Republic which shares the same island with Haiti.
Where is the HUMANITY??
It SICKENS me to know that RC has the audacity to resume cruise ship excursions to the island. What kind of people are you?
Well if you are truly empathtic, you should not vacation at all as long as there is suffering in the world... I mean how could you live with yourself know you are having a good time while there are people dying somewhere, anywhere???
Yes, I could vacation there and happily spend my hard earned money to help the Haitian economy like I have happily donated to the Red Cross to help relief efforts. Life should not stop because there is a disaster.
Some of you claim to be disgusted with the recent actions but how has your daily routine changed? Have you cancelled your recent vacation plans or postponed going to see the newest release at your local theatre? I would imagine that the scheduled stop should have and probably will continue to provide a much needed boost to the local economy. Is it a shame that just miles away from where these clients are enjoying fun in the sun that tens of thousands of people are dead and many more in need of medical attention? Yes, of course, but we should not skirt around Haiti like its inhabitants are infected with the bubonic plague.
The best thing you can do now to help the Haitian economy is to get off the ship and spend money there. Royal Caribbean could also do well to offer an opportunity for people who want to help to volunteer and travel to the affected areas during their stay. This may become more feasible (especially for the faint of heart) after the rebuilding phase begins.
Oh Please, i wouldnt want to disrupt my vacation and if i can spend money in a place that needs it even better. I dont think the tourist or company is throwing sand in the their faces.
I understand why some people would feel uncomfortable vacationing while there has been a disaster nearby, but consider the alternative.
Do you really want to heap unemployment on them as well? Or in this time of disaster do you want their hours to be cut from 40 hours per week to 15?
If you are vacationing there and your conscience is bothered see if you can volunteer to help.
I think Caribbean has acted admirably in the face of (ignorant) public outcry.
RC's adept at 'damage control' after the fact, however, the powers-that-be initially failed to consider assisting with this tragedy. Their sole purpose was to meet their cruise schedule and revenue earned and have demonstrated indifference toward the plight of the Haitian people. While I wouldn't consider a cruise in an earthquake torn nation, I'm not faulting those who decided to take the cruise. This is directed at the corporation. I've likened their (in)action to driving past a traffic accident & not rendering first aid. If they had considered carrying medical aid, food, and other relief supplies in addition to their cruise passengers, and opened 'their private port' to the aid/relief organizations, I would not oppose how they have conducted themselves. Are they waiting to draw up a contractural agreement with the UN or other governmental agency to lease their ships as hospitals, or to transport the most vulnerable to a different location? What was I thinking as their is a price for everything? They have demonstrated a lack of humanity and self-serving attitude for those who have lived and died in that impoverished nation.
People need to think about all the Haitians who are working on the island of Labadee. The cruise ship should not stop going to Labadee. Those Haitians on the island need the money now more than ever. I have been to Labadee with Royal Caribbean. There are tons of Haitians working there from braiding hair, selling fresh coconuts etc. The last time I went, we even bought mangos and conch from a local. There is a large souvenir market there as well. So, if a vacationer feels bad about doing all the great water sports, they can always have their hair breaded and buy lots of goods from the market. Haitians need to cruise ship to continue. Thank you–
Reading some of the comments I find that while it may seem "distasteful" to flaunt your 'wealth', I'm left wondering if that isn't what a lot of people do Every Day!!
Granted, the 'Timing' may not be optimal, but as stated, even dollars spent 'vacationing' at the resort trickle down into the Haitian Community!
Now, if the 'Resort' was in Port au Prince, that would be a definite NO-NO!!!
That will be very disturbing to me .
If you don't feel comfortable lying on a beach 100 miles away from horiffic destruction, how can you feel comfortable anywhere, when people are suffering on this planet. What difference does it make what island beach you sit on, ingnoring suffering? The world and life goes on, as it has through every disaster. The cruise ships still sail the waters of the planet. You did not stop your income, because of a disaster somewhere else, so there is no reason for the cruise industry to stop their income, which coincidentally brings revenue to the devastated country, along with aid supplies being left . Hats off to Royal Caribbean for NOT abandoning the country of Haiti, when it could have been just as easy to do so, because a few vacationers have guilt about spending money pampering themselves and NOT helping fund aid programs.
Tourism will be a great source of foreign currency for Haiti in the future. Now would not be the time to stop. Pass the hat to leave more for the country.
Yes, RCCL SHOULD continue to stop. Tourism is the livelihood of Haiti and many Caribbean islands.
The cruiseline is also delivering aid.
For those of you who would not feel comfortable because of the suffering so close by....are you stating you would feel more comfortable lying on a beach a few hundred miles away? Out of sight, out of mind?
I understand the outrage, but Disney & the rest of the US did not shut down for Katrina while New Orleans was a disaster area. Haiti has very limited income as it is. Let's not increase the unemployment and add to the problem. The Haitians still working need to keep their jobs. It is a sad situation, you are not celebrating the many deaths, but you are putting money into the economy.
Why on earth would you want to cut off tourism income when these folks are in such poor shape.
Do you want to punish them in other ways because they had an earthquake? Is there a timelimit to cutting off their tourism dollars?
Think both sides of the argument!
The people of Haiti need the money that the cruise ship passengers offer. If you keep them from getting off the ship, they may decide to vacation in Hawaii or Florida. If you want to help the Haitians rebuild their country, volunteer and go there or take a cruise there and spend some money with the families there that will help maitain the shaky economy they have. RCCL is already bringing supplies to the country. They have already donated to the cause. They are also bringing regular citizens to Haiti that can help through their spending...and their education by being there. My hat is off to RCCL. I'm sure it was not an easy decision but good for you for sticking to your guns.
ANKA you are right on target. No need for me to say anymore. It is just the hipocresy of some. Do not make the suffering worst by cancelling the cruises.
Mexico City was hard hit in 1987 by an earthquake. It would be unlogical to have halted all tourism to Acapulco, Cabo, Cancun, Etc...
Now of all times people should go to Haiti and spend all the money they can there. The country could use the revenue.
The talk about knowing that people are suffering and dying a hundred miles away is irrelevant. A hundred miles, a thousand miles, that means nothing: we're all on the same planet. What affects one, affects all.
If there were a natural disaster in Detroit, would you postpone plans to buy a vehicle manufactured there? Same difference.
My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. However, the remainder of the world continues to live their daily lives, which I am sure that the Haitians living in the unaffected areas continue to do. More than likely, there are Haitian employees at that resort. And those Haitian employees could possibly have relatives and/or friends in the devastated areas. So if you take away that stop, then you are basically taking away their income that may be desperately needed at this time. When those vacationers make that particular stop, they will be helping that economy by spending more money and tipping more than usual. It is an extremely tough situation but bypassing Haiti is NOT the answer, especially if Royal Caribbean is helping to deliver aid, donating cash AND money spending tourists.
C'mon folks. I have read plenty of these comments that say with indignation that the cruiseline is coming back too soon, "a boycott "–are you serious?! How bout this one...the cruise line was investing in Haiti long before most of you knew Haiti needed the money. They were providing much needed jobs before the earthquake. My guess is that they have talked to local authorities and their own people in Haiti as to how to continue. Most executives don't make their decisions in a vacume. I think a moral decision can be made to go to Haiti as a tourist or volunteer. I think a moral decision can be made to stay away. To villify the cruise line, it's management and its customers is as bad as saying the Haitians brought this one because of a pact with the devil.
It is imperative that business continue to bring commerce and business to Haiti – and that includes cruise lines. For many Americans, this will be their only exposure to Haiti. Some posters have talked about using the harbor in Labadee to drop off supplies and that the "evil" cruise line will not allow this. Haiti does not have an infrstrructure like the US that would allow supplies dropped off 100 miles away to be trucked to Port-Au-Prince. The supplies would never get there. There are no highways! I think this shows the irgorance of some of the posters when they make comments like suggesting that people should not travel to Haiti for pleasure right now. Haiti has needed and will continue to need all the help they can get and that includes tourists in Labadee.
Somehow we seem to forget about people who are dying in many countries of the world, and we are only separated by thousands of miles instead of 50-60. , yet we continue our every day life without a wimper. RCCL benefits in no way by allowing passengers to spend a few hours escaping their own problems (maybe greiving for a loved one) You go RCCL and continue your humanitarian efforts. Forget about the "bleeding hearts" who complain yet probably have not contributed one penney to the cause, or have not visited labedee and supported the natives in their normal everyday time of need.
I thoughts are that having the cruise ship stop will help Haiti's economy and tourism seems like one of the few industries left in Haiti. I hope that Royal Caribbean has made a donate to the relief efforts of Haiti.
under no cirumstances should you go on a cruise to Haiti and visit a pristine private island and drink your umbrella drinks why people are literally dying and being amputated less than 50 miles away.....are you kidding me? why do you even have to think about this?....if you want to go to Haiti.....then go and volunteer!!!!
People have to realize that Haiti's only product is tourism. The ships stopping there still gives them revenue – very much needed revenue. It would be silly to hurt the people who still have merchandise.
Look at what Royal Caribbean is taking to Haiti
$1 Million in donations (at least)
Relief supplies and food with every vessel stop
Donation of all net revenue back to Haiti from Labadee stops
100% match of employee donations to the employee relief fund
These port stops should continue to benefit Haiti. What have the complainers done for Haiti?
Most American people that have commented on the whole cruise issue are completely ignorant. I have never seen so many stupid comments in my life. 1) Royal Caribbean is bringing supplies and the port is one of a few that are open. 2) Labadee is not "minutes" away from the destruction- it's about 100 miles away, WTF is the difference between being on a beach in the DR vs. Haiti or Florida for that matter- sitting on your behind.... most Americans sit on their FAT behinds all day anyhow– as 2/3 are fat. 3) for those that criticize visiting impoverished nations– you make me sick. You are the kinds of people that say to people like me "I don't know how you can go there because the poverty bothers me"- I challenge you to go to those places and wake up and smell the coffee and donate money. Most Americans actually do not travel, which is part of the problem why we are so U.S. centric. So for the people that are bothered by others going to Haiti I say "SCR-W U!!!!!!!"
People who complain about this now have only had their blinders taken off. To be in any way disgusted by this when Haiti has been in a bad way for decades is to show your own ignorance. People have been vacationing there and enjoying their beach-side drinks despite the abject poverty, orphans and myriad social woes that Haiti has been struggling with for years. As usaual it takes something catastrophic for folks to react, but don't worry...you can vacation there next year, but your conscience can be assuaged by your $10 donation to the Red Cross.
Tourism drives these 3rd world countries. Cruiselines have been stopping in places like Belize, Haiti, and other parts of the Caribbean for years. For anyone who has not been to Belize, there are wil dogs running the streets, not to mention men and children riding in back of trucks with AK-47's slung around them. Is it coincedence that when debarking the ship, into the gated shopping area with gaurds near the exits of the gated area and people begging along the fence, they advise you not to go into the city? Some of you say how do you vacation where people are suffering and dying. Are you kidding me, this isn't a new thing. Yes, the earthquake is an unfortunate disaster, but just like Cozumel a few years ago after a hurricane wiped out the ports, the only way to survive was tourism. I donated money to the Red Cross, and I am planning a cruise for the summer. In no way would I not think that in both instances I am helping the country.
These people will not be any better off if Royal Caribbean ships suspend docking there. In fact they will be much worse off. We've been to Labadee more than once and have done a walking tour excursion booked through Royal Caribbean. The guide told us how much better life has been for he and his family since RCI decided to put so much money into that port and how they employ Haitians to do jobs such as the one he was doing. Each stop brings with it port fees that Haiti collects and supplies. 100 miles is not so close that people in distress are going to see people partying. Are these people better off if no one sees them? I think Royal Caribbean has made the right decision.
Yes, in fact I think theses people/this country needs our tourist dollars more than ever, it's 1 port, 1 day, 1 stop, mind your manners, tip better, and enjoy yourself. While there ask the Haiti people what they think? Do they think we are disrespectful for continuing to vacation there? I think you'll find most of them are probably very happy to still have jobs in such an uncertain time.
Enough with the negative comments. The bottom line is that every little boost to the economy at this point is meaningful. I would enjoy and will enjoy a vacation to the fullest knowing that I was at least supporting the local economy. I have been to Labadee via RCCL twice and have another trip planned in March. I won't think twice about it. Get over it people, life goes on. As with other disasters in the past, in a few months it will be but a distant memory.
I would love to the cruise line take an empty ship to the Port-au-Prince area and let the homeless take turns sleeping in luxury for a night instead of the streets!
I agree with what most everyone is saying, Haiti needs money, its a beautiful place, so I say why not? I am booked on a cruise that will be bringing us into Labadee next week. I was a little leery at first, but am excited now because I really need a tan. It doesn't matter if the destruction is 100 miles or 2 miles away, as long as the beaches are safe and clean. Simply cannot wait for fun in the sun.
I think everyone needs to take a step back from the ledge and breathe. Yes, the earthquake in Haiti was terrible; however, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines are not the ones who created it, so let’s stop targeting them. The fact is that the tourism revenue alone will contribute vastly to the rebuilding effort. Add to that, the amount of money that RC spends in docking fees, resupply fees, and leasing fees for the harbor, and that translates to millions of dollars infused into Haiti.
I also love how everyone is so quick to demonize them and how quickly everyone glossed over the fact that RC donated an additional one million dollars AND is using their ships to delivery much needed food, fuel and other supplies to the disaster site.
I would like to also point out one other "fun" fact. Many readers are "outraged and disgusted" at that those who would vacation with 60 miles of a disaster site. Here is 60 miles in perspective for you – stand in one place, and stare straight up – 60 miles puts you in outer space.
Get over it – you want to help – stop wasting time flogging Royal Caribbean, and instead use that time to get to donation sites to help in the relief effort on your own. After YOU have donated or generated over a million dollars for Haiti, then you can chastise a private company for their actions.
Let them continue to call Haiti. RCCL is a good Corporate citizen.
What would be better you coughing up money for these people the rest of their lives as a handout. Calamaties happen in the world. Butch up Sally , life goes on.
Here is the question the people who are so outrage at RCL. Did you care or even think about Hati before the earthquake? if yes then please go on I will listen but if no please shut up.
I think with sensitivity, people should visit Labadee & parts of unaffected Haiti. The reasons are
1. Tourist will bring revenue that can be used for relief effort.
2. Some tourist might donate amount to help people.
3. If the region relies heavily on tourism & related industry, then depriving that source of revenue/income in this time of need will harm more than help.
just as other people around the world are continuing on with their lives post-disaster, the people managing the cruise liners and the people aboard them are doing the same. if we're going to chastise these tourists and cruise liners for moving on with their lives then we should chastise everyone else (ourselves included). if those tourists are to feel guilty, shouldn't we all feel guilty? because no matter where we are in the world, we're in some sort of proximity to port-au-prince. just because they happen to be closer doesn't amount to anything, that doesn't make them more obligated than the rest of us to help.
I support Royal Carribean still stopping in Haiti. They are bring not only aid in the form of food, water and supplies but they are also bringing in much needed money by bringing tourists. Would it be better that they turn their back sand go someplace else and bring that same money to another area. When New Orleans was under water and had people dying people still took cruises out of Florida, California and visited Disney World. Royal Carribean is doing their part to support the people of Haiti and bringing some sense of normal to a nation that needs to have hope that the future will once again be normal
We all suffer pain and sorrow in our lives. Grand parents die, parents die children die. But we still go on with our lives. Same holds true here. They must get on with their lives just like the jews in the holocost and the Japanies after the a bomb. I am not going to let something like the earthquake stop me from continuing my life. I will donate $ and let the people who knows how to help to their job.
There are those who say they wouldn't go THERE because of the deaths and homelessness that are taking place because of the earthquake. I say they are hypocrites unless they stop vacationing entirely.
There are people dying and those that are homeless in every large city in in every state the US – women and children included – yet people continue to visit on vacation. Not a word in the press.
I eludes me why it takes a large scale disaster for people to focus on the suffering masses that are out there. You don't have to leave the country to see lives that have been devastated. Take a walk in your own downtown.
For those of you who have never been to the Island of Labadee, it is unfair for you to comment on Royal Caribbeans so called "ethics" for continuing the scheduled cruises to visit this Island. I have been to Labadee with the cruise line 3 times. Royal Caribbean hires local Haitians to work on the Island. Most come over on row boats and work very hard for the money that they earn, and then go back to there families with money that they made in cash. That money is needed now, more than ever. If Royal Caribbean were to divert the "scheduled" Labadee stops, the local Haitians would have NO income. All we see on the news is that they need money, money, money. There will always be a debate on almost every subject, but we need to remember to be realistic. Sending an empty cruise ship to Port-au-prince for the locals to sleep in would be nice and helpful but if RC does donate 1 million dollars, along with bringing much needed food and supplies, this is what we should expect from them.
The problem with Haiti is their own corrupt government. The $50 million that RC invested to create its private island wasnt invested into Haiti in the first place, it went to the corrupt politicians. Even now the Haitian government's only involvement seems to be providing police support and not really aiding in the relief efforts, the rest of the world is doing this. So I would be crazy to think that the trip to Labadie is benefiting the locals. Its not and neither did the $50 million RC already invested or Haiti would not be the poorest nation in the western world. So bringing along food and other items is just to make those going sleep better at night if you ask me. I think this trip is in very poor taste.
If you don't feel comfortable then don't go. The earthquake took place on one part of Haiti so why should those on the other parts of this already poor place that rely on money from tourism to feed their families and put a roof over their heads suffer. Dominican Republic shares this island with Haiti should they stop all activities that people enjoy over there too.
Haiti was always poor. So is Jamaica, yet I never hear of cruise passengers outraged for hanging out on the beach while the locals live in poverty.
We are going on a Royal Carib cruise next week, that does not stop at Labadee. I wish it did.
Oh give me a break! Where were all you bleeding hearts when over 50 million babies have been aborted in the US since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. You only want to feel guilty, ashamed, and bad at a tragedy that you get to virtually watch on television!!
This sounds immensely silly , I have another word in mind . But I think that Royal Carribean should rethink docking in Haiti > Its Nero fiddling while Rome burns . Maybe they should empty a couple of their floating cities and make them available to the UN for refugees in Port au Prince .
I doubt I will ever cruise with this company . And the UN saying its good for the economy ? Spare me they need to donate massively
to relief efforts.
If you know you are going on a cruise that stops in Haiti then pack
some emergency supplies, clothes, medical items and donate them to the people when you get there. Did not people come from all over to New York when the Twin Towers were hit to help out?
We can do the same.
What needs to be done in Haiti, and in ALL the poorer countries of our world, is to structure the system to make sure a significant portion of monies spent in these countries actually goes to the people of the country. True, Royal Carribean spent ~50 million to buy and produce their "private paradise" in Haiti but HOW MUCH of these monies actually went to the Haitian people in this venture? More needs to be shared than what tourists give to the straw vendors and hair braiders. The system needs to be structured to more fairly share the profits with the people on whose land we vacation!
I will be sailing on Royal Caribbean on February 21 with a scheduled stop in Labadee on February 23. I do plan on stopping and participating in an excursion that has already been bought and paid for. I do plan on spending money at the straw market. I do plan on financially helping the locals by buying things.
Well I definately now know which cruise line I will not be using for my first cruise if I ever decide to take one.
This whole story is a sad in this selfish world of ours.
I vote for cancelling the cruise and allowing the poor people of Haiti to feel the lap of luxury for a few nights or weeks or longer. Showers, Hot meals, entertainment.
Shame on Royal Carribean for even cruising around or into Haiti with the dead, injured, homelessness, and starving going on there right now due to a natural disaster!
For those who are so uneducated, first of all Labadee its not minutes away from Puerto Principe, it is hours away. In my opinion, Royal Caribbean should continue docking at Labadee as every time they do so, they bring food and other much needed help to Haiti.
I think it is disrepectful to vacation there right now knowing there are thousands of people desperate for food and water. I believe the cruise lines should start revisiting in a few weeks after aid reaches the Haitian people. At that time, they could aid the economy by bringing back money into that poor country. I have visited Labadee several times - Royal Caribbean rarely refers to the property as Haiti. They are very few Haitians allowed on the penninsula to sell their native goods. I could not vacation in right mind knowing that only 100 miles away people are starving and dying. Also, what about after shocks. I believe the cruise line is putting other passengers' lives in danger right now. They should offer refunds to those who are not comfortable with going. I am sure the cruise lines could find another port to send the day!
Does everyone not realize there could be people dying next to you in the next building. Don't mean to be harsh but it is life. Bring the revenue in to help them, and yes throw some supplies on and have some one pick up. But don't be discusted, it is a business and that is all life is about in business, the money they make.
People were dying in New Orleans and you all went on with your day.
I have been on RCCL several times and to Labadee three times. These ships are huge and could house at least 4,000 people per ship (if not more). I feel that RCCL could do MUCH MORE in offering several of their ships to house the people that are living literally on the streets. This would allow them an actual BED to sleep in, RUNNING WATER to not only be able to drink but would also provide access to a shower and other facilities. Provide them with food and clean water – that would last them MORE THAN ONE MEAL!! That would be humanitarian and could save thousands of lives. Some may have survived the earthquake but due to lack of the 'basics' could end up losing their life. Basics that are taken for granted – especially on the cruise ships where access to that is commonplace. Of course RCCL is looking at their "bottom line" and what is the financial gain to them but why not take a step back and realize that this is about SAVING LIVES – not making another dollar.
I've known since H.S. what a poor place Haiti is since a teacher told us. I've also followed their dictators, "papa doc" Duvalier & his equally infamous son, "baby doc" who raped, pillaged & plundered the country for YEARS while the U.N., as usual, looked the other way. And as usual, when I heard what a total Charlie Foxtrot this "rescue" mission is, it is nice to see someone else besides the good, 'ole USA catching the blame. The U.N. has been an impotent, ignorant mess since I collected for Unicef as a child for Halloween. (Those old enough will remember THAT. We were going to save the world's children.)
Speaking of which, what ever happened to air dropping water, MRE's & medical supplies? Before I get a "lecture" on logistics, I am old enough to remember learning about the Berlin Airlift at the end of WW2 that lasted @ 18 months if I'm correct, to save the German refugees. Worked there; why can't it work here dividing up the most devastated areas into grids?
Damn shame we don't have any leadership from the top down-pick a President-there's plenty of blame/responsibility to go around. Apparently Truman was our last one with any "intestional fortitude."
PS I'm a retired nurse & giving Motrin for traumatic amputations finally hit my "button." What these people NEED is a functioning govern., not cruise ships
I have been to Labadee Haiti with Royal Carib. and it is a beautiful place. I also use to live in Caribbean. Haiti needs tourism now more than ever and also in the future. The cruise ship is providing work for local people and also helping with aid for the crisis going on. Before this crisis happened Haiti was already in crisis with poverty and hunger but nobody even gave them a penny before.
To the people who say they cannot drink on one side of the island while people die on the other, that is such nonsense. People die everyday in many countries, my sister died two months ago, this is not a reason for everyone else to stop living. The situation is unfortunate but this is life people and life is definitely a journey, we just dont know when that journey may end.
Although it is tragic and very sad that a lot of parts of Haiti have been completely destroyed by the earthquake, ships need to continue going to Haiti because the last thing Haiti needs is to lose their tourism economy. Without the constant flow of ships, Haiti's coastal economy will be in a depression and things will be even worse for the country than it is now.
So tell me...exactly how far from Haiti do we need to be to do something enjoyable? Is it 50 miles, 100 miles, 1,000 miles or no limit. I am assuming that all of you who say the ship should not stop have not gone to a movie, out to dinner, or to a park since the earthquake...otherwise you are a hypocrite. This cruise line and the economic support they and their passengers add to Haiti are much more valuable then your “nice” thoughts and the whopping $10 you texted to the cause. Get real!
People who are "outraged" by this need to rethink and not be so selfish. After all is it the right thing to do to boost your feelings of righteous superiority at the cost of tourism revenues that Haiti needs more than ever right now ?
Some have commented about Labadee being a working port. Well, it is not. The ship does not dock at all. The tourists are ferried to the shore on the cruise ships own small vessels. Labadee is also located at a very remote tip of the island. Any aid getting to where needed would not be worth the effort, besides, getting aid in is not the problem–it's the distribution (logistics) that is slowing down the process. I worked in disasters in the tsunami stricken Ache region, Peru, El Salvador, and Mexico. I can tell you that you don't just drive up in a truck and start passing out food and water . . . sorry, it doesn't work that way. I agree with many of the comments (and the experts) that vacationing in Haiti only helps the local economy. Why should the locals who live and serve the cruiselines suffer economically, because of this disaster. Yes, we all agree this is a TRAGEDY of the worst kind, but life goes on as I've witnessed around the world. To do this in front of the people while they suffer would definitely require soul searching, but the inhabitants living outside the affected area still have to eat and are not receiving assistance from the government.
I agree with the people above. The last thing Haiti needs right now is to be ostracized for its own good. For those claiming it can be used as a port to support the recovery efforts, if it was logistically beneficial I don't think Royal Carribean will interfere.
Stop being stupid, we all need to go to Haiti to help their tourism. Haiti economy relies mostly Tourism!!! So go there! You won't help them if you skip Haiti!!
All of the ones that are upset are probably the same ones that are not givings to the poor Haitians. By tourist going there, it will help the country rebuild sooner. In addition, they are taking much needed items (food, water, medical supplies). The cruise line is probably getting more supplies to the country than the planes are. If you feel bad about going there, then cancel your trip and donate the money to help them.
May GOD have his hands over Haiti and comfort them in their time of need.
sure why not.. i mean think about all the money they could make from the revenue generated by tourism and tourists (buying up a lot of stuff). yes i do understand that this concept may not be acceptable for everyone, as everyone's ethical values are different. on the other side if you think about it though they should be promoting tourism as that would stimulate there economy which of course has suffered a great deal as well.
I just returned from a cruise that included a stop to Labadee. I had reservations about going following the earthquake. However, I soon found I could provide multiple reasons for people to get off of the ship! Royal Caribbean stressed that they are responsible for providing supplies for the relief effort and 100% of the net profits spent on the island also go towards the earthquake relief efforts. In addition, they provided cruisers with an opportunity to provide donations through other charitable organizations as well. The most important thing I found was the personal connection with the people of Haiti. They were happy to be able to share their stories, have people pray with them and to receive monies from the sale of their goods or tips to help their families. Many locals would say "thank you for visiting our country" as they passed by. They were anxious to share their history (on tours) and some were willing to share their current stories, when asked. I say this to note that there is a way to support without being "selfish/self-centered". Tourism is also a means of contributing directly to the local people. Let us not forget that the country was suffering before the earthquake. By suddenly suspending a major means of income (i.e. tourism) we would only heighten the struggles they are enduring. In addition, many people had no qualms about visiting California following earthquakes or New York following 9/11. These states have been able to rebuild and restore local profits via tourism following major tragedies. Normalcy is an important part of the healing process for humans. Period. The Haitian people should not be made to suffer indefinitely (which is what some commentors seem to be saying). They are a people who have learned to endure in spite of their circumstances. Perhaps a few people could learn a lesson or two if they bother to get off of the boat and actually have a conversation with the locals.
I would love to go on a cruise there. That part of the island hasnt been damaged. I would even pay extra for a double decker bus tour of the damaged areas.. Why not raise some extra money for these people. Apparently the country doesnt even have a fire department it's a shame after all the hundreds of millions of dollars that been sent there by the US and other countries
Royal Caribbean has been a strong supporter of Haiti's economy for years and will still be a for years to come. They invest millions every year that helps the country and it's people even before the earth quake. They employ many haitian people and some have been great effected by what had happened.
I think that people think that Royal Caribbean should not go to Haiti, don't really think things through. What happened there is no doubt horrible but not to go there would deny the opportunity for Royal Caribbean and it's passengers to help bring more aid to the country. And to all you hypocrites that dont want to go to Haiti, you're still going on your vacation. You're still going to have a good time, no matter where you go. The situation in Haiti will not change just because 2000 or 100 miles away. So go, and be apart of something positive and help.
Absolutely, I would have a good time. After Sept 11, tourist flocked to the city (my home) to see the big hole in the ground. What happened in Haiti is a tragedy, but I would ask everyone that is appalled by the cruise lines, what are you doing besides raising your voice? Would you physically go there to help, in what way you could? Abject disgust at touring Haiti is really just a way for you to insulate yourselves from the tragedy, not ingratiate you to those caught up in it. Your moral meandering won't help anyone. Bad things happen, often to good people. I know for a fact that those who watched their families die and communities crumble do not care about your self-righteous plight in support of their dignity.
So this tacky cruise line spent 50 million to create a heavily-guarded private beach that no one dares spend the night on with a few hundred on site employees and some hair braiders and straw hat makers? That is all they've contributed to Haitian society? This is disgraceful. Their ships need to be converted to humanitarian use. If I had reservations I would cancel them.
we are all, always-
"Having a beach party while people are dead, dying and suffering minutes away "
Can't get away from it, can't win, can't leave. Such a a short time here best we can be is kind, on the spot.
IT CAN WORK BOTH WAYS. THEY NEED EVERY DOLLAR THEY CAN GET,SO FOR THEM TO KEEP GOING WILL HELP SOME. BUT I DO UNDERSTAND,IT IS STILL VERY SOON. IT IS GOING TO TAKE A VERY LONG TIME FOR THEM TO GET THEIR WAY OF LIFE BACK. BUT WE ALL NEED TO TRY TO HELP IN ANY WAY WE CAN. BUT WE ALL HAVE TO KEEP GOING TO. KEEP THEM IN OUR PRAYER EVRY DAY.
It is sickening that anybody would want to withdraw visiting Haiti, withdraw tourism, withdraw cruise visits just to satisfy their own pristine conscience, just when Haiti needs the monies from such activities most.
It is sickening that these people would prefer to vacation elsewhere, keeping their imagination clean and clear of a catastrophe that had happened.
These are the same people who would recommend that I should not buy the candy the local supermarket in my town sells where profits go to Haiti rescue. These are the same people who question me how could I be enjoying that candy when thousands died and millions are suffering in Haiti. BTW, I've never been with a cruise vacation.
it brings money that is desperately needed there. people who think its horrible should be ashamed of themselves for not allowing people to vacation there, it provides money to the people who work there that they otherwise wouldnt be getting.
When earthquakes devistated San Francisco and hurricanes trash Floridia does CNN run stories about how wrong it is to go to Disney? This is one of the island's only legitimate businesses. Why does CNN work so hard to shut it down?
The cruise could offer a 7 day cruise to Haiti for relief workers. The relief worker could pay the regular discounted fee to the cruise line
The cruise line could offer a 7 day cruise to Haiti for volunteers who want to help. The regular discounted fee would be paid by the volunteers to the cruise line.
I feel that those who are frolicking in the sun while masses of rotting corpses fester in the sun are lacking any type of sensitivity. You are enjoying your pina colada while some Haitian is under a pile of rubble, injured, maimed praying to God that someone will hear his pleas for life.
While this person is burning up in the heat of his soon to be tomb, you are sitting on the beach taking in the rays watching the waves come and go. If this doesn't bother you, then you would have made an excellent Ukrainian guard watching thousands be let off the trains and taken to the gas chambers to be systematically murdered. This really boils my blood!
Goodmorning everybody...First of all, I am from Haiti all my familly is safe thanks God... The tourism industry should keep on going bcause a little part of the nation eats from this industry...please don t stop coming in visit where ever...not only labadee...second stop sending money ..u r supporting an haparteid the masses have and will never c one dollards of that money...just understand that what we need is an American occupation 4 20 years and 10000 community organisers on the grown...please consider the call of the masses...not the wishes of an economical minority...thanks 2 all Haiti luvs u...
Life does not stop when disasters strike. I have talked to some people from the island and they want the money coming in and need the work to provide money to the main land. Have people stopped going to New Orleans after the floods? ...No they wanted people to come back.
YES.......The people need any and all income from tourism to help the local economy. I have been to Labadee Shore's on a cruise and there is no economy without tourism. More importantly, you can SEE where your money will help people sustain their fragile communitties. If Haiti rebuild's they can be as prosporous as the D.R. Hispanola itself would die if tourism was discontinued. I do agree that if you do go...spend the money with the locals. You can get tours of their communities, lobsters and fish caught by locals, ect. Take clothes and supplies with you and give them away. I went on a family reunion cruise and all 20 of us made plates of delicious food and proudly gave it away, rather than watch the cruise line throw it all away. You would not beleive what pampers or bottled water, soap, could help a family. My father is from the Virgin Islands and I have a deep love for the caribbean...
Tim...I would love for a ship to take me there for 7 days, as I would spend the days doing volunteer work, like the students did after Hurricane Katrina.......
Why would it surprise anyone that there are SELFISH people in this world who think only of and for themselves. However the chickens are coming home to roost. Haiti's disaster and living conditions are now known to the WORLD. The greedy, have SLID around enjoying the beauty of the oceans KNOWING that the people there and elsewhere like this are SUFFERING! I bet some of these people call themselves CHRISTIANS....GOOD PEOPLE.
I will be taking a RC cruise the first week of February with our last stop being in Labadee. I think the cruise ship should drop off needed supplies to the people and then move on. This is not the time to be sunbathing on the beach while thousands of people have been buried in mass graves and others have died in collapsed buildings. There is very little medical, food or water for these people. The unrest is apparent since it is taking so long to reach everyone with supplies. I really don't think the small revenue that we bring in will make a hugh difference in their lives. Royal Caribbean should take into consideration that this is a paid cruise and paid customers should be heard. Once the initial shock of this disaster has passed then the stop to Labadee could continue. There is a time and place for everything and now is not the time.
All of your people on the cruise need to get over your short-minded, egotistical, and selfish ways. What an amazing opportunity for Royal Caribbean to take supplies to an impoverished nation, a nation in dire need. And what an even more amazing opportunity for people to take an "excursion" and go and volunteer for the day at Port-au-Prince and help in the recovery efforts. Talk about something that you will remember for the rest of your life. If you are so stickin' concerned about the cruise stopping in Haiti, then you should have purchased cruise insurance and rescheduled or cancelled your trip. Get over yourselves. Your cruisers only know half the story. So before you go and get all hippie-canary about it, why don't you stop and think about the opportunities that Royal Caribbean, its passengers and its crew have in potentially assisting in the relief efforts. I would not hesitate to go and volunteer and help for the day. Why don't you stop and think for a moment the impact you would have on the people of Haiti if you took time out of your day to go and help. Oh, but wait, you are too short-minded to realize that. Go and sit on the beach and have your margarita.
Why not take the ships and allow the people that need it the most the opportunity to have shelter, running water, food, and medical attention? These ships hold hundreds of people and would give the people of Haiti shelter from the elements of nature and relief from the diseases spreading from the dead bodies piling up. Even with relief under way there are hundreds of individuals that are suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. The argument of keep tourism going does not bring any economic relief to the people that actually need it the most right now. That is a good plan for the future but the people of Haiti that were affected by the earthquake need food and water and shelter from the heat and disease. They need proper restrooms in order to carry sewage away from the victims. By allowing people to temporary live on the ships would also provide safety from any more aftershocks that experts say may happen. I would by more inclined to travel on a cruiseline that provided humanitarian relief this way than one that is still only looking out for its bottom line and make money and trying to save face with the media.
So what if Royal Caribbean gave a million dollars towards the Haiti rescue efforts. They probably make that in a couple of weeks with the costs of their trips. By docking on the other side of the island they show the world how little they care about anything except the profits.
RC shows their callousness since the loss of hundreds of thousands of human lives and suffering are replaced with beach chairs and a day in the sun.
Quick question for Patricia and anyone else saying they wouldn't get off the ship, would you get off the ship at the other ports? How are you justifying that? And if it's so awful to get off the ship at Labadee, why are you still going on the cruise in the first place? Labadee is near the earthquake site, but not especially near. Jamaica is also near the earth quake site, so is anywhere in the Caribbean. If you don't feel comfortable shopping and buying drinks – spending money on Labadee where your money is going to the Haitans, how are you okay having fun in the sun and spending money on the ship, stopping on other islands? Yeah it's soon but read the newest article on CNN where they interviewed the UN travel authority and other authorities. The only people who advise against visiting Haiti were the uninformed who posted here.
It is sad to see so much misinformation blowing around the internet. I worked in northern Haiti in a missionary hospital and we will be returning in March to work in Port au Prince. Northern Haiti was not affected by the earthquake.The port at Labadee is a tiny little dock. 15 miles away is Cap Haitien, a big functioning port, where supplies are and have been coming in. This cruise ship brings much needed income to Haitians in the area, and does a lot more good than the self righteous national act when America embargoed this country for years.
The comparisons with 9/11 and NYC are well taken.
Why do people continue to berate the people going there on vacation. The Haitian economy depends on tourism. You people think it's better that the ship go elsewhere? Some people, like me, booked this cruise way in advance and I do not feel guilty about going there and will try to help in any way I can while I'm there. Why does social conscience in you naysayers views have to be "PROXIMITY DEPENDENT"? You people also need to look at a map and get your geography right because you need some education– the quake zone is 100 miles from Labadee- is it therefore better to go on the other side of the Island to the Dominican Republic instead? Please consider sponsoring a poor child in various areas of the world. Why does our conscious just get peaked by a disaster. It's actually sick if you ask me looking at many of the reactions of the board. You people need to get out and travel more if you ask me. Sponsor a child and go visit them like I did and lived in the orphanage for a week.
You have to love the liberals, it would be "distasteful and tactless to flaunt wealth." Sounds good liberals, talk about theoretical bs instead of the facts. If the ships don't go there with the passengers, the local workers make nothing and Haiti's plight gets a tad bit worse. The ships must continue to go there, the passengers must continue to take the cruises and spend money to help the local workers in this time of economic collapse in their country. Leave it to liberals to create moral arguments that fly in the face of commonsense and end up hurting people worse.
Go to Haiti when the rebuilding starts, not now. Rather than selling vodka martinis on the Haitian beach, Royal Caribbean should send the vodka to the European doctors who are using it to sterilize their hands because it is the only alcohol availavle. Shame on you Royal Caribbean.
When I heard this story this morning I stopped what I was doing and thought to myself,this has to be a mistake!Sure enough I listened and while my stomach was turning I learned that there will actually be people vacationing 100 miles away from where people are dying.I can not believe that any human being could possibly even concider such a thing!If anyone of these people so much as drinks one glass of water or eats one meal when so many are suffering,you should be ashamed and get on your knees and ask god to forgive you ,and pass ALL the food and water to those who are dying!Shame on you all!!May God forgive you!!!!!
I first heard this issue on NPR "Morning Edition". I thought it was a great idea. I've seen it explode on the Internet now. I still thinks it's a great idea. They are bringing supplies. And maybe, just maybe, a few cruisers will think about where they are and what they can do to help. I've cruised on RCL twice, and plan on a lot more.
To be honest, in the past, I avoided cruises which stopped in Labadee. But now, I will be sure to take a cruise that stops there.
Being there now doesn't mean you turn off your conscience. Do what you can. I don't think it's sickening at all.
Julie, get off your high horse. You are probably 1000 miles from the disaster area. Why should proximity matter. Stop bashing Royal Caribbean and the people vacationing there. May God forgive you too for being so ignorant.
I tell you where else there is suffering Julie- in many places in Africa like the Congo, in India, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in China, heck probably in your own community. Tell you what- why don't you try working in a soup kitchen and maybe that will make you feel better.
You get an odd feeling when two places on the fabulous Caribbean cruise have had earthquakes of 5.8 or higher (Grand Cayman & Haiti) within 2 months of your mid-December cruise. I believe that it does good. The cruise line employs 230 Haitians who need the money. I saw their faces, they were gaunt and skinny. I saw four things in their eyes. Firstly, desperation because of the poverty of the village. But I also saw gratefulness for the business. These Haitians are the lucky ones. They have stable jobs performing safe labor. In addition, if you were to go now, wouldn't you spent more money with the Haitian vendors? I would. Call it pity, call it empathy, whatever you want. What it is to the Haitians is hope. That is another thing I saw in their eyes. Hope for the future, hope for themselves, hope for their family, and hope for their country. The final I saw in their eyes was determinedness, they wouldn't give up. They were strong. And for them, for the hopeful and determined Haitian people, I'm running a local fund raiser because I went to Haiti and saw hope and determinedness in their eyes. That will be what helps carry Haiti through: Hope and Determinedness.
Anka is 100% correct. People need to think through their statements before posting them. Haiti has always been one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean and yet no one has objected to visiting before the earthquake. If the cruise lines did what some people are saying and avoid stopping in Haiti, that would put all those employees out of work. This in turn creates more poverty, and does not help at all. You may not agree with vacationing so close to a disaster but think of where you live at home. How many people in your city live in poverty and you flaunt your nice house, clothes, and vehicles. These people rely on their jobs to provide for their families, take that away and they have no where to turn. I do find it funny that most of you have never met the people who work on Labadee and yet are so quick to judge and comment.
I just love the hypocrisy here. "Oh, it's APPALLING that someone would go to Haiti and drink and party when there's suffering 100 miles away" Have you never gone to dinner and had to walk around a homeless person on the sidewalk? "OMG, I could NEVER do such a thing" Have you never had a party in your home, with a family in the neighborhood who are out of work? "Use the ships as hospitals/refugee camps" Have you not learned from Katrina where the cruise ships DID serve as camps? It was determined later that the cost to the govt for doing that was more than giving each New Orleans resident a round the world cruise? "Cruisers should get off the ships and help dig people out" Right. And when was the last time YOU went next door to dig out the driveway for an older couple?
YES, I wish I could go. But at this moment, I don't have $$$$$$, money. If some-one could pay for me to go and do scientific research over the area, to determine the possibility of more quakes; I would go.
This goes out to the person who said "It is sickening for the cruise line to stop there".. I hope YOU can come up with the millions of dollars that will be lost if the ship does not go there for the time being. If you can not come up with the money then , maybe you can go for a visit and explain to the people who thrive on that money as to why it is stopped and don't forget to look at the starving families and tell them that it just seems to be the right thing to do according to you. Please respond!
I would get out at Labadee and not return. I would go to port-au-prince or another city to see if they need help with anything. It does not matter what kind of help. Important is that you help!
Shopping in a private beach resort is not helping anyone but the already well provided people.
Most Caribbean islands depend on income from tourism. Hati needs to have its economy up and running as soon as possible in an effort to restore some sort of normalcy. If we want to support Hati we should all be on those cruises. What i think is important, is that when you visit, you remember the suffering and the lost to the Hatians and understand your role in making a difference.
i just saw the image of the ship on tv
without any info i thought, how generous and great to sent this ship so there is a clean use for hospital/homeless people.....
what a shock hearing the info that it is for a resort
as a passenger,i would be happy the ship and my money was donated to people in need!
It most be an awful feeling watching others chill on RCCL cruise, while the Haitians struggle to keep their hope and spirits alive. And everyone with food on their plate has the duty to share that food with the Haitians for a long time to come.
Yes as it helps parts of the country that were not effect by the quake. Tourism in Chiang Mai Thailand was severely effected after the Tsunami although it is located hundreds of miles away from the effected area. Hundreds of tour guides were out of work. Restaurants, pubs, hotels, taxi drivers, shop owners and their employees were all effected as tourists avoided Thailand for years after. I am sure there are other areas in Haiti that were not effected by the quake. Please don't punish them by not visiting and repeating what happened in Chiang Mai Thailand after the Tsunami.
I think that Royal Caribbean is doing a good job continue cruising to Labadee. I wish people would stop thinking of Labadee as a luxury paradise. It's a simple but created private beach area managed by locals under contract of Royal Caribbean, meaning income lost for many if RC stops their service to this beach area. Since many locals people are employed there I support Royal Caribbean to help in this way, though providing food and other aid is definately the minimum that RC could offer in addition.
My family and I are schedule to go on an RC cruise the first week of March. We aren't scheduled to go to RC's private island in Haiti this time but I needed to know from a humanitarian standpoint of RC was still docking other cruises their. I was a bit disappointed to see that they are continuing to do so but when I was told that RC is contributing to the relief efforts I felt a little better. But, if we were scheduled to stop there on another cruise my family and I would not be leaving the ship. I feel guilty enough kicking back in the caribb. while there's death/suffering so close but the vaca. is completely paid for and I'd lose all my money if we didn't go. What am I to do?!! My husband works too darn hard to support our family and he deserves a vacation more than myself or our children. I will continue to keep the Haitian community and those helping out in our prayers.
Response to Susan H. -January 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm :
Wow, close call! You will but you wouldn't! Man, I'm glad your not!
Come on . . . be real. To stop in Haiti is unconscionable but to port a 100 miles away (same distance to earthquake area from Labadee) is O.K. because your 'husband works too darn hard to support [y]our family and he deserves a vacation more than' you or your kids. Please, give me a break. If you really felt that bad you wouldn't go at all and forfeit you hard earned cash. Isn't it the principal that counts – not the cash! You want to justify your 'pleasure cruise' to the same affected area but you wouldn't go to 'that poor place.' Please excuse me but your comments sound a bit hypocritical. You still cruise while humanity next door suffers. Just think-you will be miserable your entire cruise while you eating a 5-course meal and suffering in Jamaica or Grand Cayman, sipping pina coladas, while the world mourns this terrible tragedy...I don't think so. What punish yourself for something you had nothing to do with? Why punish the poor Haitians who can work by depriving them of an honest income instead of making them travel over 100 miles through the misery and mayhem to stand in a UN or US bread line for an MRE (meals ready-to-eat or military rations). C'mon, use your common sense a bit people! Take your cruise (your husband deserve it and so does your family) and enjoy yourselves. Spend some time in solitude and prayer for the people affected, their families in the US, and the first-responders living in almost equally terrible conditions.
The cruise ships pump money into the Haitian economy at just the time they need it most.
I have read some of the most ridiculous comments on this site. People have said that Haitians will lose millions of dollars if the ships don't go there. Give me a break. The cruise lines like RCL will be the losers, not the few people affected by tourism. Haiti is not hugely dependent upon tourism. Rather, it is dependent upon foreign aid.
How about this for an idea. Instead of taking that vacation, ask for a refund from the cruise line and donate the money to MSF, the Red Cross, ASPCA, or any of the other legitimate charities. Do some real good with the money. Spend you vacation at home thinking about how fortunate you are to have a roof over your head and a belly full of food.
Tourism supports jobs. Remember them asking us to visit New Orleans almost right away? If you have been there, you know that the port infrastructure is minimal and could not really help the humanitarian effort much more than it does. What it can do is continue to provide the jobs it does. They are not great, but considering what the normal unemployment rates are, I can only imagine how bad it is now. I applaud them for providing consistency and additional aid when Haiti needs it the most. If you feel guilty about going there on a cruise, consider donating to the Red Cross as well. Just my thoughts, but I am pretty sure they are based on logic :) And if you are going on a cruise, enjoy!
Welly got it right. Cruise ships enrich the coffers of the ports authorities, but the quality level of people cruising has plunged over the decades. I lived for many years in the Virgin Islands, watching the traffic snarl, and the tour operators (of which I was one for a verrrryyy short time) try to keep a few of the bucks from their operations. Local shopkeepers are seeing people walking around with their little boxes of Cheerios taken from the ship to avoid buying lunch.
As to the creation of artifical "islands" and beaches with names on no nautical charts, the local people cannot go there, they cannot partake of the amenities and the few "hairbraiders" have to kick back to de sheep, mon. Bleeech.
It is obvious that most of the posts are from people that have never been on a cruise and specifically have never been to Labadee. First of all, Labadee does not have what one would normally refer to as a port (capable of handling commercial traffic.) Up until about a month ago – it did not have a pier. As a number of people pointed out – there really is not a road that can be used to take goods off-loaded in Labadee around to the other side, which is where the earthquake hit. When we stopped at Labadee our ship off-loaded supplies to be used by earthquake victims and the bulk of the passengers spent the "day" on shore. Many of us purchased items from the Haitians that marketed their souveniers at a "local village". Unlike the other stops, I did not see the type of "enjoyment" exhibited at other stops. Everyone was well aware of what had happened on the other side of the island. The zip line that was commented on – was shut down for safety reasons until it could be checked. Starting the evening before our stop at Labadee the cruise ship started collecting donations from passengers to be used for Haitian Relief. I have no idea how many people donated, but when I stopped by to drop off our donation there were several others doing the same. There was a benefit show put on the following day, with the proceeds being raised to be used for Haitian relief. So, while the rest of the world may have been responding to giving to Haitian relief, many of the passengers had already stepped up to the plate. I just hope that all of those commenting have put their money where their mouth is and has made a donation. RCCL has in my view handled the stop at Labadee in a responsible fashion including the corporate donation of $1 million dollars.
Those of us who live in Southeast Florida (which is to say, the so-called "greater-Miami" area) have always known of the predatory nature of the cruise lines that are a staple, an economic spigot, and (collectively) a political powerhouse (local politicians, among the most twisted and grabby bunch in the country, fawn over the boat-owners and -operators like knaves to a lord). Example: more than 90% of the crew on the larger lines and boats are from third-world companies; are paid virtually nothing; and are not even allowed to disembark in Miami (their passports are literally held under lock and key on board their boats). But this, the idea of cruising to Haiti as though nothing had happened there, and then having the hubris to try to pass it off as a "benefit" to Haitians, is so thoroughly disgusting it's almost (but not quite) hard to believe. Cruise companies: you suck!
Compurgator – possibly living in South Florida you are ready to give up the benefits of having a healthy cruise industry operating there. For instance, you may not be able to fill sub-standard hotel rooms that charge $250+ up for all of those passengers needing to over night before catching their cruise? Possibly you are ready to cough up the extra taxes you'd be missing out on with the cruise industry going elsewhere? Regarding cruise members leaving the ship, if they aren't disembarking it's because they have a job to do. Those who are taking their "leave" can do so. Regarding the cruise to Haiti and the benefits of doing so, since you won't believe the Haitians and the many others that have weighed in on the subject, some of whom are actually qualified to speak on the subject – so fine – you vote no – so don't take a cruise that will stop in Labadee.
How can I relax on a beach when just over the fortified walls people are dying and suffering? Today it is Haiti, tomorrow it could be California or New York...You!!
Cruise lines are only interested in their ROI. Visiting Haiti at this time will not bring any significant benefits to ease the suffering and dying affecting those in Haiti.
With the cruise lines having their gated and barricaded beach front properties, the revenues from cruises trickle into Haiti, as the visitors only spend the day basking on the the beach. They seldom venture beyond the gates – not that one can blame them – to see the town and the country side. Therefore they spend very little money with the itinerant vendors who have hungry dependents to feed.
What the cruise lines need to do for Haiti at this time is to provide hospital beds and much needed medicines. When the "dust settles" they need to reinvest in its people through the provision of housing, education and infrastructure.
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before and one of the ports on two of the cruises was in Labadee. I'll be going on another cruise in October 2010 and Labadee is one of the ports that we will visit. The earthquake has given me a different perspective and I look forward to the stop as I plan on making a lot of purchases to help those individuals who make their living by selling items. I'm pleased to hear about the donations that Royal Caribbean has donated to Haiti, both monetary and food, as well as the assistance that they're giving to their 200 Haitian employees. Yes, cruises should continue...we want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
We arrive there with RCI next week...
Our cruise has been booked for months as it was a prize won at a conference...
Never been on a cruise before & have very mixed feelings about cruises, but who would turn down this opportunity for a new experience...
We've already donated to a number of Haitian relief efforts...and anticipate giving even more especially once we actually go there...
The struggles in Haiti have been an issue for a very long time so it will be interesting to see what good may come from the bad. But how long will their plight remain on the world's radar of concern...long enough to make some meaningful recovery & progress?
We would love to be part of volunteer aid crew that could provide assistance in some small way for the few hours we are there...we'll have to see what opportunities there may be...one of our only options may be to spend some of our discretionary travel money...chances are we'll be more inclined to spend it there than in another port on the same trip...
Reality is we can not stop the people from dying & suffering in our backyard...nor do we have the capacity to help every person in need around the world, however, we do welcome the opportunity to make a connection, to gain a better understanding of the people in the world around us...and contribute in some meaningful way.
Despite the timing & circumstances of our visit to Haiti, we are very much looking forward to it...and we certainly have learned more about Haiti than what we knew a month ago and wonder what else we might learn, discover & experience while going there...
Folks- I was on that ship, and everyone gave $100 towards relief efforts. That was all 3000 of us. How much did you give? On top of that, I was handing out $20 dollar bills to every Hatian I encountered. There were tears of gratitude from them. Every Hatian was grateful for our presence. Every dollar from our "water activities" and beach excursions went to relief. Royal Caribbean didn't make a cent from our activities, and besides, the ship continuously unloaded pallets of food and water for the victims. Kudos to Royal Caribbean. You should open your wallets as wide...
One last time, just so some of you hear me....
TOURISTS DO NOT BELONG IN THE DISASTER ZONE!!! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU'LL BE DOING OR HOW YOU THINK YOU WILL HELP, BUT YOU'LL CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS THAN YOU SOLVE!
Please, leave the search and rescue and disaster services to those who are TRAINED. Anyway, I have 2 words that will make think about going just so you could do 'something'- THE SMELL. Are you seriously able to deal with it?
Do you understand the tourists are nowhere near the disaster zone, nor do they participate in search and rescue or disaster services?
The most these cruisers can do is help unload supplies from the boat, and tip generously. Did you understand that Labadee is 100 miles from Port Au Prince? That is not US miles where you can hop on the highway, that is single lane dirt roads. The cruisers couldn't even make it there and back from Port Au Prince in the afternoon they're on the island. They have always been restricted to a peninsula far north in Haiti, tourists have never been able to wander the island. That 100 miles is also too far to smell anything from the city. So everyone is happy let's just pretend the ship is actually stopping in the Dominican Republic, just as close to Port Au Prince as Labadee, but nobody would complain.
Oh, I know. I've been toting this banner for a while, saying precisely what you said.
I'm concerned about the number of people on this board (Martin, JJ, Julie, and others) who are saying "I think the cruise passenger should GO to the disaster site and help" or "If they're going to dock, let them go help instead of sipping pina coladas". Laudable emotions, but HIGHLY impractical.
Handsome Elvis, Compurgator, and Trinity, your ignorance is astounding and yet you have the audacity to comment. You clearly have no idea what is actually happening in Haiti as you sit so comfortably in front of your computer.
The cruise lines are donating a lot of money, including all the profits from the activities on the island. They are also unloading pallets full of relief items like water, medical supplies, and food. What have you done? Did you have any idea that the Haitian government was consulted after the quake and they begged the company not to avoid Haiti? No. What about if the cruise line did leave there, would those people who are (as you put it) 'well provided for', still have food and water? Also, Compurgator – did you know it's YOUR Customs and Border Patrol that makes the cruise line hold the passport? Honestly, maybe you guys should get your facts right before you just ASSUME things. It makes you look foolish.
Educate yourself and look on a map of the island. It irks me when people don't even know their geography. Labadee is not in the disaster area- it's one hundred miles away. It was not impacted.
It is uneducated people like you that need help. Get your facts straight.
KMR- please read my other posts before calling me ignorant.....My point was aimed at those who are saying they'd "get off the cruise ship to go help, and that RCCL should organize day trips for their passengers to go help." I"m decrying that very mindset because of the distance, the probelems inherent in such a trip and the STUPIDITY of THOSE people. I work in the Red Cross, and beyond the people here asking to go help, I get calls daily from people begging to go. I KNOW the problems, the issues and the logistics. I've BEEN to Labadee, so I KNOW the where it's located. Look, this is a hot button issue, so I know tempers are running high, but this clearly is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. If you choose to call me 'uneducated' read my other posts first and EDUCATE yourself.
KMR- I just wanted to reprint this for you (to make it easy for you to see where I'm coming from) I posted this on the 20th....5 days ago.
****January 20th, 2010 1210 GMT
Hey Fastrider, John and all the others who worry about the tourists wandering thru the rubble...the people who disembark in Labadee get NOWHERE near the disaster...they are 100 miles away.....there's no 'tourist' trip to see the disaster, there's no 'photos with corpses'. Try using common sense for once.****
Reading through past posts, I generally happen to AGREE with you. I guess we're both 'uneducated'.
Ah sorry Gail, people are being ridiculous, and this has been quite an active posting so hard to keep track of peoples' positions!
There have been a lot of posts bashing people for going to Labadee in the heart of the "disaster area" where people are dying. Many people don't know that that's not the case. Labadee is in tact and is 100 miles away and is participating by receiving aid from ships like RCL's. I guess I am angry at the people trying to make others feel guilty for going there because it will help the economy there- not just RCL. I plan on eating on the island and buying things from locals, along with tipping them very well, donating to food for the poor, etc. I just don't like people assuming that because I am going there I must be a bad person with no social conscience, which is not the case.
I agree completely, KMR, which is why I took great offense at being called uneducated and saying I need help. Enjoy Labadee...it is a great place to relax, and know that you're helping the Haitian economy, no matter what anyone here says.
Lauren- you're exactly right about this being an active board. But I would hope that because this is a CNN board, before mud is slung, the poster takes a moment to make sure they are talking intellegently, and not just out of their (*&*^&
Gail, I apologize, this is your post that I saw and reacted to:
(I also assumed that you thought Labadee was in the disaster zone like other people that have been posting here...)
One last time, just so some of you hear me....
TOURISTS DO NOT BELONG IN THE DISASTER ZONE!!! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU'LL BE DOING OR HOW YOU THINK YOU WILL HELP, BUT YOU'LL CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS THAN YOU SOLVE!
Please, leave the search and rescue and disaster services to those who are TRAINED. Anyway, I have 2 words that will make think about going just so you could do 'something'- THE SMELL. Are you seriously able to deal with it?
Gail and KMR,
I totally agree with you both. I don't believe RCCL or any company would be willing to accept the responsibility, or better yet the liability of sending people on vacation and offering them the opportunity to physically assist in a disaster zone. If an aftershock occured while vacationers were on their "excursion" to help in Port Au Prince, could you imagine the law suits that RCCL would be hit with?
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