Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruise Ship Arrives at Haitian Private Resort Labadee a week after Earthquake

Yesterday I came upon an article in the Guardian entitled “Cruise ships still find a Haitian berth” which describes the 4,370 passenger ship Independence of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean International, docking at the private resort of Labadee in Haiti. Labadee is approximately 60 miles from the devastated city of Port-au-Prince.

Royal Caribbean International plans to provide $1 million towards the humanitarian relief efforts in Port-au-Prince. Part of Royal Caribbean International’s statement on the situation in Haiti states the following “in addition to continuing our visitation to Haiti, and the revenue it brings to the country, 100% of the company’s net revenue from the destination will be contributed to the relief effort. Guests will also have the ability to make donations to the Food for the Poor’s Haiti Relief Fund through their onboard accounts fleetwide.

You can link to the Guardian article here and you can link to the Royal Caribbean International webpage describing their efforts in support of Haiti here.

I’m curious what IHEC Blog readers think about this?

Photo credit (top photo): LWY

Photo credit (middle photo): United Nations Development Programme

Photo credit (bottom photo): Nick Hobgood


  1. This feels a bit creepy to me. Its great that they'll give the money, but I have a hard time imagining the passengers engaging in a respectful and helpful way in a country that has just experienced such a devastating tragedy. Smacks of tourism of the worst kind.
    David Shallenberger

  2. I rewrote my entire blog post on this to try and stay more neutral. Further research I discovered that RCL pays the Haitian government $6 USD per vacationer. Also, I found a promotional brocure that actually highlighted an "authentic" Haitian flea market on property.

  3. I'd like to express a slightly different view-I feel that some of the cruise ship ports are definitely staged and send a wrong message to their guests- and that there is room for sustainability and cultural sensitivity issues to be discussed and highlighted in more in-depth ways by the companies.... but that said I think it would be worse to deprive the country of the important revenue that cruise passengers bring especially at this very difficult time. I do think that on-board education about the port and the situation, and opportunities to help should be a prerequisite to disembarkation in most situations, but especially this one- but to stop going would add to the destruction that Haiti has already experienced. Tourism continues to be a major legitimate means for many people to make a living, and stopping the flow would mean they might not have the means to help their friends and relatives who have been harmed by the earthquake- or other situations. Opportunities to make legitimate money are too scarce in many developing locations, and Haiti is likely one of them. As long as the presence of the cruisers doesn't harm Haitians, I think it is appropriate to figure out a way to continue and to use the opportunity to educate the passengers. Martha Denney

  4. @Martha ~ Many thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoy having different perspectives and discussion on IHEC Blog and in our field. Thanks again for your comment. Very much appreciated! David