Here’s a conundrum. Royal Caribbean has private beaches in Haiti only 60 miles from the devastation. The current plan is to use the ships that are docking there to provide shipments of rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water, canned goods and other supplies. They will also be depositing tourists at beaches the NY Daily News describes as, “leased from the government and protected by 12-foot fences and armed guards.”
From Royal Caribbean’s website:
Leslie Voltaire, Special Envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations said, “Given the terrible economic and social challenges we now face in Haiti, we welcome the continuation of the positive economic benefits that the cruise ship calls to Labadee contribute to our country.”
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
Meanwhile, the Daily News found some cruisers who find it distasteful to be dropped off in Haiti.
“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while (in Port-au-Prince) there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic Internet forum.
“It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving,” said another. “I can’t imagine having to choke down a burger there now.”
So, what’s the right thing to do? Is Royal Caribbean acting appropriately?
Or did this tragedy expose some deeper issues that can’t be ignored?
Humanitarian Relief To Haiti [Royal Caribbean]
CEO’s blog [Nation of Why Not]
Royal Caribbean cruise ships like Independence of the Seas still escorting vacationers to Haiti [Daily News]