Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Efforts of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in Haiti

Many of my followers may be aware that, prior to the loss of my job of 21 years as a forensic nurse with the city and county of San Francisco, cruising was one of my favorite pastimes.  In fact, it was a way I was able to unwind from the stress of working in the field of interpersonal violence.  As soon as I walked up the gangway of a ship, my cares and worries seemed to evaporate,  I loved being completely pampered by the wonderful crew on board and, sitting for hours, mesmerized by the ocean, was just wonderful.  In the past fifteen years, since I discovered Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, I rarely sailed with any other company.  With my birthday trip this past October, I was up to 77 cruises with this company.  I had not, however, sailed into Labadee, Haiti.

Labadee is situated on Haiti's northern coast and is a port visited by several of Royal Caribbean's megaships, including the newest, Oasis of the Seas.  Royal Caribbean developed the port for use as a tourist spot with water sports, beaches and a native crafts market . It is completely isolated from the rest of the island,  by mountains and passengers are not allowed to leave the area which is guarded by private security.  To accomodate the new Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean spent more than $50 million. 

For almost twenty-five years now, Royal Caribbean has provided the largest amount of tourist revenue to the island of Haiti.  For every ship that ports there, the Haitian government receives $6 per person.   Royal Caribbean also employs three hundred Haitians at its Labadee site and has two hundred local artisans who sell their wares at the Labadee crafts market.

When the earthquake hit Haiti, Royal Caribbean was immediately in touch with the authorities to offer aid and to make decisions as to whether to resume cruise service to Labadee.  For details of Royal Caribbean's contributions in that area, see Humanitarian Relief in Haiti

Immediately, food, water, and medical supplies were transported in the holds of Royal Caribbean ships - over 120 pallets to date.  Beach chairs were given to be used as makeshift
hospital beds.  According to Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, the company also fund agencies who specialize in emergency assistance such as Food For the Poor, the Pan American Development Foundation and their own Solano Foundation. 

Mr. Fain thought about whether having the ships return to Haiti would be insensitive but, after being asked by the government not to stay away, their cruise schedule was reinstated.  It was felt that bypassing Haiti would do more financial harm to a country already deprived of most of their essential income.  Passengers were informed that all revenue from Royal Caribbean sales on Labadee ( drinks, water sports, etc ) would go to earthquake relief and some activities on board the ships are geared toward projects for children on the island.  Donations for Haitian earthquake relief can even be added to passenger ship's charges.

I appreciate that Royal Caribbean, a company that has been a huge presence in Haiti, has done so much to help in the relief effort.  It is as it should be.


  1. Too much is not enough to help people from Haití.

    Pray for them



  2. Difficult one, but I think the CEO has made the right decision. Thank God for caring individuals who put humanitarian aid above profits and step in when Governments fail.

  3. I'm glad there are companies like this that can help. This is one company that can most likely do very many different things at once.

  4. Anonymous3:59 AM

    Wow..Carmen, this is a great information to know, especially for people with travel plan..Royal Caribbean did a fantastic job!

  5. We had similar issue with our local bush fires last year (the worst fires in our history). Some towns people wanted tourists and others didn't and some locals were very hostile. We were abused while just for passing though a town. I and a few friends were ask to photograph some damaged properties for the owners. We had permission from the properties owners to do this but other locals were very angry due to the amount of general public traveling to the area with their camera when whole towns had been demolished by fire.

    What a lovely gesture by Royal Caribbean to donate all that they have, it shows a real appreciation to the country of Hatti and it's people.

  6. Sounds like a great line to travel on!hughugs

  7. I tip my hat to Royal Caribbean. I wish I'd had your cruise history! We all envy you. I bet you know just which one to take for what occasion. I need to talk to you about that one of these days.

    And I know how important it was for you to escape your work pressures. How you did it for so long is boggling the mind!

  8. Oh that is wonderful. you are lucky to have been on 77 cruises, I hope to one day just take one. That is on my bucket list. Take care.

  9. Good to know that haiti has not been forgotten by the Royal Caribbean company. They need the tourist money more than ever.

    Nuts in May

  10. I read or heard somewhere that one of the devestating things after the Tsunami was the stopping of tourism that hurt their economy almost as much as the damage of the disaster. I'm SO glad to hear that this cruise line is still bringing their services to Haiti. Capitalism saves lives! =)

  11. Oh those poor poor people....I pray for them all the time. I think you have chosen a wonderful cruise line Carment and enjoy all the pictures you show us of your travels.
    ........:-) Hugs

  12. That's so human so altruist. God bless the so many good people of this world!

  13. Irredento Urbanita - Valery, I agree, the poor people of Haiti need so much more than we can ever give. We have to continue our efforts.

    Retiredandcrazy - I think that Royal Caribbean made the right decision. The country needs the money that this cruise line infuses into its economy by the hundreds of thousands.

    Ratty - I was so unaware of all they are doing. The CEO met with officials this past October because they have plans to help build a school in Haiti. This, of course, was long before the earthquake.

    Icy BC - I have only sailed on a couple of other cruise lines but this is my favorite so far and I stick with them.

    Liss - of course, Royal Caribbean benefits from their use of Labadee as a port but they give back in good measure to Haiti - when I learned that they made the biggest contribution to the Haitian economy, I was really surprised. If my calculations are correct, Haiti gets over $3 million a year in port charges per passenger from Royal Caribbean!

  14. Donna - I have no hesitation in recommending the company as a cruise line.

    lakeviewer - I've been all over the world on Royal Caribbean ships and I do like the company. I prefer their Radiance class ships to the big megasize ones = they are so pretty, all glass so you can see much more of the ocean.

    cinner - I think cruising is a wonderful vacation experience! When you're ready, just email and I can give you some suggestions!

    Maggie May - I am glad to know that Royal Caribbean responded immediately and so generously. It would have been hard for me to stop cruising with them after 77 cruises and with so many crew friends now but I would have had to consider it.

    CastoCreations - you're right, loss of tourism to the tsunami region was horrible and really impacted the areas devastated. Even New Orleans suffered greatly ( and still does ) since Katrina. Haiti was so poor to begin with. they desperately need to continue with the support of Royal Caribbean.

    Bernie, I really applaud Royal Caribbean and am proud of them for their support of Haiti!

  15. Dulce - I appreciate that the cruise line which is my favorite supports the people of Haiti!

  16. what at a great story .....

    checking in to see how you are....more rain.....

    hope this finds you, well Carmen....
    i enjoyed the post....you are such a kind, dear caring person...so glad we are blog buddies...

    more later, friend,

  17. Carmen, I'm glad your mind was set at ease about Royal Caribbean.
    Love, Chris

  18. What a beautiful post, totally enjoyed reading it.

  19. Impressive. I love when companies do good.

  20. It is good to know that Royal Caribbean is such a dependable and recommended cruise line, and it is very commendable that they are continuing to help the Haitian economy.
    When I see how successful the Dominican Republic has been with attracting tourism my hope is that Haiti will someday be able to do the same, which will help their economy and bring jobs to the poeple,

  21. Fully agree with you Carmen!