Posted by: Jerry Garrett | January 17, 2010

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships Still to Dock in Haiti

Oasis of the Seas, shown here entering Labadee harbor last month, won't participate in Haitian relief effort. The world's largest cruise ship's itinerary was changed to bypass Haiti until May 2010.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ships will continue to visit RCCL’s private resort at Labadee, Haiti, despite the devastation to the country during the recent earthquake.

Although the sight of luxurious ocean liners and their well-heeled guests continuing to party at Labadee in the wake of the country’s ruin may be disconcerting to some, RCCL responds it is using its ships to bring relief supplies to the country. Exactly how much in the way of supplies the ships can load, besides their usual complement of passengers and crew and all their supplies isn’t clear.

But an RCCL spokesman said Saturday the relief supplies will include water, powdered milk, dried beans, rice and canned goods.

The beach at Labadee, Haiti, in more peaceful times

RCCL’s Independence of the Seas was the first of its ships to dock at Labadee, stopping there Friday, with supplies brought from its previous port of call, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In the next two weeks, the following ships are scheduled to call on Labadee with additional supplies: Navigator of the Seas on Monday, January 18; Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday, January 19; and Celebrity Solstice on Friday, January 22.

Oasis of the Seas, the line’s flagship and the world’s largest cruise ship, did not participatie in the relief effort. Plans for Oasis, which was launched just six weeks earlier, to call at Labadee were postponed until May (for the latest on Oasis of the Seas’ itineraries, check this post). A special berth had been built at Labadee, just to accommodate the vessel; it is so big it can’t dock at regular-sized cruise ship ports.

RCCL said its Labadee facilities had not been damaged in the quake.

When other RCCL ships arrive in Labadee with relief supplies, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a press release said.

RCCL also announced plans to provide “at least $1 million in humanitarian relief” to the island.

“The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery,” said Richard D. Fain, RCCL’s chairman and CEO. “In addition to our financial contribution, Royal Caribbean will continue to provide economic support through the continuous business we bring to Labadee.”

The private, walled Labadee resort is owned and operated by RCCL, although some local workers have employment at the facilities. It is located near Cap Haitien, about 80 miles north of Port au Prince.

Leslie Voltaire, Special Envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations welcomed the aid, and said RCCL’s pledge to continue serving the Labadee port would provide “positive economic benefits” during the post-quake humanitarian crisis.

To check out the latest views of visitors to Labadee as a vacation destination, check TripAdvisor’s Labadee page. A lively discussion of this topic is also found at USAToday online.

Jerry Garrett

January 16, 2010


Responses

  1. I was happy to see that the cruise lines stepped up to help with the relief efforts!

    • Let’s give the cruise lines credit – all of them, but Royal Caribbean in particular – for being pretty solid citizens in time of need.


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