Luxury holiday cruise ships still dock in northern Haiti? Wow.

I wanted to share this tale of what, at first sight, looks like remarkable bad taste on the part of Royal Caribbean, reported in the UK’s Guardian newspaper – but which, on further reflection, may be the right thing to do.

Sixty miles from Haiti’s devastated earthquake zone, luxury liners dock at private beaches where passengers enjoy jet ski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.

The 4,370-berth Independence of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean International, disembarked at the heavily guarded resort of Labadee on the north coast on Friday; a second cruise ship, the 3,100-passenger Navigator of the Seas is due to dock..

I touched on the curious issue of Labadie – renamed Labadee TM – in this (pre-quake) post about the Haiti few Haitians will ever see.

It’s a difficult one. Even at the best of times, the thought that western tourists are living it up in a walled-off Xanadu while Haitians struggle in abject poverty is uncomfortable – although not unusual in the developing world.

Labadee, in better times

On the other hand, tourism is likely to play a crucial role in Haiti’s long-term future, as a source of investment and income, and right now the island can use every dollar it can get. Only a few weeks ago, the world’s largest cruise ship – Oasis of the Seas – started its maiden voyage there; seen as an important display of confidence in Haiti’s tourism potential, and pointing to a possibly brighter future. Perhaps one should stomach the sickening contrast; it is better the ships dock than abandon one of Haiti’s few viable industries.

Still. Ugh. Right now? The whole affair feels deeply distasteful.

Further reports from Fox News, The Guardian’s comment page, New York Daily News.

PS. I found these youtube videos about Labadee, uploaded by kidkut1 on Jan 14:


6 responses to “Luxury holiday cruise ships still dock in northern Haiti? Wow.

  1. The one thing this article fails to mention is that the cruise ships are dropping off much needed supplies.

  2. Im thinking that as human beings we can easily be so disconnected. Yet Im certain there are people on board who’s holiday is now vastly changed. Nobody plans for an earthquake, even our best efforts would never be enough. What looks like a vacation for some may be altogether a nightmare for others. Two worlds apart colliding. Let’s hope there can be connection….
    BIG CRUISE SHIP HELPS OUT kind of thing….


    why would they dock there why not re-route and detour?

    could they be bringing the aforementioned much needed supplies?

    Hopefully yes.


  3. We had some excellent holidays in Kenya immediately after the riots in 2007/8, drawing scorns from a few – not one of them were staff about to be laid off in the tourist industry. And we got beaches and parks to ourselves. I saw another comment on a news site asking – exactly how far away do you have to be before popping champagne is tasteful again? There is in fact lots of poetry after Auschwitz, so that debate was lost some time ago.

  4. You make it sound like Labadee is right next to the earthquake zone. It’s over 65 miles away. The cruiselines pay Haiti for the use of the island. Do you want them to go away and stop contributing much needed money? Life goes on as best it can, even after a disaster.

  5. The Caribbean region consists of a chain of islands in the Caribbean. Many of these islands are tourist destinations, people around the world visit the Caribbean in the breathtaking scenery and lush beaches to enjoy.

    The Caribbean is an ideal place for family holidays. There are a variety of places and activities the whole family to enjoy together. Among the many destinations are some of the popular Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, etc. The Caribbean islands offer a variety of activities for all ages. The island of St. Lucia is the drive through volcano in the world, which is a miracle of nature. In addition, there is a natural rainforest reserve, which is a big weekend for walkers bird watchers and nature lovers. There are many excursions, tours and programs for tourists wishing to explore the island. Barbados Sports Camp is an added attraction for children, making them enjoy their favorite sports. Most islands offer excellent family accommodation, private homes, apartments or hotels of fiction, including, on budget.

    Many hotels also offer child care, making it easier and safer for families. The Internet is now much easier to book their holidays taken. There are a variety of family packages available that you can choose. A look at the full range of exciting holiday activities available, you can certainly say that a vacation in the Caribbean is ideal for families.

  6. Don’t you think though that this is bringing in much needed, money, supplies and so on? I wouldn’t personally want to visit, although stopping the cruise ships would be wrong I think.

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