While there’s been some criticisim in the news about Royal Caribbean’s decision to continue to call upon Labadee, in Haiti, as a port of call, we applaud their decision. Indeed there seems to be an incongruity with a large cruise ship with vacationing tourists calling on Haiti immediately following such devastation.
However, it’s unfortunate those media talking heads haven’t thought this through, or listened to Royal Caribbean’s explanation. As Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean’s CEO noted: “We feel very strongly as a company that the best thing we can do for our relationship with the Haitian people post-earthquake is to bring the ships and supplies and the economic benefit that a ship call represents to the north coast. Not only for the 500 or so people who work on the site and the vendors, but we know it is an economic engine for a much larger circle of people who cut into the affected area. Our feeling about the ships being in Haiti is that at least this way, a vacation activity can contribute to the relief effort and the recovery. Whereas a vacation experience elsewhere cannot.”
Royal Caribbean has also been bringing in significant supplies to the Haitian people with each visit. In addition, the company is contributing revenues from shoreside activities in Labadee to relief efforts. Following the quake, when the captain onboard first announced the ship was going to make the call at Labadee, it’s been reported he got a standing ovation on the ship. Of course, not everyone who paid for a cruise vacation prior to the disaster might agree that calling on Haiti is what they’re comfortable doing. But of course, this is a major disaster of huge proportions: Do we think of our selfish selves (and one day out of our life calling at Haiti), or the larger picture? It’s already been reported more Americans have lost their lives in Haiti than did so in 9/11.
In my view, Royal Caribbean is acting properly as a responsible citizen. What are your thoughts?