Caribbean Cruise Ship Fleet could save Haitian lives or entertain tourists out of Miami. What did they choose? You guessed it!
Labadee Beach, Haiti
Passengers from the Royal Caribbean cruise ships Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas continue to enjoy themselves at the “five pristine beaches” leased from the Haitian government.
No need to worry about the tourists being bothered by those pesky injured and starving Haitians because the Royal Caribbean beaches are surrounded by 12 foot high fences and armed guards.
And the screams from the rubble? No problem there either: the happy tink of steel pan covers any moans or pleas to “help my son who has to have is leg amputated“. I guess the fences are far enough from the beaches that the overweight retired whales sunning themselves and downing rum drinks with little bamboo umbrellas won’t see the barbed wire and shotgun toting guards.
You can read the Guardian article yourself and see where Royal Caribbean is saying that 40 pallets of food were dropped off (or maybe “are going to be”) – but many are sickened at the decision by Royal Caribbean to continue with business as usual.
Oh sure, Royal Caribbean did the big press release saying they are going to donate US$1 million and each ship that visits Haiti will drop off a few pallets of beans and rice – a few deck chairs. Whatever they can spare without disrupting the party too much. Considering what they could do, the size of the company and the resources at their disposal it’s much like tossing some coins over the side to watch the happy darkies dive and surface with de big smile for to get de shiny coin.
You think that’s too harsh? Do a little online research about the capabilities of Royal Caribbean and then apply it to the entire industry.
Coins over the side for the happy darkies.
Caribbean Cruise Industry fails to answer the call of humanity
There are only two entities that had the ability to deliver major quantities of food, water, medical supplies and shelter to the Haitian people during the first week of the disaster: The United States military and the Caribbean Cruise Ship industry.
President Obama waved his hand and the might of the United States headed for Haiti. American Special forces teams secured the airport within hours of the earthquake and the airplanes started to arrive shortly thereafter. The US Navy and their helicopters started to arrive before sun-up the next day and a carrier group arrived on day 2.
Say what you will about history, the past US abuses in Haiti, and the concerns of the pundits (but not those trapped in the wreckage) that the US has just invaded again: the bloody Yanks are coming through in Haiti like nobody else can. Donating money is all well and fine, but thousands more will be dead before the money can do any good at all. Those people need supplies and feet on the ground now and the USA has come through in a big way.
Yes, other organisations are loading airplanes and sending them too. The Canadians are on the ground and more are going to arrive tomorrow. The Jamaican military are there or soon will be.
Now consider the cruise ship industry.
The Port of Miami is the world’s largest cruise ship port and it is not unusual to see seven to ten cruises departing in a single day. Royal Caribbean alone operates six super liners from Miami that I can find and they have the infrastructure and personnel in place to stock these ships with military efficiency. (Royal Caribbean operates 42 ships total and owns 25% of the worldwide cruise ship travel market. They are huge.)
Now think about this: On January 22, 2010, the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas will depart Miami and again head to Labadee Haiti for fun on the beach.
Will God damn Royal Caribbean & the cruise ship industry?
Here’s what should be done:
The CEO of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein, should order that the January 22 cruise is canceled. Refund the 2,500 passengers or send them to Orlando Disney World or anywhere.
Royal Caribbean should coordinate with the US military who seem to be in charge. Load the Jewel of the Seas with everything it can carry. Ask for medical volunteers from Miami. You’ll get lots. Take the ship full of food, water and medical supplies to the people of Haiti. Anchor it offshore and do what you can for a few days then head back for more, or perhaps fill it full of children and feed and care for them. Think “floating orphanage” or “floating hotel” for the rescue workers.
Anything but depositing more tourists on the beach. Anything but continuing to cruise the Caribbean and Panama Canal with tourists instead of devoting the entire might of the largest cruise ship company in the Caribbean to saving lives now.
Will God damn Royal Caribbean and the rest of the cruise ship industry? I don’t know, but I do. No no doubt the people on the other side of the barbed wire and shotguns at Labadee will too.
Personal Blog of Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein (Hmmm…. no comments on the guest post yet. Maybe the people of the Caribbean can say a few words to Mr. Goldstein and John Weis, Associate Vice President, Private Destinations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.)