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.)
47 responses to “Royal Caribbean passengers frolic in Haiti as the screams from the rubble continue”
Thank God I read further BFP.
With your biting commentary I thought you were going to suggest that the inebriated pasty pale beached whales should pitch in and help.
Clearly the cruise ships should not be there in such horrific circumstances.
I agree that several cruise ships could instantly be used for help moving water and supplies in but only under the direction of the US military.
There is an amazing amount of material and supplies coming in each day but it will be jammed up at the airport until they have means of getting it out to where it is needed.
Also don’t forget the US has not only the ability to print money but has the best logistics in the world in time of crisis.
The cruise ship industry is suffering in the recession but they should immediately offer transportation and basic survival supplies as well as temporary moving of injured to Puerto Rico for urgent medical attention.
Hi RC, Yup, there’s probably lots that the cruise ship industry could do to help save lives now and we will make the article a little clearer about coordination because of course there would have to be coordination and as you say the Americans are the best.
Think of the whole infrastructure and supply chain that Royal Caribbean has in place in Miami. They could make a far greater contribution than dumping off a few pallets. Think “floating orphanage”, think “floating hotel” for the rescue workers. All sorts of ideas that we don’t have the knowledge to even suggest.
Mr. Goldstein should phone up the US military and offer two ships – all loaded and staffed. We ask Mr. Goldstein “Why Not?”
And I suppose all the people of Barbados should give up going to Fetes, The Movies, eating at Restaurants, etc..hell we should give up Cricket! We should also give up our cellphones…all money thus saved should be sent to Haiti. Be real!
Yes the Cruise Industry should help, and as Obama and everyone seems to agree, money is the best thing right now. From what I have read, they are giving $1 million , and they have not cancelled their Haiti Port of call, which would further damage the fragile(only) Tourism earner left at this point.
I feel they should continue visiting Haiti, thus providing some financial benefit to the country, AND they should give more direct funds to the Organizations who can best provide aid to the people in Haiti.
I have to side with BFP on this one. A few fully stocked cruise ships anchored out of the way offshore could be a critical resource to the rescue effort. They are nothing but selfcontained hotels capable of looking after several thousand people for a couple of weeks. That has to be useful. As bfp says, too bad the CEO of each cruise line didn’t pick up the phone a few hours after the quake and say “what can we do. Here’s two ships.”
Thought provoking story BFP.
However, the USA is in charge and will request assets as needed.
The best ships to have in action at this time are warships which can handle huge amounts of food and equipment and have the capability of landing supplies quickly.
Aircraft carriers are also useful for Helicopters.
Israel has set up a state of the art field hospital and Canada is sending a DART team.
There are teams on the ground from European countries who are expert at search and rescue.
Prehaps we should be thankful for the response by the World. Countries big and small are helping.
It makes your blood boil; the missed opportunity. Did you email your piece direct to the cruise lines?They might need a nudge.
“they have not cancelled their Haiti Port of call, which would further damage the fragile(only) Tourism earner left at this point”
I wasn’t suggesting a complete cessation of cruise ships to Haiti but at the moment it appears somewhat surreal and detached from the immediate crisis on the ground to have a cruise ship.
With a twelve foot fence, I am not certain how much the local economy is really benefitting from these cruise ship stopovers. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge can comment if they are stopped for several months and what real effect this may have from a local perspective?
Read the guy’s blog, you definetely get a different sense of what they are trying to do than from just reading BFP. They are trying to help by bringing things in two to three times a week when they call on the island. They are also contributing money and supplies.
It is too much to expect them to write off an entire cruise ship to be use as a hospital or hotel.
BFP you have become so ridiculously sensationalist that I no longer find you relevant. You have become the online equivalent of Heat!.
i think all bfp staff should sell there computers and get on the next ship to haiti to help.
X says “It is too much to expect them to write off an entire cruise ship to be use as a hospital or hotel.”
X might think differently if he was the father at the Haiti blog with a dying son. X you might as well say that the people of Haiti aren’t worth the cost of the cruise ship. Royal could have done so much more, but like you X, it looks as if they believed it wasn’t worth it to “write off” an entire cruise ship for a month or two.
You are dammed if you do, and dammed if you don`t.
What has big Mouth Hugo Chavez done (not said) to help the Hatian people.?
What has Caricom DONE, besides having a meeting in Jamaica? Words and promises are useless,unless followed by ACTION.
We should let Vic Fernandes run the Caricom effort…look what he did with a simple radio marathon!
Why mot criticize American Airlines, who could have pulled a few planes to airlift aid to Haiti.
The list goes on and on..
my feeling is that BFP is trying to become another National Enquirer.
This conversation is over.
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Not all cruiseship passengers go to Haiti and Labadee just for the rum and prancing like beached whales. I have been to Labadee also and tried to connect with a child I sponsor in Cobocol.
As you can read in the cruise blog it seems vitually impossible to do so..
I have also tried to cross into Haiti from the Dominican Republic but was advised that there was unrest in Haiti and not safe to travel there, at that time.
I think the energy spent on criticism could be used to do something positive.
Once more a somewhat illogical article that aims for sensationalism and web hits.
Granted that Royal Caribbean Lines have the resources that they could afford to do what you suggest but does it really make sense at this stage? Are the logistics for the transportation chain worked out yet? Might it not have been better for them to work along with the US military, if they need such assistance, to provide an extra ship that could be used for a month or two as a hospital ship or in several other ways to alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people rather than follow the scenario you suggest?
Might it not be more advantageous to Haiti for the Company to use a substantial portion of the profits from the Haiti leg of the trip (and I think that Haiti would be a big drawing card for several potential cruise ship patrons at this time of relative hardship for the cruise business) to provide a really meaningful relief fund?
Why not write a similar hit piece on the big US Banks that are doing very well now and could afford to do a lot more on Haiti relief? What about Digicel, Are they doing enough in Haiti? Why not write about them?
Why not write about the relatively small amounts that the French Government and yes, the US government too, have committed, given their role in ensuring the continuing poverty of Haiti over the years and centuries. Yes they are doing some good work, but they could do more.
Why not look into why the US appears to be limiting the inputs of some countries, including Venezuela, Cuba and Caricom, into the relief effort through their control of air traffic into Port au Prince?
Why not look into how neighboring countries with adequate resources could help in terms of allowing needy Haitians into their countries. I am thinking primarily of the DR, Puerto Rico and the US?
Its early days yet in this crisis and I think your article’s focus on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s scheduled visits to Haiti is a bit unfair.
And before you attack me, let me tell you that I am a retired Public Servant who has never been on a Cruise and is in no way associated with the Royal Caribbean Cruises.
“Could have, would have, should have” people will second guess everything for the next 50 years when this is studied, but that doesn’t mean that criticism at this stage is uncalled for. France is taking the USA to task because a medical airplane was turned away for 24 hours. Other NGOs with single airplanes are being turned away. CARICOM’s airplane with politicians and planners was turned away. We don’t know what the story is but I read one account that said some of the turned away planes arrived without notice.
News says there is a bottleneck at the airport. Food, water and medicine at the airport but none getting through. NGOs blaming the USA for being too cautious and not distributing enough aid soon enough. No matter what the USA and France do it cannot be enough and people will die. As bfp said in the other article, consider what it takes to get every Haitian only 1 glass of water and 1 survival cookie every day. The world couldn’t do that before the earthquake, why do we think it can do it now?
The death toll to tonight is being announce at 200,000 plus and rising every hour. In that context The Guardian article and BFP juxtaposed the images of the cruise ship vacationers at the beach and the dead and dying. People don’t like that. I don’t like those pictures and I don’t like tourists playing at the beach with people screaming from the collapsed buildings and they are still doing that.
BFP pointed out the massive logistics infrastructure that the cruiseship industry has in Miami that is designed to turn around 3000 passenger ships in as little as 24 hours. People don’t like being reminded of that.
I agree with BFP that the cruiseships are floating hotels with everything on board ready to look after thousands of people. I agree with BFP that the cruiseship industry not only Royal Caribbean could have declared an emergency and used their full capabilities to save lives. The industry chose not to. 40 or 80 pallets a ship is nothing compared to what the cruise industry could have done out of Miami in the first week if it wanted to and mobilized.
BFP’s image of coins tossed to islanders is not an unfair account of comparing what the cruiseship industry did to what their capabilities are.
“BFP’s image of coins tossed to islanders is not an unfair account of comparing what the cruiseship industry did to what their capabilities are.”
True. Well said Chicago.
I agree, ….
….. it is not right for fun and frolic to be going on in a country/region so horribly affected by this disaster.
Rather spend the resources giving a meaningful hand …….
…. or time looking for solutions that can work for the longterm good of a hopelessly lost Nation.
The logic extends to airlines too which utilise major resources to ply their trade to the region.
What’s BA, Virgin, AA, Air France etc. etc. doing?
Who is thinking through the restoration of essential services, power and water to the city so the survivors can try to return to a normal life?
How many of the people who would do this function are dead?
What are the manpower needs for Haiti in the immediate short term, medium term and long term?
How can the utility companies in the region/world help?
If they can who manages their deployment?
How much of the city is destroyed?
Does it make sense to rebuild Port au Prince on the same fault that has already severely damaged it already?
Who makes these decisions?
How many ot the Government ministers are alive?
Does Haiti have a Government?
Good points . . . Great article . . .
You need to join Twitter and get your message out on the story of Labadee.
Here’s my take:
Royal Caribbean Returns to Trademarked Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® – While Haiti Suffers
Here is what the electricity sector looks like according to wikipedia
Some hydro electric and geothermal ……. hopefully undamaged.
Looks like much of Port au Prince doesn’t get electricity.
….. and some thoughts on the scope of the problems facing Haiti …..
….. and whoever decides to lend a hand.
Water is the key, short term and long term.
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Carnival Corporation & plc and its Cruise Brands to Donate $5 Million Toward Haiti Relief Efforts
Royal Caribbean only gave 1million.
Water is the key. Cruise ships make their own water. I haven’t done any research but I wonder how much water they carry and how much they can make on a week’s journey?
Humanitarian aid is voluntary. Instead of pointing the finger at a business, why not to volunteer and go work in haiti yourself. It is not an obligation for anyone to help nor is it to be criticised when they do help. Good grief, RCI is not a country, it is a business and just because they lease Labadee does not mean they are under a financial obligation to use their ships as transport vehicles, etc.
Water is vital, but also bulky and heavy.
Support the charities sending in the $10 purification bottles.
This amazing long-life invention van be viewed here.
Yes Lorri, you are correct. RCI is under no obligation to help anyone. Why, they give 300 minimum wage jobs to Haiti out of their 6 billion dollar gross income.
So yes, we agree that RCI is under no obligation to help the slaves that feed their corporate machine.
We also agree that they are not giving any help worth talking about.
Same old, same old ’bout hey Massa!
I agree every business throughout the world should follow your sage advice. And people — atleast people from nearby south Florida — should tell employers they’ll be gone awhile and line up to get on a cruise ship to go volunteer in Haiti a few weeks.
If everyone does their part as you see it, we can have two Americans there for every Haitian in just a few days.
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BFP Haiti is getting the specialist help they need from the USA,Canada,Israel,some European countries and the rest of the world.
I have seen realtime video of the rescue efforts.
The primary response must be search, rescue and preservation of life and that is what is happening as we speak.
Prehaps the Cruise ships will be more useful a week or two from now when the search and rescue phase ends and the rebuilding begins.
Haiti will need a continuous supply of water and food which is the best help Cruise ships can give.
Moderating me BFP. uh mussee write someting de automatic moderator catch.
BFP george say: Freed you hants. dont know why it did it. stupid PC.
Pingback: Idea: Volunteer excursions in Haiti. « MeetOnCruise
Regardless of whether it was the right thing to do, the cruiselines can and should do much more.
One simple idea is to organize volunteer excursions in Haiti. Passengers can spend the day volunteering their time rebuilding Haiti. Win win win for Haiti, cruiselines and the passengers. What do you think?
More on our blog – http://meetoncruise.com/blog/?p=32
royal caribbean donated a mil and also palets of supplies, that means average joe’s 100 dollar contribution should be criticized right?
you should be able to donate what you want.
1 million dollars is hardly chump change, regardless of what the total revenue of the company is.
what if they donated nothing?
All cruises to the Caribbean should be cancelled and all tourists to the Caribbean should stay home. Why spend money on tourism when people are suffering in the Caribbean.
Didn’t Barbados just have a big jazz festival on the island? Why wasn’t that cancelled and the funds funneled towards the relief efforts?
Your beef may be with the cruise lines but the tone of your article is critical of the tourists themselves … are they really all pale, beached whales? Why do you court them for Barbados if you dislike them. Oh yes – you like their money. You need to decide if you love tourists or hate them. You want it both ways.
I agree the picnic on Haiti was very insensitive. But the tone of your articel was extremely insulting. It sounds like many passengers did not even want to get off the boat. Don’t forget the crusie would have been in progress before the earthquake hit.
I don’t which is more tragic – the earthquake or the nasty sentiments being expressed here. All I see on television is white people helping black people, white doctors trying to save black people, white people contributing millions of dollars to help black people, black orphans going off to the U.S. and Canada to be cared by white people. And what about the Haitians telling white people to get out? I am waiting for the theories that the earthquake was created by white people.
it is controversial but you know, we all try to have fun most days that we can, go to the movies, buy a nice electronic gadget -maybe a couple, go to an expensive restaurant, etc but you know, sad truth is there is tragedy every day somewhere in the world. people are starving to death, children live on the streets, get abused and suffer and guess what we still go to the movies! per you logic, you should devote your whole life to help people suffering and as long as there is suffering you shouldn’t really do anything else but to commit yourself to end the suffering in the world.
bfp said overweight whale. Reality Check said “pale beached” whale and it went racial from there in some of the comments.
And please, pray tell, what the BFP has contributed to Haiti. The Haitian government and the UN have asked that the cruise ship visits continue, they bring employment and income to many Haitians and their families. The docking fees that RCCL pay to the Haitian government can help the relief and rebuilding efforts. RCCL is shipping in upto 100 pallets per ships visit, that is being transported by RCCL and their Haitian contacts to Cap Hatian, a small village over the mountain from Labadee, that is being used as a refuge camp for people from PAP. All monies earned from ship visits to Labadee are being donated to the relief fund. Perhaps RCCL and all other cruiselines should stop their cruises to Bermuda, so that the overweight whales cannot enjoy themselves on the Bermudian Beaches.
Come on BFP stop being so anti american and put your money where your mouth is, get to Haiti and help in the releif efforts.
This is the most ignorant piece of writing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know where to begin. Let me just ask this…
If the cruise industry were to do everything you suggested, who would you have take care of the next disaster? Because there would be no more cruise industry left after all of that nonsense.
Some people’s perception of large companies is nowhere near reality. And some of those people write for blogs.
Have you or your company helped Haiti 1% as much as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line? One tenth of 1%? Or is your contribution limited to attempting to bully others into helping? Because to an injured and starving Haitian, that’s the same as not helping at all.
I compelled to share some licks. I havn’t heard this level of sentimental liberal drool in a while. $1 million dollars isn’t enough ? 60 to 100 pallets of food is insufficient? That’s just idiotic BFP. Where do you think the passengers who had to receive less than the level of luxury they paid for will cruise next time?
Royal Caribbean is a business. They must operate as such. To suggest that persons should stop a honeymoon, an anniversary or other special celebration is just ridiculous. Tragedies happen everyday, Can we just stop living?
I am sure you can have donations collected from those who cruise to Labadie. To castigate Royal Caribbean and to shameless plug the views of someone who battles the cruise ship industry for a living and as a litigant lawyer in the American system stands to benefit tremendously from painting Royal Caribbean as insensitive and greedy is just foolish.
On another note I will applaud the lawyer for his $25,000 donation. Even if he makes a million or two a year i don’t care. He did his part. He gave what he thought he could safely afford. I don’t know how his cloth is cut. BFP you need to stop trying to cut Royal Caribbean’s cloth for them.
You should ask how much Lime gave the EC islands that they were raping long before cruise ships started coming here. In business when you have an ample supply, price is cheap. There are simply too many places in this area where cruise ships can dock so we fight each other to attract them. The solution is for us governments to invest heavily so that we can exert some influence on operations of cruise tourism but alas that ship may have passed while we frittered away money on a regional carriers.
Royal Caribbean has been at Laballee for 30 years. The village just outside the wall has no water or sewers. No school. No medical clinic. ‘nuf said.
“I used to be mad about the cruise line trying to mask the identity of Haiti,” says Jean Cyril Pressoir, author of the “Guides Panorama, Haiti” tour books. “But now, I understand: We have an image problem and this is a way to get people to give the country a chance. Fair enough. We really need the tourists.”
Since 1986, the Royal Caribbean line has provided the largest source of tourism revenue to Haiti. The cruise company pays the Haitian government $6 per passenger and employs about 300 locals, including security guards, beach monitors, waiters, cleaners, as well as some managers. Approximately 200 more locals find work here selling their wares, often at inflated prices, at the market stalls, or by providing entertainment.
I have to tell you, I agree with just about everything that has been said here. I booked a cruise on the Navigator of the Seas months ago and am scheduled to sail on the 30th of January. I, along with my family, have expressed disgust with Royal Caribbean for not changing the Labadee portion of the cruise. They sent us all the same form letter about how much their cruises help the Haitian people. But I can’t feel anything but disgusted that a ship full of people will be drinking mojitos and enjoying themselves in close proximity to such unbelievable suffering. If given the opportunity I’d be happy to sacrifice a few days of my so called vacation to do anything to help. Sure, it may be a token offering and only succeed in making me feel better about myself, but the only thing more shameful would be to do nothing. I offered similar opinions on Cruise Critic’s Facebook site and was insulted and abused by people I have to believe work in the cruise industry. See for yourselves. Opinions like those offered here are dismissed as “heartless” or “ignorant”. I hope RC does have some program in place where the willing among the passangers can do something to make a difference. Otherwise the only swimming I’ll be doing is in a pool of guilt.
You know what the really sad part is, you ignorant bleeding heart types stating that RCI should not go to Haiti and then in the next breath talk about how you changed your cruise to some other place in protest. If you really feel that bad, then why don’t you take your damn money and time, and fly to Haiti to help instead of bitching and then going on some other cruise.
As always hypocrisy is well and alive…….
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The cruise ship mentality is one of excess: bigger and bigger ships, unlimited eating, etc. Is it any wonder why these people think it’s a good idea to dock in Haiti and sun themselves at a private resort while chaos is occurring there. They feel that they are “helping” the Haitian people by paying them to service their sense of “entitlements” while visiting the island. “Hey…I know you guys are suffering and stuff, but here’s $5…..could you bring me a beer?”