Political protests in Haiti prevent Royal Caribbean guests from going to Labadee


Guests aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas were unable to visit the cruise line's private destination of Labadee today due to political protests in the area.

Video posted to Facebook shows Freedom of the Seas was able to dock at Labadee, but groups of protestors staged a demonstration in small boats.  This caused Freedom of the Seas' captain to decide not to let passengers off the ship.

Video by JC Roy

Cruise Critic member Nado44 estimated there were 10 motorized and colorful island watercraft carrying about 15-20 protesters each. Several non motorized row boaters also joined in.

The protests appear to be a result of protests as a result of local elections.

Royal Caribbean offered this statement regarding the situation in Labadee.

Today, when Freedom of the Seas arrived to Labadee, Haiti, the ship encountered a number of locals in small boats staging a protest.  Although this protest was peaceful in nature, it was clear that if the protest continued, there would be a significant impact on our guests’ ability to enjoy Labadee.

Therefore, Royal Caribbean cancelled Freedom of the Seas’ port call to Labadee.  Instead, the ship will remain at sea and call to Falmouth, Jamaica, tomorrow, as planned.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and are in close communication with local and government officials in Haiti. At this time, we have not made any decisions regarding future port calls to Labadee.  The next schedule call is Navigator of the Seas, on Thursday, January 21.


Haiti raises fee to Royal Caribbean passengers by $2


The Haitain government announced it has reached a deal with Royal Caribbean to raise the fee the cruise line pays the country for each cruise passenger that visits Labadee by $2.  The additional revenue will fund social projects benefiting the local community.

Royal Caribbean operates a private resort on the peninsula that its cruise ships visit.

Haiti's Prime minister, Laurent Lamothe met with Royal Caribbean's COO, Adam Goldstein, and negotiated the new fee that will pay $12 US per visitor instead of the $10 US paid so far. The agreement will begin starting on March 15, 2015.

About 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Labadie site in 2013.

The Haitian Prime minister said he urged Royal Caribbean to also invite cruise passengers to visit a number of touristic sites in surrounding areas, such as the Sans Souci Palace, at Milot, and the Citadelle, a UNESCO world heritage Fortress built nearly two centuries ago, near Cap-Haitien.

Haitian authorities also announced a series of measures to increase security and set up or repair basic infrastructure in targeted areas to facilitate the excursion which will be offered to visitors.

Hat tip to Cruise Law News for alerting us to this story.

Royal Caribbean meets with Haitian tourism officials


Royal Caribbean vice president of global tour operations, John Weis, met with Haiti's minister of Tourism and Creative Industries (MTIC) along with other officials from Haiti to inspect the progress the MTIC has made in developing tourism in the country.

Haiti is looking for ways to bring more Royal Caribbean cruise passengers, who are already visiting Labadee, to other tourist stops near by.  This includes the Citadelle Henry and the Palace Sans Souci.

Weis visited the pier located on Acul bay (recently built by MTIC) where Royal Caribbean passengers would stop before getting to the Citadelle.  

Also present for the meeting was Dieudonne Luma, Regional Director North MTIC, Jean Bernard Simonet, CEO of Citadelle Agency and Konrad Shutt, President of the Tourist Association of Northern Haiti (ATH-Nord), went in the North Destination.

Labadee is Royal Caribbean's private resort that the cruise company leases from Haiti.

Royal Caribbean ship helps French Riviera Cruise Club donate to children in Haiti


Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas was the means by which the French Riviera Cruise Club worked with Royal Caribbean to continue delivering huminitarian aid to Haiti for the second year in a row.

Games and toys were collected by the club to be loaded on board Liberty of the Seas, a regular caller at Villefranche-sur-Mer, on Tuesday for shipment to Haiti.

Last year the French Riviera Cruise Club donated books and school materials collected in Villefranche with the help of the municipal council and the Centre de Découverte du Monde Marin. The items were delivered to Haiti just before Christmas.

During this operation, Royal Caribbean took the opportunity to raise awareness among the elementary school children of the importance of respecting the countryside and protecting the environment.

The donation enabled the completion of a library. Extra books were sent to other public schools, and medical aid was provided to the Red Cross.

This year, the school director and some of the teachers requested toys and games for the children, prompting the current donation.

Video of the Day: A look at Royal Caribbean's school in Haiti


Royal Caribbean updates its Haiti partnership


Last month, Royal Caribbean announced it was teaming up with RLJ Companies, Global Building Solutions, LLC and Haiti-based WIN Group to help with the economic reconstruction of Haiti. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein gave an update on this partnership, saying that "Royal Caribbean will continue to take an active role in Haiti’s long-term rebuilding as promised".

The particular focus in the beginning will be to construct two factories that will build a special kind of structural panel that is hurricane and earthquake resistant, yet economical for applications such as our school project, housing development and other commercial applications.

Bob Johnson, the founder of BET, is working with Royal Caribbean to help with these projects and this partnership is part of a greater goal of Royal Caribbean to help the island nation recover from the mega earthquake that struck the region.  

Photo of the Day: Oasis of the Seas in Labadee


Photo by BenjaminCole

Royal Caribbean forms strategic partnership to aid economic development of Haiti


Royal Caribbean has partnered with RLJ Companies, Global Building Solutions, LLC and Haiti-based WIN Group, to build two structured insulated panel manufacturing facilities that will provide construction materials for building housing and critical infrastructure in and around key business centers in Haiti.  Royal Caribbean, the second largest investor in Haiti, is helping to rebuild a nation devastated by natural disaster.

"While the situation in Haiti is extremely challenging, our team was very encouraged by President Preval's leadership, his commitment to political stability, openness towards the international business community, and desire for further investment," said Johnson. "We had a very constructive visit, and I've no doubt that bringing together international and local businesses with a broad range of expertise will allow this project to help meet the country's crucial housing and infrastructure needs."

Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean hopes that the new plan will further assist in rebuilding Haiti and work in nicely with the initiatives Royal Caribbean has already undertaken to help the area, "Since the devastating earthquake earlier this year, we have been assisting Haiti in its recovery by providing basic life necessities: medical supplies, water, food and education. Royal Caribbean is currently building a model school in Labadee. What better way to help rebuild a country than by contributing to a strong education for its children? We will be acquiring materials from GBS and are using local Haitian labor to build the school. We are pleased to join with The RLJ Companies, GBS, and the WIN Group, in furthering our commitment in Haiti" .

Go cruising and support the people of Haiti


Obviously we all love a good cruise and there's a great reason to book your next cruise to help support he people of Haiti, who were devasted by that mega earthquake earlier this year.  Given that Royal Caribbean stops in Labadee, it makes sense for fans of Royal Caribbean to get together to help out a great cause.  A group called "Cruise 4 Haiti" is organizing a group cruise where a portion of the cost of the cruise will go straight to some really great charities that are assisting the people of Haiti that were affected by the earthquake.

Here's how it works: Book a cabin with the Cruise 4 Haiti group on the Liberty of the Seas departing on 11.14.10 from Miami, Florida.   $75 for each cabin booked will be donated to the the Cruise4Haiti non-profit partners For Haiti with Love and Airline Ambassadors.   You can be a part of a great cause while enjoying another fantastic Royal Caribbean Cruise.
I hope lots of people can support this great cause either by going on the ship or spreading the word about this charity.