Cruises confounded about Haiti – to dock or not to dock?

Cruise ship docking in Labadee, Haiti
Private beaches in Haiti like the one in Labadee, above, have long been a stop for cruise lines like Royal Caribbean. In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, should they stay away?

According to The Guardian, Royal Caribbean “leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to ‘cut loose’ with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk.” A ship like the one above docked in Haiti on Friday, just sixty miles from the earthquake zone. Another is reportedly scheduled to arrive in a few days.

Some passengers are “sickened” by the thought of vacationing on the ravaged island and refuse to leave the ship, despite the fact that the RC is bringing food (to be distributed by Food for the Poor) and donating all proceeds from the visit to Haitian relief efforts.

A statement from John Weis, vice-president of Royal Caribbean says “In the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery; hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood.” … “We also have tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti. Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most.”

Royal Caribbean employs 230 Haitians and has pledged $1 million to help earthquake victims. So. Could you enjoy a luxury picnic an hour away from where 50,000 – 200,000 were recently killed in a natural disaster and thousands remain homeless and starving?

[via The Guardian]