Earthquake in Haiti

by 468

We are all extremely saddened to hear of the earthquake-caused destruction in Haiti. While many details are imprecise or unknown at this point, there are unquestionably catastrophic conditions involving many casualties and great loss of property. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Haitian people and the Haitian diaspora.

As one of the leading investors in Haiti through our private destination at Labadee, we have nearly 30 years of involvement in the country and many, many relationships. We will attempt to utilize this blog to convey what we understand is happening and what our involvement will be in the relief effort. In this respect I will be asking our Associate VP, Private Destinations, John Weis, to partner with me in these communications.

Ironically, I am supposed to fly to New York tonight to meet at President Clinton’s offices together with the Prime Minister of Haiti to continue the discussion of how to build Haiti’s economy and promote more foreign investment. Although I guess the meeting is off, no one has said anything yet. Such is the uncertainty in the aftermath of a sudden and major event.

Over to John:

Our prayers are with the Haitian people right now.

As Adam said, our work through the years to develop Labadee has grown into strong ties with government officials, businesses and the people of Haiti.

At this point, no damage has been found after an initial inspection of Labadee. Further inspections are going to be conducted on the attractions and facilities to ensure that everything is safe for our guests.

Simultaneously, we are exploring multiple avenues to help with the humanitarian relief efforts for Haiti. We have reached out to relief organizations and the State of Florida to see how we can lend assistance with our ships scheduled to call at Labadee.

Family and friends of guests currently on a Royal Caribbean International ship schedule to call at Labadee should visit for more information.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Haiti for more information as it becomes available.

Meanwhile, our sympathy goes out to the people of Haiti in the face of this tragic event.

(John Weis, Associate Vice President of Private Destinations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.)

Interested in helping? Royal Caribbean International is working with Food For The Poor and the Pan American Development Foundation. We encourage guests to make monetary donations to either of these organizations which are currently engaged in the relief effort. For even more information on Royal Caribbean’s humanitarian relief to Haiti, click HERE.

  • shari eichler

    Thank you for helping the people of Haiti! I applaud all your efforts!

    I’m sure there are many Crown and Anchor Society members out there that would like to also help. Have you thought about offering an opportunity for members to donate for this cause, and in return receive a “thank you” such as donating $100 and receive $200 off a new cruise or $200 of on-board credit for a previously booked cruise? I’m sure many would donate regardless, if given the means to do so. A “thank you” would just be an added plus.

    Thanks again for all you are doing for the people of Haiti!

  • tom young

    My thoughts and prayers are with those poor beleaguered people as I wonder what could possibly happen to them next. Thanks for the update

  • Barbara

    Such a terrible event for the people of this island. It seems that so many devastating events occur here. Add our prayers to yours. We would like to help, but not sure just where to contribute. We want our donation to go entirely to the Haitian people who need it. We aren’t very trusting of these organizations that “pop up” when disasters strike. Any chance that RCCL will have a place for such donations?

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Barbara. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Kristin

    Prayers are going up for the people of Haiti!

  • Joyce Gilette

    I have been to Labadee many times while cruising on Royal.I love it there.
    I WANT TO HELP. This country is so poor as it is that for this to happen saddens my heart.
    I can collect food, clothing supplies etc, whatever is needed.I am good at getting people to help and this is a good cause. These folks need all the help we can give them.
    I can bring whatever I collect to Bayonne before your sailings to take down to Haiti. PLEASE PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT I CAN DO TO HELP.
    God bless you in all your efforts to help these folks.
    Sincerely Joyce Gilette RN

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Joyce . We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Tony

    Independence of the Seas will be docked in San Juan tomorrow. I am assuming your company is doing all it can to stock the ship with water, medical supplies, and other necessary materials before the ship sails and arrives to Labadee, Haiti on Friday. Haitians need the help now, and you have a ship sailing there. Do what you can!

  • Jack and Kathie Abbott

    We have had the pleasure of visiting Labadee and our hearts go out to the people of Haiti. I know RCCL will do what ever it can to aid our friends in Haiti.

    As a consumer of RCCL I would like to know what we can do? We are scheduled to sail 1/21, but would be more then happy to give up our sailing if in some way it wil help those affected.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Jack and Kathie. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Michael weiss

    Thank you for providing this update. As a loyal Royal Caribbean customer, it is wonderful to see this level of compassion from our cruise line. I am happy that Royal Caribbean may be able to assist with humanitarian relief. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people now as they confront this natural disaster.

  • Lindsey

    My mother, aunt, and grandmother are currently on a Royal Caribbean cruise right now that was supposed to dock in Labadee yesterday… We can’t get a hold of them, and the only information we’ve been able to find out is that the ship, coincidentally and thankfully, ended up not docking there because of weather conditions, but we don’t know whether they were … See Moreat another port nearby or at sea when the earthquake happened. If anyone knows more information about the ship (Freedom of the Seas), please let me know!

    And God bless everyone in Haiti who is suffering through this horrific, unexpected disaster. I can’t even imagine.

  • Laurie Larsen

    In our many visits to Labadee we have met wonderful caring people from Haiti!
    I think I can speak for many others that we would like to have a way to donate for this cause.

    Like the pre-cruise bookings….if we could opt for our $100 credit to go to Haiti -would be a great act of kindness for those in Haiti who make our visits memorable! It is our time to step to the plate and show our love and appreciation.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for working together with President Clinton and the Haitian government to make this a better world for the Haitian people. The economic step backwards will be difficult. It’s nice to see Royal Caribbean stepping to the plate to help!

  • Karen

    While visiting Labadee on the Liberty of the Seas in September,we watched president Clinton’s helicopter landing on the island, to inspect the progress of how Royal Caribbean was assisting the Haitian economy by expanding their facilities there. It really made me proud, as I am a loyal Royal Caribbean Customer.
    I am sailing again in May, and would like to know how I may help now, and perhaps contribute during my cruise in may. An option to contribute as a shore excursion sounds great..

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Karen. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.


    “Monitoring” and “reaching out” is not good enough. You profit from a land in pain. You should now send oasis down there + as a many passangers as will volunteer and get all spare crew and willing passengers on shore helping. You have broken schedules for the pod bearing replacements, you can do it for dying people. You have huyndreds of beds and a first class hospital; and plenty of food and cooks. Go help. The $10/20 million it may cost you will give you 10X that in publicity and love from the world. Don’t think, just do it. .Imagine the photos of 20 of your emergency boats going ashore with willing crew. The world will swoon.

  • viv valentine

    We are scheduled to stop in Haiti on our upcoming cruise. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitians. However, we hope that under the circumstances it would be best NOT to stop at this port for quite awhile. We hope you will consider either skipping and/or choosing an alternate port.

  • Rick and Deirdra

    We would definatley contribute to a fund that goes 100% to Haiti. It would be great if RCCL could sponser and possibly match donatios. I do not need any cruise credit. I would rather all of the poceeds go to the people that are hurting in Haiti. In our opinion it would be a mistake for the RCCL ships not to go to Labadee. They need all the income they can get. This disater should not cause any more suffering than it already has.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Rick and Deirdra. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Pingback: Labadee Update - Press Release - CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

  • Roger M.

    I agree with the previous comment which urged RCI to deploy its resources (ships, staff, food, water, etc.) immediately ON LOCATION. RCI has profitted from its partnership with Haiti; it is now time to give back to this ailing country, IMMEDIATELY.

    No mention has been made on the RCI website of plans to immediately, and at least temporarily, suspend calls at Labadee. To me, such a suspension should be a given. It would be no less than grossly obscene for RCI to continue calling at Labadee in the midst of Haiti’s accute crisis. If I learn that RCI will not be instituting such an immediate suspension, I intend to discontinue cruising with RCI, and I will urge others to do so as well.

  • Philip R.

    I agree with shari eichler; my wife and I are newly hooked on cruising with RCCL and have had a great experience at Labaddee. I would kindly donate through the C&A. I impressed with RCCL for working with this country to help.

  • Marilynne & Dennis Rodgers

    With the tremendous devastation in Haiti, we cannot in good conscience enjoy a land excursion in a country where people are in such pain. So, we have cancelled our excursion there for our January 21st cruise on Jewel of the Seas.

    However, we sincerely believe RCC, and as many passengers on upcomin cruises who are willing, can contribute assistance in the coming weeks for cruises currently scheduled to dock in Haiti. RCC can partner with some of the medical and relief organizations there, provide safety assurances to the extent possible, and encourage passengers to use a day of their cruise to go ashore and assist wherever needed. Obviously this would require coordination with agencies there, so passengers’ time would be well spent for the benefits of Haiti’s people.

    Those passengers who wish to be involved and assist by volunteering on their upcoming cruises can do so. Those who wish to opt out and stay on-board during this day, can certainly do so.

    Please allow us the opportunity to assist this country, while we’ll already be in the area on one of your beautiful ships. We hope to dock in Haiti the last week in January and be a small part of the efforts there.


    My prayers go out to the Haitians and to those affected. I’m thankful that Freedom wasn’t there yesterday and like all the others, would like to know how to help. As a teacher who’s a loyal RCCLer, my students can organize a clothes drive or any other help we can if you organize some relief effort. Please let me know; we’re willing to help and I love Labadee. Many prayers to all.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Janey. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Audrey Sonneveldt

    As probably the poorest country in the world, Haiti has recently endured much because of the huricanes and now this. I am thankful that Labadee did not sustain damage. Having ships of RC and Celebrity still stop will give a number of Haitians an income. I am praying that as the world comes together to help this country, as we all do our small part, the people of Haiti will be given hope. I pray that they may feel that they are loved and that the world does deeply care for them. God’s blessings on RC for their part.

  • Maria Ramirez-Gregg

    Why not do something similar to what Disney is doing.? In your scheduled visit to Labadee(all ships) why not recruit volunteers to go ashore and volunteer for the day and at the end, give your customers a $50, $75 or whatever amount of OBC you want to give.

    Also, you can designate one cruise ship or itinerary as a fundraiser cruise and designate a set amt of money to be charge to the onboard customer account ($10, 20, 30) as a donation (tax deductible)and they can receive a shirt or something acknowleding their participation.

    Just my suggestions.

  • Maggie

    As a Royal customer and stockholder, I am grateful that RCI is doing what they are doing to help the people of Haiti.
    Out of curiosity, what is RCI doing for their crew who are from Haiti? I am sure those crew members are craving to know about their families in Haiti. How awfully hard it must be to be safe on a cruiseship while you have no idea if your family is safe.
    Thank you for standing up and helping out.

  • Arny

    as a C&A member, I, too, would like to help. We are sailing on Grandeur next week. Maybe a collection system of some ssort could be available on board ours, and other ships to aid these desparate people. we would not be looking for any credits. I thought that charity was giving while looking for nothing in return.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your offer to help, Arny. We are working with Food For The Poor (, a relief organization that provides direct assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and we ask that anyone interested in assisting make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort at this moment. Thank you again.

  • Jon C

    To those suggesting that RCCL send passengers as volunteers, suspend port calls at Ladabee, park a cruise ship in Port-au-Prince, etc. I would suggest reading this very well written post:

    RCCL has contributed much to the economy of Haiti by locating in Ladabee, and I am sure that they will continue to contribute in this time of need as well as render appropriate assistance when and where it would be of most use in coordination with other aid.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Earthquake in Haiti « Why Not? --

  • Margaret King

    Thank you for all you’re doing. I have long lost family there somewhere.

    My Grandmother was born in Leogane and I thought I would never visit Haiti in my lifetime, but I got that chance on a RCCL sailing. Labadee was wonderful. While my friends quickly walked through and went back to the ship, I felt that I had to stay and walk from one end to the other and take in my heritage. It was so special and beautiful. When I told my Granny, who had suffered a stroke, she couldn’t believe that I had been there.

    Dieu vous benisse, as Granny used to say.

    Bridgetown Travel Agency

  • Pete G.

    Our prayers go out to the Haitians and to those affected.

    We are going to pass our honeymoon on the Liberty of the Seas starting Jan, 31 from Miami.
    We also think that it would be oscene if RCI calls at Labadee seeing the actual circumstances.
    The danger of aftershocks is given and it would be immoral to spend vacancies on a place where such a tragedy just happened. Also for us, such a suspension should be a given from RCI.

  • Kevin

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti.

    Some thoughts on the comments above:

    I don’t think RCCL should suspend stops in Labadee. They need the toursit money now more than ever. I think it would be great if RCCL would send a ship to provide aid. However, Labadee is on the other side of the island (over 100 miles away) so it wouldn’t be convenient to stop by and send guests ashore to help.

  • Julie Luxton

    As a former crew member with Royal Caribbean, Labadee was always a favorite port of call. I have such great memories of such a beautiful place, and my heart goes out to its people. The poverty was astonishing back then, and I know not much had changed. I remember meeting a young Haitian man, not much older than myself at the time, who wanted to know how he could get a job working on the ships. I told him I would take him and introduce him to someone who might help him, but he told me “no, not until I have some shoes”. So sad….

  • Sing J

    Why not all cuise line use a ship each for temporary hospital.

    Come on now, cruise lines makes millions,


  • Mandy

    I just checked the website and found no news related to this issue that is immediatlely visible. The only “Important Update” concerns a delay in Explorer’s schedule, which is apparently unrelated to the disaster in Labadee.

    If you refer people with cruises scheduled to stop at Labadee to this website, I feel the information should be easy to find. I spent a few minutes looking and couldn’t find anything.

  • jane Thacker

    My husband and I have crused with you to Labedee twice before and we really loved it. Our prayers go out to the people of Haiti. How can we contribute to help these wonderful people?

  • Kathy Weaver

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Haitian people ,families and friends and other people from all over that were living , working or visiting Haiti during this tragic event. I know that RCCL will do the right thing when it comes to helping because they always do. I feel confident in the integrity of the adminstration and know they will show the compassion that will be required for both the people in Haiti and employees of RCCL with connections to this tragic event.

  • Timothy

    it seems to me that avoiding calls on Labadee would only injure the country further. Instead, there is an opportunity here for passengers and the company to help. It makes much more sense that RCL make a call out to their passengers to bring items needed (clothing, non-perishables, etc) and have those items collected at the port for distribution to those in need, in addition to the enormous amount of relief supplies the boats have the ability to transport. I think RCL should continue stops at Labadee and use their assets & the good will of their passengers to aid those in need. In my opinion, suspending calls and simply avoiding the port is the easy way out, and a lost opportunity.

  • Stan zoller

    It’s good to see some response by RCL — HOWEVER — your concern for the people of Haiti should be on the front of your web site. There does not seem to be any remorse by RCL — accept to book another cruise. RCL has an a rare opportunity to take the lead in helping an impoverished nation and down-trodden people during a time of crisis.

    Since RCL likes to promote Labadee and make money of the itineraries, it should now promote its concern and be a leading corporate citizen.


    My mistake,

    the line “There does not seem to be any remorse by RCL — accept to book another cruise.”

    Should be:

    There does not seem to be any remorse by RCL — except to book another cruise.

    Either way, to use its own phrase, when it comes to helping the people of Haiti, RCL needs to “get out there.”

  • Melinda

    I agree with several comments above. I came looking for RC to find a way to provide hands-on help, assuming that they would be diverting their more profitable cruises to other locations and using some of their older, smaller ships to transport humanitarian assistance and hands-on aid, perhaps with the intention of establishing refugee stations in Labadee. I am currently not in a position to give financially, but am in a position to pick up and give a week of my time and hands-on assistance (maybe for the first time ever). Very disappointing.

  • Joanne

    We are taking a cruise on Feb 7th.. What can we bring to help the Island of Hatti ? Please get back to us.. There are other people who would like to help out also…Thanks

  • Tari L.

    My husband and I are scheduled to visit Labadee in February. In light of the devistation we are having some reservations about it. For one thing, it seems that it would be nearly impossible to relax on the beaches and enjoy ourselves knowing that nearby many thousands of people are suffering. Additionally there is the concern of the spread of disease which if brought onto the ship could spread very rapidly. While we understand that RCCL contributes greatly to the local economy, it would seem to us that it would be most appropriate to suspend cruises from docking here temporarily (until the country has a chance to deal with the devistation) and divert to alternative ports.

  • Christine

    As a Crown Anchor Diamond Member, please help assist our friends in Haiti. Can you pull one of your ships or maybe team with another cruise company to help get food and water there immediately? I can’t imagine vacationers whooping it up on a ship with food and drink so close to where the Haitians are hurting. The cruise lines have made huge profits and its time to pay back not just to ease the minds of vactioners who may be inconvienced. Maybe this is being done and we just aren’t aware.

  • Michelle forsythe

    My husband and I are scheduled to sail on the Jewel of the Sea, which has a stop in Labadee on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. I cannot spend a day of leisure knowing that less than 100 miles away people are living in hell. If RC stops there, I beg you to organize some kind of humanitarian activity that passengers can participate in. For example, we could unload boxes from the ship or assemble medical kits. And we can bring items from home that can be transported to Port-au-Prince.

  • Amazed

    You folks asking for OBC for giving a donation should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • kathy

    I am planning a cruise with rccl for the end of may – I would like to say that maybe we should forgo stopping at Labadee – but I think by stopping there we are helping the people of Haiti – if the cruise ships pull out then the people of Haiti do not benefit at all by the revenue brought in by the cruise ships – a few years ago we stopped at cozumel mexico after a hurricane and our hearts broke to see the damage when we pulled up to the port but the people there were glad to see us. These countries count on the monies brought in by the cruise ships – we need to make sure these countries get the revenues. I would say make a contribution to the food for the poor and book a cruise on rccl to get the support for these poor people. They are going to need all the help that all of us from every country can contribute to them – you know it could happen to anyone of our families in any country – and anyone of our family members could have been visiting or working in this country when this happened. I think that every reader reading these comments could donate a few dollars to some organization that will help in the relief of this country. Look at those little childrens faces – it could be your grandchild.

  • also amazed

    I agree with Amazed, I am shocked, why in the world would anyone expect $200 onboard credit from Royal if you make a donation to the relief effort? These people are suffering and in crisis, and donations should be made without regard to getting a “thank you” or an “added plus” of any kind. Wow. Hats off to Royal Caribbean for the direct relief efforts they are undertaking.

  • jP

    I am joyed to see the RCCL contributions and think its great to keep going to Labadee…but here is my main concern… How will anyone decipher the difference between an actual earthquake victim and just a normal person in need? I pray that others will not take advantage of all the aid there to help those directly affected by the quake. This is in fact, a poor country and will ALWAYS be in need of help. I am crossing my fingers for everyone’s health & safety but also for those that only TRULY need the supplies being sent there. I HOPE that people that weren’t AFFECTED don’t dry out the supplies. If that ends up being the case then this will unfortunately be never ending.

  • Michelle

    Please update us on how RC’s stop in Labadee today, Jan. 15, went. And I’d like to know what passengers like me can do on Feb. 14 to help the Haitians while there. Has RC coordinated with any relief agencies to have them come to Labadee to gather supplies from passengers willing to donate? I WANT TO HELP!

  • Joanne Short

    I was all set to book a cruise including the Haiti stop. However since the recent unfortunate event, i would not feel happy lying on the beach knowing that their was nearby suffering. I will not be booking this cruise anymore, however i will still donate money to help the people of Haiti.

  • Shelley

    I think it is appalling that Royal Caribbean will dock in Labadee. Haiti in a desperately door country whose people are in monumental turmoil and pain. Families are living in the streets, many searching for their relatives with no help to free them from the rubble. As the days and weeks progress the people of this beautiful country will bury their dead and try to comfort and protect those that survived. However, it will be months, maybe years, before there is any sense of normalcy in this country.

    What will the RC passengers do in Labadee? Bloggers write that they want to help. They cannot volunteer to help. It is very clear from the media that what Haiti needs is relief funds, not well meaning visitors that will require security and a means to eat and drink while they trying to help.

    Why not stay at sea that day and ask the passengers to donate the money, they budgeted to spend in Labadee or on board to the Royal Caribbean relief fund. Let the passengers truly be solemn donors and not well-intentioned international rubber neckers.

  • deb

    My heart gos out to all the people in Haiti. They are in my prayers. Shelley have you ever been to Labadee? it is a private part of the island and it’s not a city it’s just beach nothing to rubber neck at and RC is doing a lot to help. Maybe you should have read a little more before typing.

  • jandemartino

    What makes me sick and angry and i,ve said this before
    is how “la la: you all are wE,hAve enjoyed labadee sevaral times in the past before this terrible Quake what makes you all think that basking and bathing in the sun brings relief to the devastated people !!!!!

    How dare you Mr chairman Promote this !! its not going directly to those people hit
    only the locals at Labadee who will probably be multi millionares at the end of it all !!!

    I m angry and upset that he is using passengers guilt and generosity that would be there anyways

    supplies can always be unloaded as well intended by RCCL without all the self gratifying hype they want to share with us all ITS WRONG WRONG WRONG to go ashore on Labadee and pretend you are helping the victims by buying and giving to the locals of Labadee

  • Lolita Montreal

    I think all the nay sayers, if you care so much that morally you dont feel comfortable getting off so close, why not cancel your cruise and donate the money. The same can be said people going on a cruise while others are dying , or eating hile people are starving. Its not like there saying lets party beside a dead person>…

    Look at the whole story , why should RCL feel remorse?

  • Deborah Gillenwater

    I just got off of Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas where on 01/17/2010 I spent a wonderful fun filled week on aboard enjoying not only the ship but also the three ports of call. I was at the La Scala Theater when Mike, the Cruise Director, asked for a donation for Hattie. This request was wonderful and done tastefully and I wanted to help. Now I just received this e-mail and it shows me where the money I gave is going and I am so glad I took Mike up on his tactful request to help. (He was a great Cruise Ship Director) Seeing what Royal has provided with immediate relief makes me glad I took the time to help when I did. Keep up the good work of helping people in need! I fully support what you are doing. Thank you for proceeding with the needs of this grief stricken country. Again thank you Royal Caribbean for helping with the needs of the Haitian people and may God Bless, Debbie G.