Guest Post: Haiti Update

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I’ve asked John Weis, our Associate Vice-President of Private Destinations, to share some of his thoughts as he helps coordinate our response to the natural disaster in Haiti. John and his team oversee Labadee and he can provide a unique perspective. Thank you John.

The Labadee team and I breathed a great sigh of relief when we finally heard from Maryse Kedar, President of The Solano Foundation. She lives in Port Au Prince and we have been working together for more than four years on community and development projects in Labadee.

She was very close to the epicenter of the quake and the last time that I talked to her was late yesterday in the afternoon, shortly after the second aftershock. The phone had cut off and I was fearing the worst. From that point, we hadn’t heard from her and we were getting very worried for her and her team.

Finally around 5 pm today, we got the word that she and her team were fine. Sadly she reported we had lost many friends, a few of them had worked with us on the construction project in Labadee. Our prayers go out to her and her team tonight.

Meanwhile, we continued with more thorough inspections throughout Labadee and we seem to have sustained no damages from the quake. We will be ready for Independence of the Seas if she should call on Friday.

We’re still coordinating our plans for our relief efforts and I’ll have more about that tomorrow.

I’ll try to update a couple of times tomorrow as we know more.

–John Weis, Associate Vice-President, 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.

  • Dianne

    Prayers and donations are needed, but a luxury cruise at port is like a slap in the face. Please do all you can -everyone-but don’t port at this time with tourists. Plus, it could be a dangerous situation when well meaning people get in the way,etc.

  • Cathy GArvey

    We are scheduled to visit Labadee on the Independence of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale 1/23. I work at a hospital in Florida and will be driving to the Cruise Port. Can we collect donations of clothing, supplies, and hopefully some medical supplies and bring them to the ship for donation? Is Royal Caribbean able to coordinate distribution of donations? Please respond and include any limit to the quantity. (i.e. one box per passenger). Thank you.
    Cathy Garvey

  • Mary Ann & Walter Johnson

    Dear Sir, we are both Diamond members of Royal…and enjoy sailing with you very much. We have been to Labadee many times over the last 9 years and have seen what your company has done to improve it. However, we believe that in lieu of the current situation in Haiti, you should not make this a port of call on any of your cruises. How will it look with a bunch of tourists enjoying themselves, eating and drinking with all the misery in this poor nation?

    Thank you

  • Josh

    It’s good to hear that RCI is doing what they can to help the people of Haiti. However, I find it hard to believe that the Independence would visit Labadee just a few days after such a disaster. The image of cruise passengers sitting on a beach sipping drinks while so many people are dead or dying just over the mountain is wrong. Please reconsider…

  • Robert schlein

    Please, reroute my cruise set to sail from Ft Lauderdale on Liberty of the Seas!

    I do NOT want to party and will not be able to RELAX knowing that only 90 miles away there are 50,000 or more dead bodies accumulating in the streets.

    Whether or not there is specific damage to Labadee should not be a consideration. It’s too soon, it’s too close.

    For all of our sakes, reroute to another destination far away.

  • susie davis

    We are planning a cruise in February on Independence of the Seas. I was saddened to hear about the Haiti earthquake. I know that one of the stops is in Labadee. It breaks my heart to see what these people are going through and I can’t stop in Labadee with a good conscience and feel right about being there just for my pleasure , not when the people of this tiny island are suffering so. I have seen that the Haiti people receive $6.00 per passenger when the ships stop there. I don’t know if it is possible but I would be more than willing to give my money to these people and not go to Labadee. If a cruise ship carried 3500 people and we all gave our $6.00 that would give the Haiti people $21.000 for one ship.How can anyone enjoy this stop on this island and pretend that just on the other side of our private paradise people are grieving for their families and trying to put their lives back together.

  • barbara

    I have been watching the news all day, and was deeply saddened to hear that the port that was to be used to receive much needed supplies, is not useable, and the road to and from it is unpassable. Would it be possable for the supply ships to use RCCL’s docking facillities in Labadee until the other port can become operable? Conditions are nearing the critical stage!

  • Stan zoller

    According to Adam Goldstein:

    I appreciate the intent to help with jobs and revenues — but RCL needs to do more and promote its efforts.

  • stan zoller

    Goldstein’s post (which did not copy)indicated they’re going to Labadee and what a good thing it is for Haiti. No doubt — but right now Haiti needs is help a rebuilding and healing….

  • Patty Kersey,rn

    I am in favor of stopping in Labadee when I go on the Explorer in three weeks. Would like to know how many boxes of supplies I may bring with me onboard? I am driving to embark port. Please let me know soon as i need to get started with donations from my hospital.

  • sHERYL kOTTLER oSHRIN

    As an Elite level Celebrity cruiser I am familar with the Labadee port of call. I have mixed feelings on the continuation of cruise stops given the current tragedy. I could not sit and enjoy the beach, yet I see the financial ramifications of lost tourist dollars. If you continue to stop in Haiti (a decision I hope you revisit) you could ask each passenger to pack one or more extra items of new or gently worn summer clothing to donate to the vast number of newly-homeless people. My daughter’s summer camp did this with the kids asked to pack 1-2 t-shirts to donate. They collected thousands of shirts. This would be a small but beneficial effort which in passengers could easily participate.