Guest Post: Royal Caribbean's Community Responds to the Crisis in Haiti

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The world has understood with intense clarity that the earthquake in Haiti is an event of enormous magnitude requiring a global outpouring of assistance. Initial fund-raising efforts appear to be very successful. The crucial variable is the organization of the relief effort and the ability to get supplies to the people in need. The Royal Caribbean community is touched in many ways by this crisis. One of the primary impacts is on our Crown & Anchor Society members many of whom have been to Labadee and have interacted with our Haitian employees either onboard or at the site. I asked Betsy O’Rourke, our Senior VP, Marketing, to share some thoughts at this juncture and here is what she wrote:

It has been truly gratifying to hear from so many loyal to Royal Crown & Anchor members as the tragedy in Haiti has unfolded. These wonderful people have contacted us with so many well intended ideas for how to help, looking for us to facilitate the delivery of goods and services to those in desperate need. Adam’s involvement with former President Clinton on the economic development of Haiti has been instrumental in Royal Caribbean’s quick response to the crisis. Yesterday our first ship delivered much needed supplies as Independence of the Seas called on Labadee. While we are very fortunate to be able to help in this way, please remember President Clinton’s strong advice to well-intentioned individual donors – please make cash contributions to reputable charities rather than individually attempting to provide supplies.

There are some who are criticizing us for continuing to call on Labadee with vacationing guests knowing that less than a hundred miles away people are suffering. We gave a lot of thought to that very question, is it appropriate for us to continue business as usual at this destination? We reached out to Leslie Voltaire, Haiti’s liaison to President Clinton and someone who has known and worked with us for more than 10 years in different minister-level positions in the Haitian government. Mr. Voltaire fully supported the continuation of our ship calls. He said there must be both rescue and recovery and the economic benefit of our ship calls is part of recovery. It reminded me of Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the 9/11 crisis in New York City going on national television over and over again begging people to come to the city if they really wanted to help so that the economy would rebuild as quickly as possible.

So while we recognize that it may seem insensitive to some to have our guests enjoying the beautiful waters and beaches on one side of the island while there is misery on the other side, we know that by continuing to bring our ships to the island, we will not only be delivering much needed supplies, but we will be continuing to contribute to the overall economic well being of the country as we have for almost 30 years now. I am really proud of our Crown & Anchor members for their encouragement and support of Royal Caribbean’s leadership in aid to Haiti, a country which so many of us have enjoyed first-hand.

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.

  • Jim

    As a C&A Diamond Plus member, I support what RCCL is doing in Haiti 100%. I’ll be boarding Independence of the Seas and I’ll be interested to speak with crew members and back-to-back guests to see how the visit went. Also, I’ll be on Liberty of the Seas for their Jan. 31 sailing, which calls on Labadee Feb. 2nd. This is not the time to abandon this country.

  • MICHAEL c. mitchell

    Dear Mr. Goldstein and Ms. O’Rourke;

    It is heartening to know that fellow members of the
    Crown & Anchor Society are supporting Royal Caribbean’s morally correct decision to continue to
    sail into Haiti.

    As the true scope of this tragedy becomes more apparent each day, there will be increased pressure from some to cease your calls to Haiti. It is imperative this does not happen. Your shipping line is
    in a unique position to lead the corporate world in
    assisting Haiti in both the short and long-term.

    It is ironic that the Crown & Anchor Society, designed
    for client retention and making your cruises more enjoyable, may actually have an effect on something so
    important. Continue the good work.


    Michael C. Mitchell

  • Molly Kundis

    Mr. Goldstein my question is is there any way ticketed visitors out of Haiti? The Airlines are locked.As you know power is non existant and our family is running out of cell power.I would appreciate any thoughts on this. It really is a nightmare all the way around.
    Molly Kundis

  • Cindy Ross

    I used to sing on Cruise ships including RCCL and NCL and frequently went to Haiti during the 70’s and 80’s. If Peter Compton is still with your company, please ask him to contact me. I want to help.

  • Brian McGinnis

    I am glad to hear that RCCL is still going to Haiti, as I have been there on Grandeur of the Seas. It is important to to keep going there to help the Haitian people and to rebuild their economy. I am glad I have taken 7 cruise on RCCL, it is good to that some of the money my family and I have spent is going to such a worthy cause. I, and many other family members, are taking yet another RCCL this coming year. It is good to know that RCCL is doing the right thing. I am glad to be part of the Crown and Anchor Society. Thank you RCCl, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the Haitian people. We will be contributing to your cause.

  • amy

    Will there be any way for those of use on near-future cruises to Labadee to donate supplies, either on the ship or directly to the port?

  • amy

    Will there be any way for those of use on near-future cruises to Labadee to donate supplies, either on the ship or directly to the port itself?

  • Jonas Brandon

    Haiti’s recovery is predicated upon continued investment and development. It is encouraging to hear Royal Caribbean is committed to this and further is finding ways to immediately assist with the rescue effort.

  • David Ratner

    One way to help Haiti would be to build a true deep water port a Labadee, as opposed to the tender port that currently exists. This would also be a benefit for RCL’s wheelchair-user clients.

    • Adam

      David, thank you for your comment. As you may know Labadee recently underwent and extensive refurbishment which included the building of a pier so that guests can now walk directly off the ship and onto the island.

  • Robert grove

    I applaud the efforts of RC for the Hatian people. However if not for the Cruise Guest like myself RC could not provide this support. I am A diamond member of Crown & Anchor Society with 12 credited cruises. I find the more cruises I take with RC the less rewards are offered. I get emails for Certificates,but when I try to log onto the site I get Page no longer avalible. I have written to RC with important inquiries only to receive no responce.
    I have had clothes ruined in RC’s laundry,I was seriously, physically injered on A RC cruise because of RC’s irresponsibility, without compansation or even an appoligy.
    As this being A negative note, I doubt I will see it on your blog or even to get A responce of any kind,as this seems to be RC’s agenda.