Haitian Relief in Motion

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Everyone is trying to come to grips with the immensity of the challenge that now presents itself in and around Port-au-Prince (PAP). We are enormously relieved that Maryse Kedar, President of SOLANO, our Haitian subsidiary, is okay despite having been in PAP at the moment of the earthquake. She is a phenomenal lady, one of the most impressive people we know anywhere in the world. While her safety is great news, her recitation by email of how many good friends she has lost is both stunning and chilling. She is one of the best networked people in the country, so when she lists the friends she has lost it is a who’s-who of Haitian government and society including key UN personnel.

Our good friend Dr. Barth Green of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was in PAP by mid-day Wednesday. He was one of the first – if not the first –outside medical professionals on the scene. Barth has been a driving force behind the University of Miami medical clinics that have been in Haiti for years and he cares very deeply about the country. I’m sure Barth will do miracles in PAP but Haiti probably needs many more than just him.

The meeting with President Clinton is proceeding today in NYC so I am here. The only difference is the Prime Minister is obviously in Haiti rather than with us as was originally planned. The agenda would have been about economic progress and investment. Now it will be about disaster response. When I was on Governor Bush’s Haiti Advisory Group about four years ago, we identified disaster response as one of the top three priorities for rehabilitating the country. There have been several disasters since that unfortunately reinforced the priority. But no one ever imagined a disaster like this.

- Adam

Back to John:

No news directly from Port-Au-Prince but we have received word indirectly that the relief efforts are ramping up from all international sources. From our standpoint, we have received and loaded the first relief supplies on Independence of the Seas, which will be taken to Labadee and distributed through Food For The Poor. We are also in the process of coordinating additional relief supplies that will be loaded on Navigator of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, and will be taken to Labadee on Monday and Tuesday of next week. My thanks to our suppliers and members of our supply chain team for coordinating this, specifically Tom Weiland, Laura Pullens, Lisa Guia and Don Cope. The supplies we are sending include rice, dried beans, water, dried milk and a variety of other canned items. This effort is going to be a marathon, so we will be partnering with Food For The Poor on the back-end distribution in Haiti.

I am getting a lot of questions from everyone about how they can help. I have asked them to go to Food For The Poor and make a donation. This is the best and most effective way to assist in the relief effort right now.

Finally, I am happy to say we are committed to continuing calls to Labadee with Independence of the Seas tomorrow. There were a lot of discussions about this, but in the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery and hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood. In our conversations with the U.N. Special Envoy of the Government of Haiti Leslie Voltaire, he notes that Haiti will benefit from the revenues that are generated from each call, which is critical to their recovery. 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.

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.

  • Tim

    I’m so glad to see that Royal Caribbean is doing the right thing and helping Haiti in its hour of need. It’s something I’ll keep in mind next time I’m choosing between cruise lines.

    Here’s a suggestion: Why not put a link to Food for the Poor on your home page, where everyone can see it and it will do the most good?

  • LH

    As a business that has profited greatly from Haiti, where is the cash give-back – numerous corporations with much smaller scale operations in Haiti (eg., Canadian banks such as Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and Desjardins) have contributed $250,000+ each. Consider donating the profits from your Labaduzee frozen drinks in addition to transporting relief supplies on ships that are already headed off to continue making profits from your trademarked Haitian resort.

  • http://www.hawaiigreenit.com BRUCE CAMPBELL

    My mother called me this morning with this idea: bring in cruise ships as floating shelters and hospitals to provide secure shelter and orderly medical assistance away from aftershocks.

    this is because the situation on the ground is so chaotic with airlifted supplies not easily reaching the affected.

    your thoughts on this. aloha from Hawaii

  • Maria Murphy

    Dear Mr. Goldstien,

    I had the pleasure of voyaging with your cruise line. My husband and I found Labedee to be a beautiful get away.
    I am sure someone has thought of this but, wouldn’t it be something if a couple of cruise ships docked and allowed people beds and water for a short time. I am no expert at PR but what a fabulous idea for ROYAL Caribbean to be housing homeless in such a bad situation.
    Your posts of care and concern are touching.

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  • Rick and Deirdra

    We donated to the Food For The Poor Haitian relief. I also posted the link on my facebook page and hope that my friends will donate as well and that RCCL was deliverng supplies via several of their cruise ships.

  • Kay mcmillan

    I think that what you are doing so far is wonderful. Our up coming cruise in Feb does not go to Haiti but our cruise in May does. Is there anything that we as passangers on your ships can do.

  • Sandra KaPLAN

    While I am very happy to see humanitarian relief efforts by RCI, I do not feel it is appropriate or ethical for vacationers such as myself to “party” on Labadee while tens of thousands of people are buried under rubble.

    There is also the danger of water supplies being contaminated in situations such as these, causing a health risk to vacationers.

    I believe that until the epicenter is stable and recovery is completed an aleternate port should be planned.

    Will there be ducumentation that there are no health risks from the devasation. Numerous articles are citing the potential health risks and contaminantion.


    Please consider rerouting these ships to another port and if you wish to contribute to the humanitarian aid, then do so without risking the health of your vacationers.

  • tom young

    You are right they certainly can use commerce and jobs. Keep up the good work for their sake. The only fly in the ointment is I am sure it will be hard for some to party with the thoughts of devistation so close by.

  • andy s

    As a friend of a passenger on one of the ships bound for Haiti next week I must admit I have mixed feelings about this. I am also a firm believer in not abandoning Haiti in her time of need and have already donated to the red cross. However seeing that the area is still suffering aftershocks and all the destruction and despair that is taking place I don’t think this is the right venue to take cruise passengers. Perhaps just dropping off supplies makes more sense, something about drinking and eating on a beach when miles away there is a catastrophic situation occuring where people have no food or water and are barely hanging on to life doesn’t not make sense to me and to me is almost inhumane.

  • Donna

    I will be on a cruise in ten 10 days that is scheduled to call on Labadee. I am in complete agreement that the ships be loaded with relief supplies destined for Haiti. However, out of respect to all those who suffer I would hope that RCCL has the good sense to deliver the supplies but keep the tourists onboard.

  • Linda Barry

    I visited Labadee (Haiti) just 6 weeks ago on my first cruise and am so happy to see that RCCL is helping with their recovery by bringing in much needed food and water. I think that if a cruise liner could dock closer to PAP and serve as a hospital with doctors, medication and beds this might even be more helpful. I am sure that the passengers would understand the urgency of this sad situation. Good work RCCL!

  • AMy

    I agree with Andy. I don’t think people will feel right about having a great time when they know right around the corner people are suffering! They should not still be going there right now! There are other ways to help them.

  • JJ

    Thank you for your kind and prompt response to this disaster. We appreciate very much your efforts to contact people in the region, express your concern and steer people to the right organizations. It is obvious Royal Caribbean is committed to providing the right and humane effort towards the rescue and recovery effort.

  • Andrea

    What a wonderful act of kindness that RC is doing!! Is there any way possible that the extra food from the ship can be packed and sent to the people of Haiti? I have been on one other cruise and notice the amount of food that was taken away as waste/leftovers. Could this food be distributed?

  • Tom

    I have had many splendid cruises with RC and visited Labadee three times and I would not consider another cruise line. I know RC will do its best to help Haiti, but I don’t think bringing cruise ships into Labadee at this time is a wise decision. In fact, it could turn into a public relations nightmare for the cruise line. All is needed is one published photo of Haiti’s devastation with an RC ship docked nearby filled with partying passengers on board. As a loyal cruiser I urged RC not to make a PR blunder. And donate to relief operations and re-route ships to other ports.

  • ginny grobman

    kudos to royal caribbean. i was wondering how royal caribbean might be helping and how traveling to labadee would be affected. looking at both sides, i thought that if the beach was in tact, it could only help the nation to keep the influx of cash and jobs as always… now more than ever. we happen to be traveling there in 3 weeks. the beach of labadee is my husband and my favorite beach, anywhere. glad to hear how the whole situation is being handled.

  • Bob Risse

    This donation of food supplies sounds rather non-specific, and frankly, minimal. Royal Caribbean could make a big difference in Haiti by sending ships to Port au Prince to serve as floating hospitals and shelter.

    The situation in Haiti is critical and this type of effort would have real impact!

  • Maria Ramirez-Gregg

    Dear Mr. Goldstein:

    I want to applaud RCCL efforts to get supplies for the needy in Haiti. I’m glad that the Independence of the Seas stopped in Puerto Rico and stocked with supplies and food to help the relief effort. Puerto Ricans are very generous people and I bet you have to turn down donations because of a lack of space.

  • viv

    Andy is right.

  • Stan zoller

    LH — well stated — but why isn’t RCL posting info on its main web page instead of burying it in a blog?

  • RK

    I applaud the efforts of your cruise line, however it is inappropriate for cruise passengers to vacation, drink and do excursions as if nothing is occuring.

    Royal Caribbean also has a responsibility to its passengers to keep them safe from the diseases that will spread from this tragedy.

    I would like you to read all reports of health risks, including airborne, that are likely to happen and reconsider putting passengers at risk.

  • stan zoller

    H.L. — Well said. My question is this — why isn’t RCL flaunting their efforts on their opening web page instead of burying it inside a blog?

  • Laura b

    I too will be on one of the ships docking next week. If I pack an extra suitcase of clothing & supplies to donate, would there be people equipped to accept such donations?

  • Cornus

    Robin G. Mahfood President, CEO $345,245

    The above info is directly from the Charity Navigator web site and is the main reason why I would never give to Food for the Poor. This salary is excessive, especially for an organization like this, and I resent that a portion of my small donation will go toward paying this outrageous salary. The Red Cross is in the same category…that’s why my donation went to Doctors without Borders.

  • Cassie

    I commend you for still going to Labadee. It would be great to be able to volunteer on the island for the day we are there. Perhaps a portion of the proceeds of the excursions could be donated. If everyone brought one new extra outfit of clothing that would be a great donation on cruise goers part.

  • http://www.murrayonthehill.com William Murray

    My wife and I really admire the work Royal Caribbian has done at Labadee to help the Haitian people. Delivering relief supplies directly to aid groups will directly assist the people. Royal Caribbian is doing the right thing. Thank you!

  • Jack and Kathie Abbott

    Please reconsider your using Labadee as a destination. Why not offer it up to the Hatian people as a Tent City? How many hundreds of families would be thrilled with temporary housing in Labadee? You could get people off the streets and give them some type of life again. I am sure that we cruise customers would understand. how bad would it be if we had to spend a day at sea, being pampered by your wonderful staff, instead of trying to have fun knowing the suffering going on so very close,

  • Brenda

    I’m glad to see that RCCL is sending ships w/food and supplies. I’m also happy to hear that you will continue to cruise there. It’s my understanding that American’s are still stranded in Haiti. Is there a way to get these American back to the states via your ship(s)?

  • Jodi

    Another thought came to mind today as we were talking about the terrible situation in Haiti and considering future trips. What about organizing volunteer cruises where passengers can be brought in to help with disaster relief and return to the ship in the evening for meals and hot showers. I’d sign my family up for such an event – make our vacation much more meaningful.

  • jOhn wright

    re Rk My wife and I too are due to dock in Haiti in two weeks and agree with the sentiments expressed.
    How can we enjoy ourselves knowing the death and distruction which is only a few miles away. Talk about window dressing. So how do I change my booking?

  • Sylvie

    Thank you RCCL, I am very happy to read this!

    I will be in Labadee on Feb 14 onboard the Jewel of the Sea. I will have a special thoughts from the Haïti people and even though I feel a bit helpless, now I am happy that I have given my donation to Food for the poor…that is my contribution to you for Haïti.

    Thank you for your effort, much appreciated!

  • patty kersey

    I am a critical care nurse and will be in Labadee in three weeks on the Explorer of the seas. I also have guilt feelings about vacationing while others are suffering so. But, I also understand that by being there and purchasing their wares will also help the people in a small way.

    I would like to bring needed supplies with me as well. There is plenty of room in my cabin for me to store several boxes of donations if this would be allowed by the ship. I will be speaking with my hospital Ceo today about this and what we can donate.

    In the past, I have taken pencils, paper, and crayons to the children of Honduras when we have ported there. We can all find something needed to bring to these people. I am in favor of stopping in Labadee to help.

  • Tari L.

    Sandra KaPLAN expressed my sentiments exactly. I would lkie to know that my upcoming cruise (Feb) is safe. Infor on the spread of disease as well as the stability of the region from aftershocks and such would go a long way to putting our minds at ease. Why is RCCL not posting this info on their website?

  • Lisa

    Labadee is a great source of income for the people of Haiti. If RCCL stops bringing vacationers there, the already deflated economy will take a further dive. Vacationers should be made aware of the health-risks involved and take proper precautions but I do not agree that RCCL should not stop there because of the devastation. If anything, they should encourage vacationers to be generous with tips and seek any opportunity to help while there. Hopefully, some answers to the ideas from above such as packing an extra bag to donate, an excursion to help somewhere that they need volunteers, etc. will be provided on RCCL’s documentation for folks taking these cruises.

  • John G

    Glad to see you are involved in the relief efforts. There many opinions expressed here–from bringing supplies, to turning Labadee into a temporary shelter, allowing passengers to pack & bring donations of food & clothing on board, even having them volunteer while there for the day. I am sure you, working in conjunction with the Haitian govt will determine what is best for the passengers and the citizens. I respect your committment to this island and to these people and am glad to be a C&A member and along with the diamond member spouse, frequent RCCL cruisers!

  • Carol

    My husband & I just returned from a cruise on the Independence. We were on the ship that made the first stop since the earthquake. While there were many mixed emotions about visiting Labadee we were, and many of the other passengers, very pleased with the way RCCL handled everything. According to a letter we received in our cabin and an announcement from Captain Teo, all proceeds from excursions on Labadee will go to relief efforts. Also, all passengers were given the opportunity to make a donation on board. While I do not know the exact figure I believe the amount of donations from passengers was over $50,000. The whole time we were on Labadee we were thinking of the devestation going on and while we were there it was obvious to us that the citizens who worked there were counting on us being there.

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  • Clint Goddard

    Sincere thanks for what you are doing to help the poor in Haiti.

    I have a pastor friend that works to help the poor in Labadee. How can he get access to the food and water?

    Sincere thanks,

    Clint Goddard, Administrator
    Coastal Haiti Mission (A non-profit 501 C3 organization)


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  • Fraz

    To everyone here, although some of your ideas may sound like they would work, they wouldn’t!. All of you do not consider the repercussions that all of these insinuations and “bright ideas” would bring up. Royal caribbean does not just have an empty cruise ship they can just dock
    for a floating hospital, the city of port au prince is actually quite far away from labadee and is not even accessible by their ships, so there would be no photo of a ship “partying” in the bG of the earthquake pictures. Royal caribbean does many things to help Haiti, and if the ship were to just drop off supplies and leave, they would be wasting fuel, and all of te villagers that work on labadee would not be working, the wages they get are considerable, the market and many other things that the Haitian people prosper from. Even when 911 happened, the city dis not want tourism to drop, the city, in this case nation, needs all of the revenue they can get!! I do agree however though, that royal Caribbean should do more than just food supplies, perhaps talk to the crew when you go on your cruise, I always gave the hatians my old clothes a least twice a year when I worked there. So again, yes royal should do more, but they can’t just stop going there for months, labadee is quite far away from Pap so there should not be any health risks either. Inquire with the drs when you cruise if you are going soon about this if you are concerned. But don’t think that stopping going ti haiti will help, cause it will do quite the opposite, plus they need to bring the supplies.

  • Susan Tynan

    I commend Royal Caribbean on their efforts for help in Haiti.. RC is my favorite cruise line. I did feel docking a ship for temporary housing would be a great idea. Isn’t there one ready for rehab that could be set up for that ? I know the ocean water can be desalinated for consumption.. just an idea that I thought would work for emergency shelter..meals..etc.
    Again thanks for RC support to those in need.

  • Tina B

    I am completely in favor of Royal Caribbean returning to Haiti. It’s wonderful they are bringing much needed supplies to the survivors of the earthquake. I also understand that the residents of Labadee depend on tourists for income so why complicate an already bad situation for them by depriving them of their livelihood.


    This issue has made some nice headlines for some of the press, but comments here and on USA Today’s travel section are running 10:1 in support of Royal Caribbean as a responsible and appropriately self-interested corporation. RCCL and the tourists they bring to their Labadee beach site enjoy the benefits of the island and also pay $$$ to support the Haitians that support the site.
    While I have also enjoyed Disney’s Cruise Line, I don’t see their ships bringing pallets of water and relief supplies into Haiti because they don’t go there. Congrats to Adam (whom I have the pleasure of knowing personally as an ethical and highly dedicated contributor to his communities) and Royal Caribbean for standing up for the people of Haiti.
    Royal Caribbean is clearly doing the right thing and they have a CEO who is a true leader.

  • jk

    Is there a way that i can go in the earthquake area to help for the day that i am in port? i have some contacts with some of the various organizations helping haiti right now…i’m not interested in buying knicknacks…and for me, would like to help in a more meaningful way..