Helping Haiti Move Forward

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Haiti is several weeks post-earthquake. Royal Caribbean’s involvement is what one would expect from our company and people. The media has moved on to other topics or at least other aspects of the post-earthquake environment. Meanwhile, our people and guests continue to help. This will remain true for a very long time given Haiti’s needs.

I would like to thank the remarkable number of people who wrote letters, sent emails and posted on blogs in support of the calls of our ships and the importance of delivering supplies, maintaining economic activity and sustaining hope. Some of the most heartfelt communications came from our own employees including at headquarters.

Fortunately the number of employees who have not made contact with us has significantly reduced. For days it was stuck at 34 out of 50 and it seemed that we were facing a possible 68% death rate of our crew who were at home in Haiti on vacation. Now the number is down to 11 and none of those are confirmed dead. So we continue to hope that all of our crew are in fact safe but we simply do not know. Nine of the 11 have addresses in the Dominican Republic so we’re hoping some of the 11 were not even in Haiti at the time. Obviously we are trying to contact them to be sure.

The ships are routinely bringing in pallets of supplies and within a week we will have delivered over 1,000 pallets. There is a focus right now on getting three generators onboard to be delivered to schools in Haiti. Also by a week from now we will have contributed over $500,000 in proceeds from the revenue we normally earn during our Labadee calls. In addition, in aggregate our shoreside employees, guests and crew have donated $300,000 to relief efforts.

Maryse and Daniel Kedar continue to implement their water distribution efforts in PAP. John Weis has been back and forth between PAP and Florida as he settles into his new role working for the UN. While the world needs to be generous, there’s no substitute for knowledge of logistics, distribution, facilities and port infrastructure. John has all of this skill and experience and he will be invaluable to Dr. Paul Farmer’s efforts.

Our readers could not help but have heard about Haiti’s issues pre-earthquake. Some allege that the world was not paying attention until the earthquake. There were many stories about donor countries not releasing promised aid until relatively recently. What is less known is how much NGO involvement had been taking place in Haiti. According to President Clinton, when his office attempted to catalogue the NGOs who were present in Haiti, they quickly counted over 10,000 and stopped counting. Yes, over ten thousand groups of well meaning people were already trying to help Haiti before the earthquake. In order to move Haiti forward there will have to be a completely different kind of coordination in the future. The previous effort did not produce enough results.

I will continue to comment on all aspects of the Haiti effort as well as ask John and hopefully Maryse to guest blog as well. We are just beginning to plan out our longer term interests such as school construction and opening the Citadelle to our guests. Having said that, I need to mix the Haiti entries with everything that continues to go on in the rest of our exciting business. We have a backlog of entries that did not seem appropriate to post over the last few weeks but should be available to the readers.

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.

  • Tom YOung

    As I have maintained throughout I knew you fine folks did and will do what is right for the people of Haiti. I have a couple of suggestions on some things you can do to raise some extra money for Haiti. Throughout the entire cruise sell 50/50 Raffle tickets with half the proceeds going to Haiti. You will also be pleasantly surprised how many people will donate part of their winnings to the Island. Another thing you can do is all the stores you pitch for shopping in the Carribean can buy ads that you put in a small card on each of your gambling venues. Black jack tables, crap table etc with a blurp for their business. Do it for a month and charge them 150.00 for the ad. This money could be passed onto Haiti as well. Get the vendors you have been loyal to, to give a little back. Just a few thoughts

    Tom Young

  • keith savoy

    i commend rci for all the good they are doing for the post earthquake efforts in haiti i am a second time visitor to labadee and enjoyed it imensely
    thank you rci

  • Jack M

    So happy to see that RCL is continuing their efforts in Haiti. Since you mentioned resuming the corporate issues, I was wondering if you are able (only if it is appropriate) to comment on the new rumors onboard ships and on several message boards about new changes to the Crown and Anchor Society, specifically tier level requirements. If nothing else, write a quick blog about it to quell the embellishments that people make once rumors are started. (ie, RCL taking away Diamond Status from
    people if they don’t meet certain criteria, etc). Thank you so much again for having an open forum with your customers.


    • Adam

      Jack, thank you for your support on our decision to continue our calls to Haiti. Regarding the Crown and Anchor program, I have mentioned previously that we would do our best to address any changes in this forum. On that front I can tell you that we look at all of our programs regularly and should we decide to make any changes, we would definitely consider our loyalty members current status.

  • Kelly huenefeld

    I just knew your company would be in the rescue effort. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Labadee on a cruise on one of your ships. It was wonderful, the ocean was warm and the beaches were so nice. It is truly a wonderful destination for your guests. As well as a way to support the Haiti people. Now, even more so. What ever you do I am sure it will be in the interest of the people of Haiti. Congratulations on your successful cruise line. Kelly Huenefeld/Travel Consultant since 1987.

  • Lisa

    Thank you.

  • geraldine cogdill

    My husband and I had no douth what so ever that RCCL would be there for Haiti. We have been on 19 cruises with RCCL, we are Diamond Members,and have been to Labadee 8 times. The frist was on the Majesty in 1997, the last was the Freedom in 2009. We were the first ship to use the new peir. We have seen a lot of changes in 12 years. We are proud of what you have done for Haiti, and will keep cruising with RCCL.


  • Christina

    We are thinking about going on the Navigator or Oasis during my spring break. I have been wanting to do some volunteer work (as a dental hygienist) in Haiti. Do you think there would be an opportunity for me to do some volunteer work during my stop in Haiti?

    • Adam

      Christina, thank you for your suggestion. We continue to look for ways to support our friends in Haiti and we appreciate your idea. We will make sure to pass it along to the right department.