Our Visit to Labadee with President Clinton

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Our day in Labadee is over and we are headed back to Miami. It was a great day and we had a remarkable amount of interaction with President Clinton. He and his entourage stayed onsite much longer than we had expected. The President appeared to genuinely enjoy his time on our property and his shopping expedition in the new artisans’ market was a tour de force. He clearly loves Haiti and really wants to drive progress there. It was an honor for all of us to show him the level of investment we have made in Labadee and how a complex operation can be highly successful in Haiti. The joy that was evident in all of the people onsite to meet him, shake his hand and have their picture taken with him was really something to behold.

President Clinton with myself and Richard Fain

President Clinton with myself and Richard Fain

On behalf of Richard Fain and Craig Milan, I want to express my appreciation to John Weis, our Associate VP, Private Destinations, Maryse Kedar, President of Solano, our Haitian subsidiary, and Dave Scott and David Southby, our two site managers, and their teams, for creating a fabulous and memorable day. Well done!

President Clinton greeting the press and local people

President Clinton greeting the press and local people

We tried to do a lot in a little time prior to President Clinton’s arrival. Several of us did both the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line (zip wire) over the water and the brand new Dragon’s Tail Coaster (alpine coaster). The $35 per coaster per ride pricing [a coaster can take either one person or two at a time] has become a source of anguished commentary on this blog and elsewhere. So we were very keen to see what it would be like. Those of us who did it (Richard, me, Lisa and Craig) thought it was terrific. The way the track is worked into the hill is remarkably clever and in places it comes out from the hill and the views of Labadee and the surrounding area are spectacular. The three minute ride is outstanding. This coaster has been built by the same company that built the coaster in Park City, Utah. In my opinion our coaster is better than the one in Utah.

The coaster is a great addition for the site that provides another choice for guests on Oasis and other ships. It’s a valuable excursion that requires a charge like other excursions including the Flight Line. The $35 price is in the middle of a range from $7 at ski resorts in the eastern US to $60 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We may have opportunities to flex the price depending on the circumstances (e.g., for online advance purchase), but we are comfortable that this outstanding attraction should begin at the $35 price point and then evolve if necessary based on actual traffic. We took the same approach with the Flight Line when we opened it at $69. Our actual experience was that there was so much demand at that price point that we raised the price. In this case it may be different but we need to open it up for use and see.

What a great day!

I suggest the readers also take a look at Richard Fain’s blog on our day today at oasisoftheseas.com.

  • Mike P

    Although I was astounded at the pricing of the coaster, I appreciate the fact that you addressed concern and continuing conversation. Your response at this point is reasonable as the market should always decide.

    In another forum the idea was brought up of the option of a universal extra charge or universal pass that would cover things like premium onboard restaurants, soda, and RCI owned and operated facilities such as the coaster. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, including what researching RCI would do before offering something like this.

  • TTTony

    Thanks for taking the time to address the “anguished commentary” about pricing (perfect choice of words) . My earlier comments on that blog were only a casual observation. I am certain your team have done all kinds of research to determine the best price point for excursions and certainly the market will dictate and correct if you are out of line.

  • Richard bond

    The current owners of the former RCCL Song of Norway a partnership represented by Niels Erik Lund of International Shipping Partners would be interested in turning the vessel into a cruise ship hotel/school of tourism stationed at Cap Haitien, Haiti for the next five years. They would love to have RCCL involved.

  • luis alfonso ponce

    i am from colombia,i live in cartagena i want to work whit yours, i need all the information to send my curriculum

  • Richard Sassine

    RCCL not only makes us proud as Haitians to be able to receive you and your guests every week but I woul also like mto commend you for demosntrating, by your interest in Haiti, that good and positive things can be done here.