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Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. Photo: CC BY-SA 4.0/Master0Garfield

Luxury Cruises Cancel Stop At Haiti Beach Oasis As Violence Rises

Bloomberg
Total Views: 4808
March 16, 2024

By Jim Wyss

(Bloomberg) –Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is suspending visits to its private enclave in Haiti as gang violence and lawlessness grip the country’s capital.

Eight sailings through March 18 will cancel their stops at Labadee, a beach oasis located on Haiti’s northern coast. The company said in a statement that it’s temporarily making the adjustments “in an abundance of caution.”

“The safety and security of our guests, crew, and communities we visit are our top priority,” the Miami-based company said. Its teams are “closely monitoring the evolving situation in Haiti.”

Royal Caribbean rarely closes the popular resort that features jet skis, zip lines and nature walks for cruisers on its luxury voyages. Even after the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, Labadee stayed open and the company’s ships were used to deliver desperately needed aid.

The private peninsula is about six hours by car from the capital of Port au Prince, which has been overrun by gangs in recent weeks — forcing the US to evacuate much of its embassy and leading to the resignation of Haiti’s prime minister. The United Nations estimates that about half the population is going hungry in the nation, the poorest in the hemisphere.

Labadee’s closure is a test of Royal Caribbean’s strategy of focusing more on the Caribbean region because of wars and turmoil in other parts of the world. The company and other cruise operators have been forced to cancel or reroute trips to St. Petersburg, Israel and the Red Sea, leading to reductions in European voyages.

Caribbean cruises now account for about 55% of Royal Caribbean’s passenger capacity. 

The company didn’t say if the sailings meant to stop at Labadee will visit another area instead. The cruise line also has a port of call in nearby Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Cruise lines constantly have to adapt, whether it’s due to weather, geopolitical risk and, obviously, for health reasons,” said Jody Lurie, a cruise analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “The cruise lines have learned to be nimble. They can always just dock somewhere else — as long as there’s somewhere else to dock.”

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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