Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruises to Haiti Amid Ongoing Civil Unrest

Royal Caribbean cancels all May 2024 cruises to Haiti's Labadee due to ongoing political turmoil and civil unrest, highlighting the severe crisis in the country and its impact on the tourism industry.

Shivani Chauhan
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Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruises to Haiti Amid Ongoing Civil Unrest

Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruises to Haiti Amid Ongoing Civil Unrest

Royal Caribbean International has canceled all of its planned cruises to Labadee, Haiti for the entire month of May 2024 due to the ongoing political turmoil and civil unrest in the country. The cruise operator initially suspended voyages to the Labadee peninsula in mid-March and has now extended the cancellations until at least the end of May.

The decision comes as Haiti faces a dire situation, with the capital Port-au-Prince described as a "battlefield" due to the actions of notorious gang leaders. Millions in Haiti are struggling with hunger as many ports and supply routes are blocked by the violence, leading to the displacement of over 360,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The U.S. State Department has issued warnings for Americans against traveling to parts of Haiti, such as Port-au-Prince, due to issues like kidnappings, crime, and civil unrest. The country is currently in a state of turmoil amid the resignation of the prime minister and a surge in gang violence.

Why this matters: The cancellation of cruises to Haiti by a major operator like Royal Caribbean emphasizes the severity of the ongoing crisis in the country. It also highlights the broader economic impact on Haiti's tourism industry, which relies heavily on cruise ship visits.

Several planned itineraries will be disrupted, including ships like Allure of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas that were scheduled to dock at Labadee in May. Passengers may get another day at sea or may be taken to Royal Caribbean's private resort in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said, "The safety and security of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit are our top priority." The cruise line has promised to continue reassessing calls to Labadee and communicating updates with guests as the situation evolves.

The UK Foreign Office has also advised against all travel to Haiti due to the volatile security situation. While Labadee is located on the opposite side of the island from Port-au-Prince and is a walled-off private enclave for Royal Caribbean guests, the cruise line has decided to cancel visits to the area out of an abundance of caution for guest safety. Royal Caribbean says it is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to make adjustments to itineraries as needed based on the evolving circumstances in Haiti.

Key Takeaways

  • Royal Caribbean cancels all May 2024 cruises to Labadee, Haiti due to political unrest.
  • Haiti faces a dire situation with violence, hunger, and displacement of over 360,000 people.
  • U.S. and UK warn against travel to parts of Haiti due to kidnappings, crime, and civil unrest.
  • Cruise cancellations disrupt planned itineraries and impact Haiti's tourism industry.
  • Royal Caribbean prioritizes guest safety and will continue monitoring the situation in Haiti.