If you cruise with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, your ship might include a stop in Labadee, Haiti.

But is it safe?

Safety

Cruises depend on guests having a great time for repeat business. No one has a good time if they feel unsafe.

On the ship, safety comes above all else.

As a result, safety determines where the ship goes in bad weather, what guests can and cannot do on board, how food is cooked (no open flame), and what to do in an emergency.

In fact, ships want you to feel so safe you never even notice policies that ensure safety.

Here’s how that relates to safety in Haiti.

Map of the caribbean showing location of Labadee, Haiti between Cuba and Dominican Republic

Haiti

There were riots and protests because the Prime Minister of Haiti raised fuel costs to increase revenue. Haitians were outraged with this decision, so rioters blocked roads and burned tires.

As a result, the US State Department’s issued a travel advisory updated on July 27, 2023 advising travelers “do not travel to Haiti” citing civil unrest, crime, kidnapping and poor health care infrastructure..

So, yes, there is a serious safety situation in Haiti.

Labadee

Labadee a private resort on the north shore of Haiti that is completely insulated from mainland Haiti. Royal Caribbean leases the property and only Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships use the resort.

First, this port is tourist-oriented and guarded by a private security force.

Second, Labadee has its own dock and private, secured beaches and activities. The entire area is staffed by Royal Caribbean employees. Most work on the ship, while some live in company-provided housing on the property. In addition, all the food for that day is provided by the cruise ship.

Third, visitors at Labadee cannot leave the property on their own. They can only take Royal Caribbean sponsored excursions.  Haitians cannot enter the property unless they’ve been previously screened by Royal Caribbean and granted security access.

Fourth, there are a few local Haitian shops in Labadee, but overall, it’s almost as if Labadee is on an entirely different island. While it’s geographically Haiti, it’s not culturally Haiti.

Ultimately, you can rest assured. If the cruise line or ship captain felt there were any level of safety concerns, the ship would not go there.

Haiti unrest in 2024

In July 2023, the US State Department issued a level 4 “do not travel” advisory for Haiti.

However, Royal Caribbean continued to service Labadee, Haiti port until March 2024. Then, they suspended visiting the country until further notice.

Cruise itineraries with Labadee ports of call will be changed to another port or a sea day.

You should feel secure

If you still feel uneasy about a port your ship visits, not to worry.

When you get off the ship, just stay in the secured port area. Most ports have plenty of shopping, food and entertainment offerings without leaving the security gate.

On the other hand, you’re safe on the ship. Instead of disembarking in port, you could spend the day the ship and enjoy crowd-free amenities like the pool, adults-only area, lunch buffet and many other venues.

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