If you cruise with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Azamara Journeys, your ship might include a stop in Labadee, Haiti.
But is it safe?
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.
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, 2018 advising travelers to “reconsider travel to Haiti” citing high crime and civil, political unrest.
Furthermore, several airlines, including American Airlines, Jetblue and Spirit cancelled all flights to Haiti.
So, yes, there is a serious safety situation in Haiti.
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, Celebrity and Azamara 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.
Royal Caribbean cancelled a stops in Labadee only a handful of times and rerouted them elsewhere.
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.
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. Accordingly, you will find plenty of shopping and food without leaving the security gate.
On the other hand, you’re totally safe on the ship. You could spend the port day the ship and enjoy crowd-free amenities.