Royal Caribbean Suspends Cruising To This Caribbean Country Over Crime And U.S. Alert

Royal Caribbean Suspends Cruising To This Caribbean Country Over Crime And U.S. Alert

Concerned about a massive spike in crimes linked to gang violence and political instability, the renowned cruise company Royal Caribbean announced Thursday it will no longer carry out operations in Haiti.

Just a few days ago, the company informed customers it would continue traveling to the island with limited excursion options despite the travel alert the American government released regarding the worrisome increase in crime.

But now the company has backed down. According to a recent post on Facebook, Royal Caribbean has “suspended calls into Labadee, Haiti for the next 7 days and will continue suspension on a rolling basis with 3 days advance notification to our guests sailing on itineraries impacted and changed as we monitor and evaluate the situation in Haiti,” said Michael Bayley, a senior company executive.

Labadee is a 260-acre private resort owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises since 1986. It is situated in Cap-Haïtien, which is on the north of the island.

The decision will apply to the whole fleet, said spokesperson Aurora Yera-Rodriguez. 

Together with its “Global Security & Intelligence Team,” Royal Caribbean will execute a daily thoughtful evaluation to determine when it will be feasible to restart operations to Labadee.

For the time being, the company will keep cruise passengers posted regarding the latest news.

The U.S. Embassy Issues Security Alert for Haiti 

Given the current state of affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti had no choice but to issue a Security Alert on March 10. As of today, the country remains ranked at level 4. 

Travel advisory of level 4 means the U.S. government is physically and politically unable to provide proper assistance to American citizens in need, in a given territory.

In this alert, the Embassy urges Americans to keep updated about current political events, exercise extra caution when surrounded by many people, try to blend in, look for proper shelter and have travel documents handy, among other safety tips.

For its part, the State Department is particularly concerned about multiple shootings happening across Port-au-Prince, the international airport and the U.S. Embassy itself.

The agency is also urging Americans to leave the country as soon as they possibly can. The Embassy is fully aware there are very limited commercial outbound flights, so it has recommended travelers take advantage of any means of transportation to depart the country on the spot.

What If I already Bought Tickets to the Island?

Well, you have two options. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to choose which one is better for you.

According to Rodriguez, some vessels will take a detour to Turks and Caicos and will also make a call in Jamaica to make up for the days they won’t be in Haiti.

Regarding the second option, travelers will spend an entire day at sea whether they want it or not.

Those who paid for shore tours will be fully reimbursed. 

When Will the Security Situation Improve?

Unfortunately, it is unknown. As of today, criminal groups are controlling more than 80 percent of the country’s capital, as per a report revealed by the United Nations over the past week.

At the end of February, gang forces set free thousands of criminals from local prisons. So far, authorities have been unable to take back control.

To make matters worse, local airports have been experiencing recurrent closures with little to no notice whatsoever.