Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Royal Caribbean Cruise to Haiti

Royal Caribbean has received some flack for traveling back to Haiti. In general, the media seemed to not be on their case, an amazing feat. But recently a few Cruise Passengers blogged about their disgust and a posting by a critic/journalist/whatever has lambasted them for the decision. They decided to return to the northern coast of Haiti as one of their ports of call.

Unlike most companies who bury their head when negative publicity rears its head, the vice president actually spoke out in defense of their decision. The gist was that they are bringing relief and aide along with economic benefits to the island. He also said that they are in the business of enjoyment. For 30 years they have been traveling to Haiti and delivering vacations to people around the world.

So why in their darkest hour should this revenue stream end? 500 Haitians are employed by the cruise line and it's passengers while they visit. These passengers who want to go somewhere else and thus take money from Haiti. They don't want to feel guilty that 100 miles away from their party, people are devastated.
I don't know the refund policy, but I doubt it's without penalty. I would not be in the group with guilty consciouses. If I had paid for the trip, I would continue on the trip. Rhetorical question time. Did people stop traveling to America when Hurricane Katrina hit? Did people stop traveling to America after 9-11? Hell, did people stop traveling to Louisiana or New York for that matter? No, air travel stopped, but folks still vacationed. People outside of and within America still enjoyed themselves. We were all somberer, we were all humbled to be in the presence, but our lives didn't stop. Why is this island different? Do you think the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor who shares the island, suddenly shut down? If you do, you live in Pollyanna's world.

I'm not saying people should just forget the devastation, but the world doesn't stop spinning when someone dies, when a dictator slaughters his minion, when a guerrilla army annihilates fellow citizens or even when the unemployment rate hits all time highs. Bleeding hearts need to gain a better perspective on the world and focus on their own impact and how they can help. And Kudos to Royal Caribbean for sticking to their guns!

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