Haiti-Caribbean News Network reports that Haiti will require Royal Caribbean cruise passenger to pay an extra two dollars to visit the cruise line’s "private destination" in Labadee.

The extra money, to be paid by the cruise passengers and not the cruise line, is intended to fund social projects benefiting the local community.

Effective March 15, 2015, cruise passenger will pay $12 a piece instead of the $10 being paid now. 

Royal Caribbean has invested virtually nothing into the local community over the past 20 years. Royal Labadee - Royal CaribbeanCaribbean built a modest little school four years ago, which it named after itself.  The school was built using materials donated by third parties and cost only around $425,000. 

With around 600,000 cruise passengers visiting Labadee a year, that turns out to be only a little over seventy cents a person for the school.  The cruise line has been criticized for erecting a barb-wire fence around the resort to keep the Haitians out (photo right), and not providing food for the children at the school or transportation to transport the children safely there.

On the other hand, Royal Caribbean has spent tens of millions of dollars in labadee building a deep water port, a huge zip-line and other improvements for its passengers.

Haiti’s Prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, announced last month that he agreed to permit Carnival to develop the island of Tortuga in a deal that sounds like the Royal Caribbean-Haiti deal in Labadee. 


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Photo Credit: Rudbeckia Flickr Photostream "A Haitian view of Labadee"

  • Tim

    With all the corruption in Haiti, I hope this extra money actually goes to where it will benefit the locals and not line the pockets of the elite. I have significant doubt it will.

  • JP

    Wow, add some banana plantations to this story, and it sounds a lot like what United Fruit did back in the day in Honduras and Guatemala. UF even offered cruises on their shipping vessels once, where Americans could see an idealized sliver of life on a banana plantation (while most of the reality was walled out).

    I was never interested in taking a cruise, but after stumbling across this site last year after reading about the infamous “poop cruise,” I have learned ample good reasons not to develop an interest — even if I were to have a good experience, the fact that these cruise lines take advantage of poor populaces and governments that frequently function against their peoples’ best interests is troubling. And not something that ever crossed my mind until I read it here. RC has not only managed to build a wall to keep the Haitians out of “Paradise,” but the wall keeps the passengers from seeing the ugly reality behind the facade.

  • Joe Martin

    Just looking for clafification here…

    In the post you say the tax is “intended to fund social projects benefiting the local community”. This is as opposed to simply saying the tax is “intended to fund projects benefiting the local community”.

    What exactly is a social project, and how does it differ from a regular project?

  • Mark Richardson

    We were on the independence of the seas that docked at labasee the day after the earthquake hit Haiti 5-6 years ago, Royal Caribbean filled the hold of the ship with Relief Supplies in Puerto Rico the day before to assist the island. Certainly RCI might be able to do more but it’s also hard to document all the instances in which they have benefitted the island by their presence at Labadee.

  • cruise expert

    I wouldn’t bother! The place is a dump anyway, imagine going to Euro Disney to see france

  • cruise expert

    I wouldn’t bother! The place is a dump anyway, imagine going to Euro Disney to see france

  • If only the money flow could be tracked to ensure the funding went to the people in need. I’m not sure if the projects are outlined for the general public to view.