With continuing unrest and violence in Haiti, Royal Caribbean International has begun notifying booked guests of further cancellations for planned visits to its private destination of Labadee. This follows initial cancellations that began in March and were subsequently extended through May.

Now, impacted guests are reporting that the port of call has been removed for sailings for various ships throughout the summer and even into cruises in August and September.

Royal Caribbean International has been reaching out to booked guests on various cruises to alert them that their sailings will no longer be calling on Labadee, Haiti.

Guests with upcoming cruises on different Royal Caribbean ships – including Adventure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and other ships – have all begun receiving notices that their itineraries are changing. While all of the itineraries are losing Labadee as a port of call, the substitutions vary.

Some sailings will instead be adding a visit to Grand Turk, while others are doubling up with a second visit to Puerto Plata. When no alternative destination is feasible, an extra day at sea is now part of the itinerary.

For example, the June 20, 2024 departure of Liberty of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey will no longer call on Labadaee for the last port of call on the 9-night sailing. Instead, the ship will visit Puerto Plata.

Another ship impacted by the cancellations is Adventure of the Seas. One letter sent out to booked guests was for the August 24, 2024 sailing from Port Canaveral. The ship is visiting Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands instead.

Royal Caribbean said in a letter to guests,Due to the continuing situation in Haiti, we’ll now visit Grnad Turk, Turks & Caicos, instead of Labadee, Haiti. We’re sorry for the change – your safety is our top priority.

Royal Caribbean Ship in Labadee (Photo Credit: Solarisys)

The cruise line said Similarly, the September 21 departure of Adventure of the Seas from Port Canaveral will be calling on Grant Turk rather than Labadee. For both ships, the day in port has not changed, only the location. Times have been adjusted as needed for each impacted itinerary.

As is standard with any cruise line, Royal Caribbean International has the right to cancel or change any port of call to ensure the safety of guests and crew members. Section 7b of the Cruise Ticket Contract clearly states:

“Carrier [the cruise line] may for any reason at any time and without prior notice, cancel, advance, postpone or deviate from any scheduled sailing, port of call, destination, lodging or any activity on or off the Vessel, or substitute another vessel or port of call, destination, lodging or activity.”

Reasons the cruise line may implement such deviations include hostilities, weather, labor conflicts, disease outbreaks, and many other possibilities.

Royal Caribbean is urging guests to contact their travel insurance companies, if applicable, to see about possible compensation, though the cruise line is not offering any compensation other than fully refunding any pre-booked shore tours for the destination.

Royal Caribbean’s Labadee, Haiti (Photo Credit: fitzcrittle / Shutterstock)

With the escalation of violence in Haiti – which includes a major prison break in early March, followed by a state of emergency, the resignation of the prime minister, and other governmental upheavals – it is simply not safe for cruise ships to visit the destination.

While Labadee is located on the island’s north coast, approximately 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital city of Port-Au-Prince, and is a secure location, it is not possible offer cruise guests a full, enriching experience at this time. Shore tours would be strictly limited and local workers might be unable to properly offer service to visitors.

It is important to note that Royal Caribbean International is not giving up or abandoning Labadee. Rather, these cancellations are a temporary measure until the destination is deemed safe and suitable for tourism once again.

In the meantime, several ships are still stopping briefly at Labadee to bring in humanitarian supplies for locals who live and work at the port destination. These visits are quick, secure stops simply to offload supplies and no cruise guests are permitted off the ship at any time. As these are not commercial stops, they are not being advertised, which can also help safeguard port workers at the time of such a delivery.

Supplies such as food, clean water, medical items, generator fuel, and other necessities are likely part of the shipments still being made to Labadee.

It is unlikely that Royal Caribbean would recant on any sailings that have already lost Labadee as a port of call, even if the situation in Haiti were to stabilize soon.

Royal Caribbean Ship in Labadee, Haiti (Photo Credit: Solarisys)

Furthermore, even if the country reaches political settlements, it may be some time before local communities can reduce crime rates and recover services sufficiently to adequately welcome visitors. Though Labadee is isolated from the bulk of the unrest, it is not immune to the regional discontent and the effects of that instability.

Read Also: Labadee, Haiti – What You Need to Know

Guests with sailings booked throughout 2024 that include Labadee should be prepared to have the port of call changed and adjust their cruise expectations accordingly. While it is always possible that cruises toward the end of the year will visit the destination, it is important to be realistic about the challenges of doing so.

Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with all the people impacted by this unfortunate situation, with hopes that Labadee will soon return to the peaceful, vibrant destination so loved by cruise travelers.

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