Cruises are still calling into port in Haiti. Here’s why

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Some 130 miles north of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, which has been gripped by a wave of gang attacks, a private cruise port is receiving guests at a resort with its own security and controlled access.

Royal Caribbean ships are still calling into Labadee — the cruise company’s day-use property located on a peninsula more than six hours drive from Port-au-Prince. The company is monitoring the situation throughout the area, according to a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean.

A US Department of State’s Level 4 travel advisory (“do not travel,” the highest warning level) for the Caribbean nation of Haiti was most recently updated on July 27, 2023, citing “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure,” among the reasons the US State Department has advised against travel to Haiti for some time. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, which has a Level 2, “exercise increased caution” advisory. (Other countries with Level 4 travel advisories include Russia, Syria and Burkina Faso).

In recent days, Haiti has made global headlines for gang violence and, on March 3, a mass prison break in Port-au-Prince led the government to declare a state of emergency after thousands of inmates escaped.  The US Embassy has advised US citizens to depart Haiti as soon as possible.

On the northern coast of the country, 128 miles from Port-au-Prince lies the port of Labadee, a destination accessible only to Royal Caribbean employees and guests. The port is exclusive to Royal Caribbean Group ships, and guests arrive by ship and are required to stay within the resort for the duration of their time on shore.

Which ships are calling on Labadee?

Royal Caribbean has not canceled any calls or sailings visiting Labadee at this time, according to the company’s spokesperson, adding that only guests and employees are permitted on site and the area has private security to limit access.

“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. Our global security teams are closely monitoring the situation in the area. At all times, we remind guests to remain aware of their surroundings while ashore and follow all State Department guidelines. Should any changes be required, guests will be notified directly,” said a Royal Caribbean spokesperson in a statement sent to media outlets, including CNN.

Source: CNN