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Royal Caribbean Cancels Stops to Labadee, Haiti

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A number of cruise passengers have recently reported changes in their cruise itineraries for this summer thanks to civil unrest in the Caribbean. While cruise travel is a safe way to vacation with most security concerns being handled by the cruise line, it is important to be aware of the dangers and local conflicts of any country that you visit. Read on to get the info on what is currently going on in Haiti and why cruise stops are being canceled. 

Labadee Cancellations

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Due to recent unrest and gang activity in the island nation of Haiti, Royal Caribbean has been canceling stops to the port city of Labadee and rerouting ships to other nearby destinations, or replacing the stop with an additional day at sea, according to RoyalCaribbeanBlog. The blog reports that passengers of upcoming voyages have been receiving notices that their itineraries have changed, most often to Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands. This comes after the US State Department raised the security threat to Level 4 back in July of 2023. Most of the unrest is occurring on the south side of the island, while Labadee is isolated on the north side, which has left RCL feeling comfortable continuing to serve the port. But that has seemingly changed in the past few weeks.

What is Going on in Haiti?

Fires burn in the street of Haiti

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While there has been unrest in Haiti for some time, things took a turn in mid-March when gangs seized the government, resulting in the resignation of the prime minister, a mass prison escape, and 53,000 people fleeing Port-au-Prince. This has led to a state of emergency, as the island’s police force is under equipped to deal with the flood of escaped convicts. The fear for American tourists is that they will be kidnapped for ransom or killed during a robbery. While Labadee is cut off from the rest of Haiti, the escalation of violence still presents a real threat. One that Royal Caribbean can no longer abide by.

Who is Affected?

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Currently, RCL is the only cruise line that ports in Haiti, so this will not be affecting anyone else’s travel plans. As for the Royal Caribbean passengers who are being rerouted, many of those voyages are expected to continue as planned, but without the stop in Labadee, while some have been canceled entirely, according to RoyalCaribbeanBlog. If you have a trip to Haiti that you previously booked, you may be receiving notification of a change in your itinerary. Shore excursions in Labadee can only be booked through RCL, so you can expect a full refund for any previously booked excursions. 

When Will Labadee Return to Service?

A crusie ship docked at Labadee

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No one can predict when the unrest will be resolved, but as this is a major upheaval of their government, it can be expected to go on for some time. Currently, RCL has been canceling stops through September, but it seems likely that they will continue canceling future stops as those dates approach. While this may be disappointing to any looking to visit, it is far more important to protect passengers and it is not worth the risk. Besides, there are plenty of other Caribbean destinations to visit in the meantime. 

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