Archive for January 18th, 2010


Gaining Some Distance

January 18, 2010

The Guardian has this interesting story on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that docked in Haiti today… to enjoy a beach barbecue.

Sixty miles fromĀ Haiti‘s devastated earthquake zone, luxury liners dock at private beaches where passengers enjoy jetski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.


The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was “sickened”.

“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

“It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving,” said another. “I can’t imagine having to choke down a burger there now.”

I’ll confess, it seems extraordinarily crass for Royal Caribbean to park their luxury liner only 60 miles from the site of such incredible devastation. I might even go so far as to say that it’s wrong.

Much as I feel this way, it’s hard to offer a good reason why.

Indeed, I myself had a few friends over for dinner on Friday. We had a grand old time, boozing it up and noshing on tasty rich-person treats. We scarcely even mentioned Haiti as we gobbled up homemade calamari. Imagine!…

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