Cruise Industry Continues to Help Haiti

March 30, 2010
(3:30 p.m. EST) -- After a flurry of attention and several weeks of whirlwind fundraising, the buzz surrounding the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 -- and Royal Caribbean's controversial decision to continue calls on Labadee in an effort to bring aid to Haitians -- seems to have died down. However, the island is still struggling; aid is coming slowly and people are frustrated and frightened.

So, how has the cruise industry continued to contribute? Shortly after the disaster occurred, cruise line executives discussed the ongoing needs of the country with former President Bill Clinton, the United Nations and other U.S. government officials, and have been working with a number of organizations to facilitate aid to the area. "Donations continue to come in from cruise line passengers, crew, shipboard performers and corporate staff around the world as a result of many fund-raising efforts," Lanie Fagan, director of communications for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents 25 member lines, told Cruise Critic.

We initially reported on the efforts of several cruise companies, all of which have continued to offer support in Haiti.

Here's an update on cruise industry contributions:

Royal Caribbean

Initially, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. -- parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises -- donated $1 million in aid, intending for some of it to reach the families of its employees. (Royal Caribbean employs over 300 Haitians, between those that work at Labadee, its private "island" destination on Haiti visited by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, and those that serve aboard its ships.) After learning that relief was slow to arrive, the RCCL contacted Compassion for Alliance and has also been able to deliver 250 "care packages" directly to those individuals. The packages included tents, tarps, medical supplies, diapers, food and drink, much of which was specifically requested by those in need. So far, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises combined, have delivered 2,425 pallets of supplies -- a hefty 121 truckloads.

Norwegian Cruise Line

In addition to raising more than $103,000 by matching employee donations dollar-for-dollar, NCL hosted a supply drive that resulted in the successful delivery of 16 pallets of clothing, bedding, canned food and bottled water. In February, an additional five pallets of supplies including 1,000 linen items was donated by Norwegian Jewel, and Norwegian Dawn sent along 50 mattresses.

Disney Cruise Line

The immediate efforts of the Walt Disney Company included a donation of $100,000 to the Red Cross International Fund. Over the past two months, the cruise line itself partnered with CLIA and FCCA to bring bottled water to the region, crewmembers have made $16,000 in personal contributions, which were matched by the company, and more than 400 cast members from Walt Disney World Resort (including Disney Cruise Line's shoreside cast) volunteered to answer calls during the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon that was aired on ABC (also owned by Disney).

Carnival Corporation

Carnival Corporation -- parent company to 11 cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises -- donated $5 million to Haiti immediately following the earthquake.

Since then, individual lines have contributed to the relief effort. For instance, Carnival Cruise Lines has sent assistance in the form of 2,000 pounds of relief supplies including water, blankets, diapers, protein bars and non-perishable foods. Employees of the cruise line have also organized a number of fundraisers and passengers have contributed through their shipboard accounts.

--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer