Royal Caribbean suspends cruises to private beach in Haiti amid violence

Royal Caribbean announced on Thursday that it will cease docking its cruise liners at its private beach in Labadee, Haiti, citing concerns over rampant gang violence and political instability in the country. This decision comes "out of an abundance of caution" amid ongoing challenges.

"Due to the developing situation in Haiti and as a precautionary measure, we are temporarily halting our visits to Labadee for our entire fleet," Assistant Vice President Aurora Yera-Rodriguez stated in a release. We are closely monitoring and evaluating the situation with our Global Security & Intelligence Team."

The suspension of stops will extend for at least the upcoming week, with a rolling basis after that, revealed CEO Michael Bayley.

Citing alerts from the U.S. government, the decision urges all American citizens in Haiti to depart. This follows last week's evacuation of nonessential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, alongside the deployment of Marines for security.

The crisis in Haiti explained

Political instability persists in Haiti following a surge in gang violence last month. Prime Minister Ariel Henry's departure to Kenya to secure a United Nations-backed multinational security force coincided with organized gangs releasing thousands of prisoners.

In Port-au-Prince, armed individuals have ignited police stations and stormed the nation's two largest prisons, facilitating the escape of over 4,000 inmates. 

As of March 10, assailants have targeted, pillaged, or incinerated at least 30 government facilities, over 600 residences and businesses, and nearly 500 public and private vehicles, according to these sources.

Additionally, gangs have besieged neighborhoods, resulting in numerous casualties and rendering over 15,000 individuals homeless. Between February 27 and March 8, over 130 fatalities were reported. During the period spanning February 29 to March 10, officials note that at least 40 gang members were killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.