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Backlash over cruise ship docked in Haiti

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By now, most of us have seen and heard about the profound devastation and suffering wrought upon Haiti last week after a massive earthquake. So you'd probably think there's no way that cruising tourists could have returned to frolicking on Haiti's beaches mere miles from where people are trapped beneath the rubble of a decimated city. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.
On Sunday, the Guardian reported that Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is docking ships at the "picturesque wooded peninsula" known as Labadee, which it leases on Haiti's northern coast. At Labadee, passengers "enjoy jetski rides, parasailing, and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks." The British paper also reported that passengers can spend their time "shopping for trinkets at a craft market" while armed guards stand at the entry to the complex to guarantee their safety.

Despite the fact that the ships have delivered relief supplies to the island, some passengers on the ships are reportedly "sickened" over the decision to dock there. One passenger took to an Internet message board to protest the idea of vacationing where "tens of thousands of dead people are being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water."

When Royal Caribbean announced its decision to resume stops at Labadee last week, a company executive cited the economic importance of the resort to the local citizens as well as the opportunity to deliver much-needed supplies.

"We also have tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti," said associate vice president John Weis. "Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most."

Still, Royal Caribbean, which recently raised eyebrows when it announced that it's organizing a "cougar cruise" for older single women, has been catching heat from all corners on their decision, prompting company CEO Adam Goldstein to post a defense of the company on their website. Saying that he is "proud of what our people and our ships are doing," Goldstein writes:

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