via NY Daily News
As Haiti reels from the devastating earthquake, luxury cruise ships are creating controversy by dropping off vacationers at private beaches only 60 miles away from the carnage.
Florida’s Royal Caribbean International was docking the 3,100-passenger Navigator of the Seas on Monday so tourists can jet-ski, para-sail and picnic in the sand.
Another ship, the Independence of the Seas, anchored off on Haiti’s north coast on Friday at the resort of Labadee, according to The Guardian. It’s a tony, wooded resort peninsula with five pristine beaches that’s leased from the government and protected by 12-foot fences and armed guards.
The ships have, and will, come loaded with relief supplies, says Royal Caribbean, which has luxury liners scheduled to dock Monday, Tuesday and Thursday bearing more than 100 pallets of supplies each.
“This is equivalent to over three semi-trucks-full two or three times a week,” Royal Caribbean associate vice president John Weis wrote in a blog post to guests.
The vessels are also sending extra lounge chairs, bedding and mattresses to a a gymnasium in Cap Haitian that’s being used as a makeshift hospital.
The decision to bring tourists to sunbathe in Haiti, despite the massive death and destruction, sparked considerable internal debate at Royal Caribbean.