(4:25 p.m. EST) — Passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas were forced to skip a scheduled port stop at the line’s private island of Labadee after Haitian protesters took to the waters around the island.
"When Freedom of the Seas arrived to Labadee, Haiti, the ship encountered a number of locals in small boats staging a protest," Royal Caribbean said in a prepared statement. "Although this protest was peaceful in nature, it was clear that if the protest continued, there would be a significant impact on our guests’ ability to enjoy Labadee. Therefore, Royal Caribbean cancelled Freedom of the Seas’ port call to Labadee."
The ship stayed out to sea.
Cruise Critic member tallcva3344 was onboard Freedom of the Seas when it attempted to dock at Labadee and wrote about it on the Royal Caribbean message board. "Tensions were rising, protesters won. Out of safety the captain is leaving port. Final count of protesters was 14 boats with an average of 25 per boat."
Cruise Critic has no official word what sparked this particular protest, but similar demonstations throughout Haiti are related to a recent round of elections.
Royal Caribbean has not made any decisions about future Labadee calls. The next scheduled port of call is by Navigator of the Seas on January 21.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and are in close communication with local and government officials in Haiti."