It's hard to fathom that such pain and misery is in such close proximity to joy and paradise, but that is the situation the South Florida cruise line has placed itself in by decided to continue to send cruise ships to its private island of Labadee.
Now critics and bloggers are taking aim to sink the cruise line for its decision.
One blogger wrote: "As the song says- there is a time for every season-would you want people frolicking at the cemetery, while you are laying your loved ones to rest - staying on board ship while it is in Haiti, would be for me even worse-as I would feel even more helpless, so close and yet immobilized to help-I'd feel compelled to go and jump ship to help with the rescue efforts.”
Royal Caribbean officials argue the ships are doing the struggling nation a service by bringing much-needed money and supplies to the ravaged area. The cruise line plans to donate at least $1 million to the relief effort and has used its ships to bring in food and other supplies while still dropping customers on white sandy beaches.
Since the earthquake hit Jan. 12, two cruise ships have docked at Labadee. A third ship is expected to bring guests on Friday, even as Haitians pick up the pieces from a massive after shock that hit the area on Thursday.
Other cruise lines have declined to continue a Haiti itinerary, but none have a private island like Royal Caribbean. The port at Port-au-Prince was virtually destroyed making it near impossible for aid to be delivered by boat, let alone frolicking tourists.
But you fight bloggers with your own blog and that's what CEO Adam Goldstein did.
"Being on the island and generating economic activity for the straw market vendors, the hair-braiders and our 230 employees helps with relief while being somewhere else does not help," Goldstein wrote on the company's blog. "The north is going to bear a good part of the burden of the agony of the south, and the more economic support there is to the north, the better able the north will be to bear this burden. People enjoying themselves is what we do. People enjoying themselves in Labadee helps with relief."
But the company's charitable efforts are overshadowed by the image of cruise guests enjoying themselves, while hundreds of thousands of Haitians struggle to find medical care, food, water or shelter.
Thousands of unidentified bodies are being buried in mass graves as rescue workers continue to pull dead bodies from rubble. Supplies have been hard-pressed to make it to those that need them and young children have been left to fend for themselves.
"I won't feel right flying down a zip line or lounging on the beach when thousands of people are suffering not far from me," read one post on CruiseCritic.com, a cruise review website.