Port-au-Prince to Receive First (Christian Missionary Group) Cruise Ship

Fran Golden (for USA Today) reports that Haiti’s capital may to receive its first cruise ship in 25 years. However, this does not mean that the country has not been receiving cruise ships at all. As stated in article “Cruise ships still find a Haitian berth” (17 January 2010) there was quite a bit of controversy over the fact that only sixty miles from Haiti’s devastated earthquake zone, luxury liners were still docking at private beaches, for example, the heavily guarded resort of Labadee, “where passengers enjoyed jet-ski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.” But Port-au-Prince itself has not been a port of call for luxury liners; in fact, the cruise ship that Golden is writing about is run by Christian missionary group Praisefest Ministries.

According to the article, Haiti’s Minister of the Interior Thierry Mayard-Paul is hoping for a cruise milestone, the first ship to call at Port-au-Prince in a quarter of a century. Mayard-Paul met last week with officials of a Christian missionary group, Praisefest Ministries, pushing for the group’s Cruise with a Cause to bring volunteers to the Haitian capital in 2013. Apparently, Cruise with a Cause, which has done other missions combining tourism and volunteer work to places including Jamaica, plans to help Port-au-Prince neighborhoods that are still recovering from the January 2010 earthquake.

Maynard-Paul has said that a cruise ship visit would help in “breathing new life” into Haiti’s tourism sector and told Praisefest officials that “When you sail into Port-au-Prince, my friends, you will be making history.” No comment has been made as to the implications of the arrival of a ship bearing around 4,000 Christian missionaries to the capital port; Praisefest hopes to visit Haiti on a 4,000-passenger ship in 2013, but did not name the ship nor announce the dates. I wonder whether the irony will be further underlined by an October 12th arrival.

The Minister of the Interior has stressed that passengers on the cruise to Port-au-Prince would participate in projects that include building homes, repairing schools and installing water purification systems. He also assured Praisefest that the government of Haiti had made the project a priority and is working to evaluate and prepare the port in the capital city for a cruise ship’s arrival.

For original report, see http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/post/2012/02/haiti-capital-could-receive-first-cruise-ship-in-25-years/631388/1?csp=34travel&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsatodaycomTravel-TopStories+%28Travel+-+Top+Stories%29

For 2010 article (and photo), see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/17/cruise-ships-haiti-earthquake

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