Labadee Royal Caribbean’s private island, part of Haiti, is a lush mountainous tropical paradise. See our Photo Gallery of Labadee. While Haiti seems like a third world country still, this Royal Caribbean owned and controlled island is safe and secure for cruise ship visitors. The beautiful turquoise blue waters meet soft sparkly sand and lush greenery leading up to dramatic hills. I recommend you be in the ship’s fitness room or on the upper deck for the ship’s arrival to Labadee to see the approach of this large and dramatic island. A long cruiship dock leads to paths – a big open beach to the left and several more private cove beaches to the right, plus a waterpark and private beach cabanas.
Since Labadee is owned by Royal Caribbean, your sea pass card is all you need to gain entry, to get off and back on the boat, no need for passport, credit cards or even money – though bring a little cash for local tips and shopping. It also means your lunch is provided by the ship, and your drink package is valid on island too. There are a few fun excursions on Labadee that you can book on the ship or once on island, inducing zip-lining from a mountaintop over the beach, called Dragon’s Flight. You can grent a speed boat or jet ski, of go to the waterpark and ride the Dragon’s Tail mountain coaster. Kids will like the water slides and inflated water toys in Labadee’s water park.
Since this island is so beautiful, I recommend getting a beach chair under a big grape tree, or a beach cabana for $225, and just relax by the brilliant water. Take a dip in the perfectly pleasant water when you need a salt water refresher from the sun. Restrooms and showers are just steps from the beach and well attended by local Labadee ladies. Bring cash, US dollars are fine and go a long way, to offer to the proud locals working the beach, they will set up chairs for you and offer floating mats or kayaks. There is a local market where they sell handcrafted woodwork, island jewelry, lace dresses and handbags, but be warned – they are aggressive in their sales approach. Okay, desperate. Remember Haiti was devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and an earthquake in 2010, from which they are still rebuilding.
Royal Caribbean serves a nice barbeque lunch beachside in a cabana, burgers, ribs, barbeque chicken with fruit and potato salad, rice and beans, and desserts, food that they bring from the ship. Labadee is French speaking, the island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and remained Spanish as “La Isla Espnaola” until its current French occupation.
As you depart Labadee, be on the top deck to sail away with a fantastic view of this special place, perhaps with a sunset as ships typically visit Labadee with a 9am arrival and 4 or 5pm departure. Like Royal Caribbean’s Castaway Key, Labadee is a very pleasant port of call – like Disneyland in the islands, or Fantasy Island without the jet plane – just cruise boats arriving daily.Photo Gallery of Labadee
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