Labadee

Spotlight: Labadee beach beds

In:
Category: 
26Jun2015

There is so much to do on Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee, and for many guests, the opportunity to relax on the beach is at the top of the priority list.

Photo by Royal Caribbean

At the end of Adrenaline Beach, you will find beach beds that offer guests the opportunity to relax with the utmost comfort while remaining on the beach.  There are also shades you can pull around all sides of the bed to give you shade or privacy.

From your beach bed, you can relax in comfort as the ocean breeze passes by you, with a great view of Dragon's Beach.

Included in the rental of a beach bed are two floating beach mats, water cooler with 4 bottles of water, beach towels and a cabana attendant.

The price for a beach bed is $195.

Will you be renting a beach bed on your next stop in Labadee? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Tour: Cabanas in Labadee

In:
06Jun2015

Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee is considered by many to be a true paradise.  From the water color to the lush surroundings, there is a lot to love about a day in Labadee.

One of the most sought after amenities on Labadee are the cabanas that are available to rent at Barefoot Beach Club and Nellie's Beach.  Today, we're showing off exactly why so many guests love to rent one for themselves and secure their private part of paradise.

Cabanas in Labadee come in a few different varieties and this one is an over the water cabana.

Each cabana can accommodate up to 4-5 guests comfortably.

Despite not being on the beach, there is direct access from the cabana to the ocean.

Cabanas come with waiter service, so you are never too far from a Labadoozie!

The views from the cabana are hard to beat!

There are cabanas all around and guests in the ocean, so you are never far from the fun.

We hope you enjoyed this little tour of the Labadee cabanas!

Have you stayed in a cabana on Labadee? Do you want to stay in one? Please let us know in the comments!

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise: Labadee

In:
Category: 
15Jan2015

In just a matter of weeks, I will be going on my next Royal Caribbean cruise, and I want to take you along for the planning of my cruise with what my plans are for shore excursions.  I hope this will give you some insight into my thought process and perhaps this will assist you for planning your next Royal Caribbean cruise too.

Today, we are going to look at excursion ideas for one of our stops on Quantum of the Seas 8-night cruise, Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee.

Background

Labadee is a private "island" that Royal Caribbean leases from Haiti and it's one of my favorite places to visit for it's sheer beauty.

Labadee was designed to be the perfect destination relax and enjoy the beach.  There's a little shopping and some quaint cultural options but if you're going to Labadee, it's for the beach experience.

I've been to Labadee three or four times now and it seems like I always do the same thing: grab a spot on the beach and enjoy.  There's nothing wrong with that but I would like to try something else besides just a swim and getting a tan.

When I began doing research into what's available to do besides just swimming, I quickly remembered why I primarily just did the beach thing and that's the cost of the other activities. I would not characterize the options as prohibitively expensive but it does give me pause.  

The Options

After some looking around Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner app, I came up with these excursion ideas.

Dragon's Tail Coaster

A few years ago, Royal Caribbean built an alpine coaster that descends down to the beach from a 680-foot height.  

Photo by drum881

It's set on Santa Maria's lookout mountain and promises a 30 miles per hour ride with 360-degree turns.  There's a great view at the top and along the way, along with a little thrill.

A single ride costs $26 and an all-day pass costs $36, so if I were to ride more than once I would "break even" on the cost.  Of course, the question is how many times would I really want to ride.  If I were to ride three times, would I just be riding three times to get my money's worth or would I genuinely find it something I'd want to do again and again.

Pros: Something new to try; Fairly inexpensive

Cons: All-day pass may not be worth it

Dragon's Splash Waterslide

I actually was not aware this was an option until I looked over the excursions.  Dragon's Splash Waterslide is an almost 300-foot slide that drops you into an 18-foot splash zone.  

Photo by TravnKC

It's hard to describe this anymore than I have, after all, it's a waterslide! They are fun but is it something I really need to try?  I've also heard that the metal can get hot in the sun (it's made out of stainless steel).

Pros: I haven't met a waterslide that wasn't fun to go down

Cons: $24 for one ride is rather pricey. 

Dragon's Breath Flight Line Tour

If you ask me, this is the pièce de résistance of Labadee. This 2,600 foot zip line gives you arguably the best view of Labadee as you zoom over the beaches of Labadee.

Photo by kbmay1

Custom-made safari vehicles bring you 500 feet above the beach to the zip line that will take you over Labadee at a speed of up 50 50 miles per hour and end up at Dragon's Breath Rock.

I've always wanted to try this but the primary reason I have not is because this excursion costs $96.  

Most people I've talked to that have tried it have said it was not worth the money but they did think it was something you had to try once.

Pros: Always wanted to try this: Unparalleled views of Labadee

​Cons: Expensive

Labadee Parasailing Experience

As I was thinking about that zip line tour, I ran across the parasailing option that offers a similar experience form slightly less money.

Photo by Leandro Rizzi dos Santos

The Labadee Parasailing Experience will bring you 400 feet above the ocean to enjoy a bird's eye view of Labadee and the surrounding area.

Unlike the zip line, there's a wider angle of Labadee to enjoy and you also get a speed boat ride in addition to just parasailing.

My primary concern is because of a bad parasailing experience I had once.  I have gone parasailing twice and one time the seas were rather rough and the speed boat was rocking quite a bit and a few people got sea sick to the point of "feeding the fishes".  It was miserable despite the fun time in the air.

Pros: Slightly cheaper than zip line

Cons: Bad prior experience; Parasailing happens away from Labadee

Labadee Cataway at Malfini

In an effort to consider something much different, I ran across another option I had no idea existed with a beach break at a remote beach near Labadee.

Photo by Colleen Travis

Royal Caribbean offers a quiet getaway at Malfini, which evidently far enough from Labadee to offer a private beach experience but close enough to be convenient.

Royal Caribbean describes it as a "secret paradise" with white sands in a remote cove.  There's floating mats available and "Malfini Punch" to try.

This sounds interesting but I keep wondering why I would go to a beach when Labadee is a great beach and free.  

Pros: Remote beach experience away from the crowds

Cons: Extra cost to do something I can do at Labadee for nothing extra

The Decision

After considering my options, I've ended up choosing: Dragon's Tail Coaster & Dragon's Breath Flight Line Tour.

Despite my earlier assertion that I wanted to try new things, I also wanted to have time to actually sit on Labadee and have a Labadoozie (or two) and enjoy the beach in addition to what I picked.  

I feel like the zip line and coaster are good choices of things to try at least once and are also of greatest interest to blog readers, who may be interested in trying the same thing.

If money wasn't a concern, I would probably include the water slide too but I just can't justify the cost for one ride.  

I think my choices will give me a taste of something different while still leaving me plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful beaches Labadee offers.

Haiti raises fee to Royal Caribbean passengers by $2

In:
Category: 
19Aug2014

The Haitain government announced it has reached a deal with Royal Caribbean to raise the fee the cruise line pays the country for each cruise passenger that visits Labadee by $2.  The additional revenue will fund social projects benefiting the local community.

Royal Caribbean operates a private resort on the peninsula that its cruise ships visit.

Haiti's Prime minister, Laurent Lamothe met with Royal Caribbean's COO, Adam Goldstein, and negotiated the new fee that will pay $12 US per visitor instead of the $10 US paid so far. The agreement will begin starting on March 15, 2015.

About 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Labadie site in 2013.

The Haitian Prime minister said he urged Royal Caribbean to also invite cruise passengers to visit a number of touristic sites in surrounding areas, such as the Sans Souci Palace, at Milot, and the Citadelle, a UNESCO world heritage Fortress built nearly two centuries ago, near Cap-Haitien.

Haitian authorities also announced a series of measures to increase security and set up or repair basic infrastructure in targeted areas to facilitate the excursion which will be offered to visitors.

Hat tip to Cruise Law News for alerting us to this story.

What you need to know about Labadee Cabanas

In:
Category: 
24Jul2014

If you're going to Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee and intersted in renting a cabana, here's a guide to what you need to know about renting your own cabana.

How much are the cabanas?

  • Nellie's Beach cabanas
    • Over water cabana: $495
    • Beach or Hiltop cabana: $350
  • Barefoot Beach cabanas (available to suite guests only)
    • Over the water cabana: $250
    • Beach cabana: $175

Who are cabanas good for

The cabanas at Labadee are perfect for someone who is planning on spending the whole day on Labadee and wants to have a a private beach experience.

What's included

  • Private ocean view cabana rental for the full day
  • Furnished with 2 luxurious resort-style lounge chairs & a sofa
  • Four bottles of water (in a cooler)
  • Floating beach mats and snorkeling gear.
  • Towels for your use during the day
  • Barefoot Beach cabanas have a private beach only for cabana rental guests

How to rent the cabanas

Cabanas may be rented online prior to your cruise through Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner section.  

Suite guests get first access to the cabanas but we have seen access for non-suite guests to book cabanas online.  Suite guests may also email their concierge prior to your cruise to reserve one.

You may also go to the Explorations (shore excursions) desk onboard your Royal Caribbean ship and put your name down on a list.  It's best to put your name down as soon as possible for the best chance at getting a cabana.

In regards to the online system, make sure you are only selecting one person in your party when making the reservation online. Don't worry, the rest of your group will be allowed in as the reservation is good for up to 6 people.

What's the difference between Nellie's Beach cabanas and Barefoot Beach cabanas?

Barefoot beach is reserved for suite guests only, where as Nellies is open to everyone.  As a result, the beach is far more crowded (relatively speaking) at Nellie's Beach.

In addition, those at Nellie's Beach will be escorted over to Barefoot Beach for the private lunch buffet. Your cabin attendant will inform you when it is time and walk you over.

Blog reader Tony mentioned a new policy for those that have cabanas at Nellie's Beach. Nellie's Beach cabana rentals do not have access to the private lunch buffet at Bearfoot Beach. If you booked before October of last year you were eligible after that Nellie's Beach cabanas use the regular buffet areas.

Royal Caribbean Blog Episode 4: Labadee

In:
Category: 
28Aug2013

Howdy fellow Royal Caribbean fans!  Exciting news today for all you commuters, walkers, runners, gym-goers, and other assorted podcast listeners!

The Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is back with another fun episode! The 4th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and ready for downloading!

In this episode, Matt talks about everything Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee has to offer, including the beaches, what there is to do there and the food and drink available.  We're also sharing listener feedback and inviting everyone to share their first Royal Caribbean cruise experience.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 4. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

First timer's guide to Labadee

In:
Category: 
20Aug2013

Royal Caribbean is known for its amazing cruise ships but another Royal Caribbean creation is worthy of equal admiration, the private destination of Labadee.  Located in Haiti, this "island" (it's actually a peninsula) is a private retreat for Royal Caribbean guests who sail western Caribbean itineraries.  Featuring beautiful beaches, shopping and lots of activities, Labadee is a great beach destination.  

For those who will take their first trip to Labdee, here's a primer to get you ready for this beautiful island paradise.

Getting around Labadee

Labadee is fairly easy to navigate, but it helps to know what to expect before you arrive.  Your ship will dock at the pier, so getting on and off Labadee is quite simple.  

Once on shore, you will find Labadee broken up into a few different areas.

  • Dragon's Plaza
    • This is where you enter/leave Labadee from the dock and is named after Dragon's Breath, a rocky cove near the ocean that sounds like a dragon when the ocean hits the rocks.
  • Buccaneer's Bay
    • This where you go to embark on most acquatic excursions, such as jet skiing, parasailing and more.  You can also book excursions here.
  • Barefoot Beach Club
    • Private beach for suite guests that features cabanas for rent.
  • Town Square
    • Many of the restaurants, bars and other facilities are found in this area.
  • Adrenaline Beach
    • Beach located underneath the zipline and in front of the roller coaster.  
  • Columbus Cove
    • Beach area that has water toys, such as the floating mat and aqua park

The Beaches

By far, the number one reason to go to Labadee is to spend time at the beach.  Labadee has a number of beaches for you to try and there isn't any bad beach, but which beach you go to may depend on what you're interested in doing on your day.

In our experience, we've found the beaches to be swimmable but a little rocky.  It may be easier (and less painful) if you bring water shoes with you so you can avoid worrying about the rocks.  

Dragon Tail Beach

The largest stretch of beach is on the north shore of the peninsula and spans nearly the entire width of the peninsula.  This beach is fairly centrally located and offers good surf, swimming and snorkeling.  

There are no water toys here, so it's best for those who want to relax and enjoy what the beach has to offer.  Because it's centrally located and fairly close to the pier, it tends to be the most crowded.

Loungers and sun shelters are available for rent.

Barefoot Beach Club

This beach area is reserved for guests who have booked cabanas, which is usually available to guests who are suite guests.  We have had luck in the past showing up to the beach early and requesting to rent a unbooked cabanas.

The beach is fenced off from the rest of Labadee and in addition to the open-air cabanas, offers waiter service to each cabana.  In addition, there is private beach access for guests admitted to the Barefoot Beach Club area.

The cost of a cabana at Barefoot Beach is $225-250, depending on location.  Each cabana can accommodate four to five guests. The daily rental fee includes a dedicated cabana attendant, complimentary bottled water, complimentary floating mats and snorkeling equipment, a beverage menu (prices charged accordingly), and an upgraded lunch menu at the private BBQ facility.

Nellie's Beach

Located adjacent to Barefood Beach, Nellie's Beach is a small cove that also has cabanas (16 at last count) for rent.

The daily rental fee for cabanas on Nellie’s Beach is $175-200, depending on location.

Columbus Cove

If you want to water toys with your beach day, then this is the place for you.  Columbus Cove features the Arawak Aqua Park along with Dragon’s Splash Waterslide.  

Columbus Cove runs along the the southern part of the peninsula. The beach water is sheltered and there is a white sandy beach with trees that go down to the water's edge. This area has its own bar and dining facility.

Adrenaline Beach

If you want a more secluded beach experience, Adrenaline Beach generally has the least guests because it is the furthest beach from the ship and has no water toys.  

Unlike nearby Dragon Tail Beach, there are no barrier rocks to block the ocean so the surf here can be stronger. As such, Royal Caribbean lists this beach more for sunbathing than swimming.

Loungers and sun shelters are available for rent.

Eating on Labadee

Like onboard Royal Caribbean's ships, there is complimentary food offered on Labadee, although the availability is limited to certain hours.  In addition, waiter and bar service is available throughout the island.

Lunch is available at a number of locations throughout the island, although the food is mostly the same barbecued meats and salads.  Lunch is served buffet style.

Since your cruise ship is docked, getting back on the ship is relatively easy and we suggest going back to the ship for lunch because of the better quality food available there, as well as shorter lines.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the labadoozie.  You will see and hear references to this drink all over.  The labadoozie is the official drink of Labadee and is a frozen alcoholic drink that features a number of fruit juices and rum, served in a sports drink bottle.  You can also order the drink without alcohol.  Haing a labadoozie while in Labadee is a must-do!

Things to do on Labadee

Royal Caribbean offers a number of activities for its guests to try on their cruise and there's usually something to suit each taste.

Dragon's Tail Roller Coaster

Located 680 feet up on Santa Maria’s lookout mountain, you will find the Dragon's Tail roller coaster, which is an alpine coaster.  You may have seen these sort of rides at some ski resorts during the summer months. 

Essentially it's a single car vehicle that races down a track at 30 miles per hour and features 360-degree turns as well as dips, waves and curves, you can catch glimpses of the ocean.

Minimum age to be a single rider is 12 years old. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 may ride in the same cart with their parent/guardian. Maximum occupancy per cart is 2 persons with a maximum combined weight of 360 pounds. Total ride time is approximately 3-5 minutes.

Dragon's Breath Zip Line

If you want to soar above Labadee and get a spectacular view in the process, then the Dragon's Breath Zip Line is for you.  The zip line takes you 500 feet above the beach as you reach speeds of 40-50 miles per hour.

The zip line is 2,600 feet long and begins atop lookout mointain.  The zip line is advertised as one of the longest zip lines in the world, and will take you above the ocean and land.  Your flight lands at Dragon's Breath Rock.

Arawak Aqua park

For kids, it's touch to beat the water park available at Columbus Cove.  Floating trampolines, pyramids and water slides await you as you jump, climb and splash to your heart's content.

Admission to Arawak is limited by times, which helps keep crowding issues down. We've generally found the cost here to be fairly inexpensive and a great way for kids to burn off extra energy.

Dragon's Breath Point

Not everything in Labadee requires an adrenaline rush, and a prime example of this is Dragon's Breath Point.  As the water flows in and out among the rocks, you hear a "hissing" noise that sounds like "dragon's breath".  What's happening is the air is compressed in small caves under the rocks and is forced out through cracks in the rocks. It is worth the walk to hear it.

The surrounding area is quite beautiful and you should bring a camera to snap a few photos of the beautiful vistas you will find here.

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