Labadee

What you need to know about snorkeling on Royal Caribbean's Labadee

In:
10Dec2015

There is so much to do on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee and snorkeling is something a lot of guests look to try.

Labadee's clear and calm waters are great for giving snorkeling a try, and if you are interested in going snorkeling on your next visit, here is what you need to know.

Can I rent snorkeling gear on Labadee?

Guests cannot go to Labadee and rent snorkeling gear on the island, but guests can get snorkeling gear via any of the snorkeling excursions.

On many Royal Caribbean ships, there will be snorkeling gear to purchase onboard the ship.

Guests staying in a cabana will receive complimentary snorkeling gear to use.

Can I bring my own snorkeling gear?

Yes, guests can bring their own snorkeling gear to Labadee for use in the water.

How "good" is the snorkeling at Labadee?

While the ocean water is clear and fairly calm at Labadee, the snorkeling in the areas immediately surrounding the beach do not have a great deal of underwater sea life to see.

The excursions Royal Caribbean offers brings guests to some of the better spots nearby for snorekling, where there is more to underwater life to see.

Given Labadee is often the first port stop, veteran snorkelers often use Labadee as a chance to check their snorkel gear to make sure it all worked properly.  For those new to snorkeling, Labadee can be a great place for getting some practice in before snorkeling in other ports.

The real benefit of Labadee is that the ocean depth is pretty shallow. Often, you will be swimming in water of 1' to 5' of water, which is much shallower than other snorkeling ports and allows  to swim around coral in many places.

There is a lot of coral and a good variety of fish. There are lots of urchins including some big basketball size ones. It is a unique experience you don't get at the other places.

Where is the snorkeling?

The snorkeling area is off of Adrenaline Beach, on the north east side.

Getting there is fairly simple and about a 10 minute walk once on Labadee. Guests can follow the path or take the tram to bring you closer.

There is also some decent snorkeling at Nellie's beach, closest to the rope on the ship side.

What are some tips for anyone looking to snorkel at Labadee?

  • Go early for optimal water conditions. As the day progresses, the water can get hazy due to guests kicking up the sand.
  • Due to the rockiness, be sure to wear water shoes or fins.

Have you gone snorkeling in Labadee? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Royal Caribbean raises prices of Labadee cabanas and beach beds

In:
Category: 
23Oct2015

Royal Caribbean has raised the price of its Nellie's Beach cabanas as well as the beach beds on its private destination of Labadee.

Prices posted on Cruise Planner show the beach cabanas at Nellie's Beach have gone from $350 to $395.  

There has been no change in the price for the the over the water cabanas at Nellie's Beach, which are still $495.

Royal Caribbean raised the price of these cabanas last month, when the price went from $250 to $350.

In addition, the relatively new Labadee beach beds have also seen a price increase, from $175 to $195.

Tip of the hat to Royal Caribbean Blog reader WAAAYTOOO for alerting us to this news!

Will you book a cabana or beach bed on Labadee? Tell us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean raises the price of Labadee cabanas

In:
Category: 
23Sep2015

Royal Caribbean raised the prices for its private cabanas that guests can rent on its private destination of Labadee.

Prices posted on Cruise Planner jumped to

  • $350 for beach cabanas at Nellie's Beach (old price was $250)
  • $495 for over the water cabanas at Nellie's Beach (old price was $320)

The price change appears to be effective starting with 2016 reservations.

In comparisson, Disney Cruise Line offers somehwat similar cabanas on its private island of Castaway Cay that can be rented for $549 per day on the Family Beach or for $399 on the Serenity Bay Beach.

Tip of the hat to Alisa of the Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society Facebook group for alerting us to this news!

UPDATE: It appears the price increase is for Nellie's Beach cabanas only.  Prices at Barefoot Beach, which are available to suite guests only, remains unchanged.  The standard Barefoot Beach cabanas are $175 and the over the water Barefoot Beach cabanas are $250. Thanks to blog reader Stephanie for confirming the information.

Are you planning on booking a cabana on Labadee? Tell us in the comments if you will book a cabana!

The Ultimate Checklist: 8 things you must do at Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee

In:
Category: 
31Aug2015

Royal Caribbean's private peninsula of Labadee is a small piece of paradise that guests sailing on select Caribbean itineraries will be able to enjoy.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has added quite a bit of activities and fun opportunities to this private enclave.  

Here are ten things to keep you busy on your next at Labadee.

8. Take the tram

Once you get to Labadee, there is quite a lot to do and many beaches to choose from.  Guests can easily walk to any of these spots but when the sun is shining brightly or you need a break, consider using the tram.

Royal Caribbean provides complimentary tram service that will take you all around the peninsula and for those looking for a quieter beach experience, the tram is your ticket to reaching the furthest beaches.

The trams make continuous circles of their route and so the wait is never that long once the trams start running.

Feel free to hop on the tram and take a "grand circle tour" of the island for fun and get a chance to see all the different spots on Labadee without exhausting yourself with all that walking.

7. Dragon's Breath Flight Line

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean heralds the Dragon's Breath Flight Line as the world's longest zip-cable over water and it is as impressive to ride down as it is to look at from the ground.

If you are looking to do the shore excursion that Labadee is known for, then this zip line is perfect for you.

Royal Caribbean says guests will reach speeds of 40-50 miles per hour as they soar over the beaches of Labadee and the view you will get is unparalleled.

You will have a chance to practice on a smaller zip line first before taking a truck up the mountain to the flight line starting point.  Odds are your palms will get a little sweaty in anticipation but it's an amazing experience all the way down!

6. Cabanas

If you ever get the chance to try the cabanas at Labadee, they are a must-do!

Royal Caribbean offers Cabanas at two of its beaches on Labadee: Barefoot Beach and Nellie's Beach.

Each cabana offers up to six guests a number of amenities including lounge chairs and a sofa, complimentary bottles of water, floating beach mats, snorkeling gear, towels and more.

In short, the cabanas are a great way to have a private beach experience in a gorgeous setting.

Cabanas are available to suite guests, however, many non-suite guests have had success in reserving cabanas on a first-come, first-served basis by going to the Explorations (shore excursions) desk onboard their Royal Caribbean ship and putting their name down on a list.

5. Beach Beds

Photo by Royal Caribbean

For a less expensive way to relax on Labadee, try the new beach beds.

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.

These beach beds offer guests the opportunity to relax on the beach in a lot of comfort.  In terms of napping spots, it does not get much better than this.

4. Visit the Artisan's Village

Photo by Franco Caruzzo

Bringing home a little piece of Labadee is a great souvenir and the Artisan's Village has a lot of locals selling various hand-made creations that you can purchase.

You will find wood carvings, neclackes, paintings, t-shirts and more available to purchase.

Whether you buy something or not, looking at the various gifts for sale can be a nice break from the beach.

3. Dragon's Breath Point

For something a little off the beaten path, try Dragon's Breath Point.

Located on the far left side of Labadee (if you are on the dock), Dragon's Breath Point is an area to hang out and watch the zip line but there is also a near natural effect to enjoy.

 As the water flows in and out among the rocks, you hear a "hissing" noise that sounds like "dragon's breath".  It may just be air being compresed in small caves under the rocks, but it's a neat spot to enjoy.

In fact, the area surrounding the rocks is quite beautiful as well and is a great spot for some photos.

2. Dragon's Tail Roller Coaster

The alpine coaster found in Labadee is something unique to any cruise line's private island.  

Guests can ride the Dragon's Tail Roller Coaster from 680 feet above sea level and race down the mountain at speeds of 30 miles per hour.

Like the zip line, Drago's Tail offers some great views of the beaches below.  It's also a much longer ride down the zip line, so there is time to enjoy the views you will get as you dip and curve around the mountain.

If you are considering going on Dragon's Tail, invest in the all-day pass that costs a little bit more money, but will get you plenty of opportunities to get a glimpse of Labadee as you zip down.

1. Labadoozie

My absolute favorite thing about Labadee has to be enjoying their signature drink, the Labadoozie.

The Labadoozie is a frozen alcoholic beverage that is served in a cup or souvenir mug.  It's a combination of a few fruit juices, rum and ice that combine to form the perfect concoction for a day at the beach.

You can purchase Labadoozies from any of the bars, but often you will spot Royal Caribbean waiters walking around the beach selling these drinks.  

For kids, you can order the Labadoozie without alcohol so the whole family can enjoy the experience!

What are your favorite things to do on Labadee? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Excursion Focus: Zipline at Labadee

In:
02Jul2015

Perhaps no other shore excursion on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee is as exciting and well-known as the Dragon's Breath Flight Line zip line. It has become synonymous with the island and offers guests the opportunity to soar through the air above Labadee at speeds of 40-50 mph.

Description

Dragon's Breath Flight Line will take you to a point 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee and then send you down a zip line that is longer than 2,600 feet.  The zip line is visible from nearly everywhere on the island and it offers some incredible views.

After checking in for the excursion, the staff will suit you up with the right harness for you and then present a short safety video to explain the basics of riding a zip line.

Because zip lines are heavily reliant on staying safe, guests are escorted to a shorter "Little Dragon" flight line, where you can work on the basics with far less risk.

While at the shorter zip line, the staff will demonstrate the basics of what to do and then allow you to try it out.  It's a good primer of what to expect and it gives guests an opportunity to work on their technique.

After that, you will board a truck and you will be on your way up the mountain to fly the real thing.  The truck ride can be fairly bumpy, due to the road conditions.

Once at the top of the mountain, the process is similar to the Little Dragon flight line and you are prepared to go and then sent on your way.

From start to finish, the excursion will take around an hour to complete and the views you will get from the top of Labadee are unparalleled.  There are views of the beaches, the coast of Haiti and your Royal Caribbean ship.

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Dragon's Breath Flight Line is open to guests at least 48 inches tall and cannot weigh more than 275 pounds.

Comments

Dragon's Breath Flight Line is a real adrenaline rush for anyone who is brave enough to try it.  There's no question the anticipation is scarier than the zip line ride down and even during very windy conditions, 

What I really enjoyed about Dragon's Breath Flight Line (and the reason I wanted to do it) was the amazing view you get while riding the zip line down.  Royal Caribbean claims it is one of the longest zip lines in the world and your trip from the summit to base is almost a minute of air time.

During my excursion, we had about 6 people decide to quit out of fear, which is something to consider if you have a fear of heights.  How scary is it exactly? That answer depends on you and your fear of heights.  The ride down is smooth and there is virtually little that you have to do during the ride other than maintain proper form.

Royal Caribbean says you cannot bring anything that is not attached to your body, but in my experience I witnessed plenty of guests holding cameras and phones while riding.  I would advise to invest in an accessory that allows you to attach your phone or camera to your body but understand you are risking losing that device if you do not.

Photo by Braden

Perhaps the only real complaint I can levy against Dragon's Breath Flight Line is the price.  As of the writing of this blog post, the cost of Dragon's Breath Flight Line is $95.75 per person (for adults and children).  That is certainly not inexpensive.

The reason why this zip line adventure is so popular and why so many guests elect to do it is because it's a very unique experience on Labadee and something that really stands out as exhilarating and memorable.   I believe the Dragon's Breath Flight Line is worth trying, especially if you watch a few other guests go down it while you are on the beach and think it looks like fun.

Reservations

The Dragon's Breath Flight Line is a popular excursion, although there are flight times throughout the day.  Reservations are recommended and can be made in advance on Royal Caribbean's web site, or at the Excursion Desk on board your ship.  

Cost: $95.75 per person.

Will I get wet?

No, even though you go over the ocean, you do not make contact with the ocean at all.

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.

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